Dining Halls Struggle to Keep Up with Supply Chain and Employee Shortages

Susan S. Johnson

With dining halls reopening this year, signs have popped up warning of menu changes, substitutions, and delays. Employee shortages around the nation have caused delays in all food processing alleys, which affect Loyola’s dining experience.

In early summer of this year, as several businesses and corporations started re-opening in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, some corporations didn’t see a return of employees. Loyola invited students back to a fully reopened campus this semester and its three dining halls on Lake Shore Campus are operating at full capacity, The Phoenix reported. 

Loyola spokesperson Anna Shymanski Zach said the university is “actively managing and monitoring the pandemic-caused supply chain and staffing issues occurring nationally across industries.”

“We are working closely with our suppliers — leaning on constant communication, decision making, and flexible menus — to keep up with Loyola’s dining needs and to minimize impact to our students and community,” Shymanski Zach said in an email to the Phoenix.

The dining halls are open at full capacity and students sometimes face long lines for meals. 

Noah HIckey, 18-year-old first-year, said he follows a vegetarian diet and said he has “no complaints,” about the menu choices, although the wait for food can be long. 

“De Nobili gets packed with lines, especially for the vegetarian options,” Hickey said. 

Kayleigh Padar | The Phoenix Due to supply chain shortages nationwide, Loyola is advising students to take extra precaution if they have food allergies via signs located in the Damen Dining Hall.

Other students have been disappointed in the selection they’ve seen.

Paige Block, an 18-year-old first-year studying biology said, “I wish the types of food were more diverse. I end up having to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner.”

Shymanski Zach said the uncertainty faced by students is shared by the university.

 “Supply shortages vary over time, so what we may be short on at one point in time may be accessible soon after,” Shymanski Zach said. “Similarly, staffing situations are also in flux right now due to the ever-changing pandemic landscape.” 

With so much frustration around the subject, Shymanski Zach wants students to know Loyola is “actively recruiting” staff members.

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