Pomona College’s Frary Dining Hall began to double its weekday lunchtime hours on Feb. 20. The dining hall is now open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. instead of from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pomona’s Food Committee announced in an email sent the same day to the college’s listserv.
“This was seen as an improvement in customer
service for students and faculty, as well as an opportunity to serve students
from the other colleges who may benefit from extended hours,” wrote Karen
Sisson, vice president and treasurer at Pomona, in an email to TSL.
Frary chef Rolando Araiza
said that workers were given little notice of the change, and the first days under the new hours of operation were rocky.
“At the beginning there were a lot of
problems with getting everything ready on time and taking breaks at the proper
time,” Araiza said. “We have to follow what the college
wants; we have no say in that. I do feel a little left out; I feel like they
could’ve included us in this decision.”
The extended hours benefit athletes, including Pomona-Pitzer tennis players, who have practice twice per week from
11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
“With the new hours, it’s definitely less
stressful getting to lunch, and there’s more time in case we want to practice
for a little longer,” Maddie Gordon PO ’17 wrote in a message to TSL. “I think the whole team’s pretty happy about it.”
Bob Robinson, assistant vice president
of Facilities and Campus Services at Pomona, said that students have been coming
earlier and staying later as a result of the extended lunch hours.
“We’ve noticed almost an immediate change,”
Robinson said that he also wants to see more meals served overall, especially to students from the other Claremont Colleges. Attracting students from different
campuses would increase Frary’s total revenue.
“If we’re doing more meals, we’re getting crossovers from other colleges, so there’s a cost recovery there,” Robinson said.
Araiza said that extended lunch hours
mean that some of Frary’s workers can take more overtime hours; workers who would normally
leave at 2:30 p.m. now stay longer to clean up lunch.
“For the lunch crew to clean everything
and to prep some stuff for the next day, it’s going to take a little longer
than what it did for how we used to run,” he said.
The extended lunch hours will also help guarantee
workers food during their breaks. With extended hours, more workers can eat off the
main food line instead of making a separate lunch for themselves.
According to Sisson, the dining hall workers have
brought no concerns forward thus far. She wrote that the newly settled union will streamline
communication between dining hall workers and Pomona’s administration.
“I believe communication is working well now
and that the foundations that were built during the collective bargaining
process will only be strengthened over time,” she wrote.
Araiza confirmed that lines of
communication exist between workers, management, and the college, but said that it is still a process they are working to improve.
Robinson said that beginning in early March, dining
services will start reaching out to students and Pomona’s Food
Committee to gain more feedback about service, menu items, and the dining hall
“We have some certainties in labor, so now we
want to move forward with surveying our customers to see what exactly they
like, what they don’t like, where we can improve, and provide a better service
overall to our community,” Robinson said.