While Parkhurst Dining has been a constant with Saint Vincent College, the business itself at a local level and at large has been anything but static. Over the past few months, Parkhurst Dining’s establishments on campus have gone through both personnel and systematic adjustments, so as to better serve the student population of Saint Vincent College.
“I guess I am the newest change!” said Jamie Ballew, new head of Parkhurst Dining on campus, in regard to the most prominent changes to Parkhurst Dining since the end of Spring Semester, 2018.
Ballew elaborated that though he is new to Saint Vincent, he is not unfamiliar with the food and beverage industry or Higher Education Dining, having worked in the past with campuses such as the University of North Carolina Asheville, Oklahoma Baptist University, Southern Polytechnic State University and Louisiana State University.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with a great group of food service professionals, administrators, faculty, staff, and, of course, the student body,” he said.
Concerning the advantages brought about by the changes in the Student Meal Program for the 2018 Fall Semester, Ballew is optimistic.
“I think that one of the biggest advantages that the students have at Saint Vincent is […] an administration who truly keeps the students’ best interest at heart,” Ballew stated.
Ballew, however, is also aware of the current disadvantages Parkhurst is facing this semester.
According to Ballew, the most prominent current issue “is lack of food service outlet space.” However, he is already planning on how to tackle this issue, revealing that the plan for the new dining facilities will hopefully begin this spring and be resolved in the future.
Another prominent issue that Parkhurst faces this semester, added Ballew, is “the same that all service related industries are facing in today’s market – attracting and maintaining a skilled work force.”
By using the results of their study, Ballew said, they hope to recruit and add to their current team of service professionals.
“Increasing our work force is mandatory to maintain, and improve, our level of service to the Saint Vincent Community,” Ballew said.
Ballew showed additional optimism about the various improvements made by Parkhurst in the past month.
“Our commitment [is] to continually improve upon our programs, on all levels, from service and presentation, to quality and variety of fresh, healthy, great tasting choices,” Ballew stated, as a way of embracing the Benedictine Spirit, and the motto of Archabbot Boniface Wimmer: “Forward, always forward”
Finally, Ballew also expanded upon some of the new changes Parkhurst has made for this semester, including the improvements made to the pizza and pasta cooking processes, the redesign of the grill into a self-serve station, and “the new loose-leaf tea program now being offered in the Barista.”
As for the more structural changes in Parkhurst Dining, Ballew stated that “[Parkhurst is] […] taking a hard look at the meal exchange and combo meal programs and offerings, working to provide more clarity and separation of the two.”
Parkhurst Dining Company is associated with several colleges throughout the American Northeast, and is the parent company of major food chain, Eat’n Park Restaurant. The company is a long-associate of Saint Vincent College, both in the Student Cafeteria Community Center and the Shack in the Carey Center.