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Cafeteria Food Complaints

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The meal selection at Cairn University has been described by many as “mediocre” and “subpar.”  Since the inception of “Pioneer College Caterers” at Cairn University, the students have been fairly displeased with the food that is being offered at meals.  From moldy bread, rotten fruits, unhealthy selections, poor kitchen management, and meals names designed to spite students (Pasta Del Grande), students are growing tired of the inconsistency in the cafeteria.  

Alas, two specifically fed up students took it upon themselves to publically showcase the poor quality of the cafeteria food.  Enter the formation of #boycottthecaf: a hashtag trending among the Cairn community. This is a result of the creation of an Instagram account with the sole purpose being to expose the poor quality of the food (follow them on Instagram @cairn_foods).  The public exposure of the food generated both positive and negative responses from the population.  

One anonymous Cairn student who has been a student at this school for 4 years had this to say about the meal preparation in the cafeteria throughout his tenure at Cairn:

“The quality of the food in the cafeteria is lacking. The attention to detail can be borderline appalling from the moldy bread and bagels, the sloppily put together casseroles, the undercooked eggs, and the burnt chicken. There are bright spots here and there. The baked apple desserts were good, and there were eggplant sandwiches…ones that I would even consider paying for in a restaurant. Overall, my satisfaction with the cafeteria is below par.”

Benjamin Chapman, a senior Health and PE major at Cairn, as well as a food service employee himself at “Preps Pizza” on the boardwalk in Ocean City during the summer, had this to say about the complexity of the food in the cafeteria:

“The cafeteria would be better enjoyed if they served more basic foods that let the students create their own meals. I’m tired of seeing casseroles made from random foods that were served the previous day.”

Many students at Cairn University rendered similar thoughts regarding the food, citing that the school forces them to be on the meal plan if they are a resident.  When all the math is completed, all resident students pay $6 per meal at Cairn University, assuming they attend every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Due to the lack of quality in the food, students are inclined to complain.  

Despite the vocal distaste for the cafeteria, a handful of students garnered a negative reaction to the #boycottthecaf buzz.  Many of the student workers in the cafeteria have taken offense to the public shaming of the cafeteria food, calling the creators of the Instagram account “immature” and “entitled.”  The most common defense of the food in the Cairn cafeteria that I have heard is, “Well, there are people starving in the world, so you should be appreciative that you have any food at all.”  

In my humble opinion, that type of thinking is illogical, blasphemous, and downright far-fetched.  If you are so concerned with all the starving people in the world, my suggestion would be to start a petition that would allow the leftovers from Pioneer College Catering to be given to the homeless around the inner cities, if that is what you are truly upset about; however, my guess is that you’re not bent out of shape about it. You should probably allow Cairn students to publically voice their displeasure, considering privately doing it has achieved nothing in the past.

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  1. Katie
    February 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Instagramming photos “hoping for change”, bashing your school. Serving moldy food isn’t up to code, so you know what, you report it to the director. You take ACTUAL action. If all you do is complain, I think you’ve lost the right to complain. And do you know why they reserve food in the form of casseroles? Because you cannot reheat the same food and serve it in the same form again, and because they’d be throwing it out, otherwise. This is literally a “first world problem,” and you need to get over the selfishness. Sincerely, a former Cairn student who survived the food.

