How will students satisfy their late-night cravings this semester, with the changes to campus dining due to the coronavirus pandemic?
Duke Dining facilities will be open in the fall but with reduced indoor seating, according to Duke’s reopening FAQ posted July 26. Multiple locations will offer delivery and takeout options, and hours for some locations will change. Dining will take additional safety precautions, like making all dishware “to-go” and removing self-service options.
How have dining options changed?
Dining will introduce a “rotating assortment of food trucks to various locations”, according to the reopening FAQ. One of these locations is outside of Marketplace, which will itself offer extended hours for dinner, according to a dining FAQ.
Trinity Cafe will also expand its hours for first-year students to purchase dinner equivalency. The Keep Learning FAQ states that Marketplace meals will no longer be self-service and that students will be encouraged to take their meals to go and to use expanded outdoor seating.
Physical spaces will also be adjusted at all dining locations to allow for social distancing.
How does my residential status impact my meal options?
All students living in Duke housing will be required to have a meal plan, as in previous years. Off-campus students will not be allowed to enter dining facilities or use mobile ordering and pickup services.
Merchants on Points, which lets students order food from local restaurants with food points, will be expanding its usual hours, and students living in Duke-provided off-campus housing will be able to use the service, according to the dining FAQ.
Blue Light and Avana residents will access to food trucks and merchants on points, while students living at the Washington Duke Inn will be able to use their food points there.
Graduate and professional schools are working with dining to find food options for their students, according to the reopening FAQ.
The dining FAQ also states that “care meals” will be provided to students who are in isolation.
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How can I order food?
Students will use an app called Duke Dine-Out to order meals for pick-up from 15 on-campus locations. As of Aug. 3, 10 of these locations—The Loop, McDonald’s, Beyu Blue, Il Forno, Ginger & Soy, Au Bon Pain, JB’s Roast & Chops, Thrive, Trinity Cafe and the Freeman Center for Jewish Life—were listed on the app.
Before campus shut down in March, Duke Dine-Out was already accepting mobile orders for select locations. To order, customers selected their items from a menu and paid through the app. The customer would then receive a notification when their order was ready for pick-up, and upon arrival at the dining location they would scan a QR code to receive their order.
In response to the pandemic, Dining planned to implement a drop-off option through the app, Aris Marten, associate director of retail operations, told industry news site Food Management. Students would have the option to enter a drop-off location along with their phone number and workers would deliver meals to the drop-off locations while wearing masks and gloves. However, a notice posted on the app Jul. 27 stated that the drop-off program would be suspended starting Aug. 1.
All mobile orders will have a packaging seal to indicate tampering, according to Dining’s COVID-19 response page.
Dining is also establishing contactless pick-up locations on West Campus, according to the COVID-19 response page, but these are yet to be publicized.
What safety precautions are in place?
Drink stations, condiment stations and other self-service options have been removed from dining facilities. There are also additional hand sanitizing stations at each location, and all dishware will be made to-go. To encourage social distancing, there will be line markers placed six feet apart.
In addition, Dining has mandated employees to wash their hands every 20 minutes as well as between tasks. Workers will also undergo additional training on avoiding exposure to COVID-19 and review the “sick employee policy,” according to the dining FAQ.
Dining has also established an “internal task force” to monitor the workplace environment and provide guidance. Third-party inspections will be conducted virtually by Steritech, a food safety auditor.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify where students living at the Washington Duke Inn can use their food points.