Commons noted for poor service

There is only one place on campus where a hungry student can fulfill a craving for mahi-mahi fish tacos or vegetable chimichangas: Upstairs@The Commons.

Although such savory dishes lure students to the Commons every night, some have complained that the restaurant's slow and inconsistent service is a damper on their meal.

"The service is very on and off," sophomore Jenni Wei said. "We're going with them through their growing pains as they're just getting started."

This year, the Commons expanded its hours to include dinners and weekend brunches that are open to students in response to requests for more sit-down style dining options on campus.

Although students have enjoyed the restaurant's atmosphere and menu-so much so that some have called it "the best food on campus"-many are less enthusiastic about the long waits and slower service that have accompanied the upscale dining.

Wei said she eats at the Commons almost every day and has experienced slow service, in terms of ordering and receiving the meal, on more than one occasion.

"It's not every time, but it has happened enough to cause us to doubt the place," she said, adding that the last time she dined there her friends received dinner vouchers because the service was so slow.

Junior Jackie Heffernan said she and her friends also received complimentary meals on her first visit to the restaurant because of the slow service.

Heffernan said at the beginning of the year, the restaurant's staff was still getting accustomed to its new hours and larger crowds and added that she had no complaints from her second visit last week.

"I'm going to assume they streamlined their process," she said.

Representatives from Sage and Swift, the company that caters for the Commons, said the problem is due to an adjustment to the new hours.

"The dinners are new to us and students at [the former] Faculty Commons, so [it has] been a challenge to staff the right amount of staff," Lisa Vandiford, operations manager of Sage and Swift, wrote in an e-mail. She added that the company is specifically working on not overstaffing, a problem that has come to their attention because the restaurant receives varying numbers of customers each day.

Some students said although they could not expect the Commons to operate like a fast-food restaurant, it certainly has room for improvement.

"Part of the charm of the [former] Faculty Commons is that it's a sit-down restaurant, so you shouldn't really be looking for speedy service," sophomore Peter Heisler said. "But at the same time, no matter what restaurant you're going to, you'd like them to take your order within 10 or 15 minutes of getting there."

Wei said in addition to the sometimes slow service, the quality of the food at the Commons is inconsistent.

"When it's on, it's really good, but when it's off, it's really wack," she said.


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