  2. Mark Huseland
    February 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Mike, and all who #boycott the caf. I have been one of those workers in the caf. for the last for years. I can tell you with 100% certainty that your claim to the cafateria having poor management is unfounded. There are certainly aspects of your article that are true, sometimes bread gets moldy after a few days, sometimes fruit is wrotten out at the dessert area. But from experience and knowing the job description I can tell you most of those types of issues are problems with student workers. So if you are going to call into question the management I’d like to see some hard evidence. I have continued to work in the caf. for 4 straight years because I have thoroughly enjoyed the management. I worked hard and was properly rewarded with raises and promotions at reasonable times in the past 4 years. A friend of mine, Sawyer Whitted also worked in the caf last year and was satisfied with his employ… even though he worked one of the hardest positions… dishroom. So I can’t understand where your claim to poor management comes from. I know student workers who would say that the management was poor… but I can tell you from working with those sorts of students… they typically were fired for being a really poor worker, or didn’t get a raise and were bitter. I don’t think I’ve ever known a quality worker in the cafeteria who wasn’t at least satisfied with their experience working there. Additionally the cafeteria is the single largest employer of students at Cairn. So it is up to the bosses to train a crew of SEVENTY (70) PLUS people (I just counted the list in my email). If you wanted to cite poor management due to the fact that there are sometimes less than quality breads or fruit or casseroles, then I would ask if you (not you Mike but anyone who questions the management) could see yourself training 70+ people to all do their jobs consistently well. Most of the problems cited in this article (moldy bread and rotten fruit) are responsibilities given to the minimum wage workers and student managers. If you can find a way to successfully get 70+ people doing their jobs to perfection then that’s some pretty amazing stuff. My point is that much of the problem with the caf. is not the fault of the management, but in fact the workers themselves. But this is not a bash on those student workers… because I’ve been there
    Having been a worker as I said for 4 years, I can tell you how easy it is to forget a detail. I’ve been a student manager, and seen moldy bread and thought to myself (if this were me I’d just pick off the mold and eat the bread anyway) because I was taught to not be wasteful. But admittedly this is not the way everyone was raised. So I have failed many times as a student manager. I also worked grill often in my years in the caf.
    Honestly, a lot of people told me they loved when I worked grill… but realistically I undercooked meat sometimes, and I overcooked meat others. I would give people undercooked eggs sometimes… oh wait that’s just over-easy. But for real I forgot things ALL THE TIME or I miscooked something…. or As a cafe worker I make someone’s coffee horribly at times. My point is. I’ve been a caf worker for 4 years, and I’m proud of all the hard work I’ve put in. But I’m also realistic to know how often I make mistakes, or even just don’t care enough to fulfill a responsibility. And most of the mistakes that students list are things that I have failed at and not Scott or Sabine or Nelson. Sure they fail at times. I’ve seen them get frustrated and I’ve seen immature responses. But if I ever put myself in their position, I think I would have done a lot worse. So from one fallen person to another, I’d ask if the mistakes seen in the caf are not something we are all capable of committing.
    Additionally I think people have unrealistic expectations of the caf. They expect to go in and have their every desire satisfied. But the problem is, when you go to a restaurant, you have an idea of what you want. So you order it… but the caf is not a restaurant. This is what I think some people expect out of the caf, that they are going to get the kinds of foods they want every time. I’m not sure about your household growing up, but in mine, my mom or dad cooked something, and I ate it. and didn’t complain about it. I didn’t always love it… but I usually thought it was half decent. In the caf I have so much more selection than I ever did at home… sure Mom’s cooking is great, but I only had one choice… if I don’t like one caf dish then I eat another. I’ve never walked into the caf and thought “There is nothing here AT ALL that I could enjoy.” And I think many Cairn students walk in with the mindset that they will get exactly what they want… when in reality we shouldn’t need that. We should need only to be content with a fairly large variety.
    P.S … I’ve never gotten a fly in any of my food at the caf EVER… I think that picture is a rare sighting.

  3. Savannah Conroy
    February 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    A few things:

    1) I have worked in the cafeteria every semester since the first day of my freshman year (so 4 years) and the cafeteria is NOT poorly managed. The PCC full time staff work hard to communicate with each other and fix things when they are wrong. The reality is that things like moldy bread and rotten fruit happens as the result of student workers ignoring their responsibilities. If you have ever worked under Scott, Sabine, or Nelson directly you would know that they manage well.

    2) The casseroles are NEVER made from left over food. Again, after 4 years of experience working along side these amazing people, I have never once seen them take something from lunch or a previous day and make it into a casserole for dinner. Even after talking to the management about this idea they said that they do not take left overs and make them into casseroles.

    3) PCC is contracted with Cairn University and it is Cairn, the school you chose to attend, that forces you to be on the meal plan. Let me say that again….. It is NOT PCC that is keeping you on the meal plan.

    4) Each of your meals is NOT $6 as a resident student. The portion of your tuition that is for the meal plan ( about $2300) is not just for the meal itself. You are also paying the workers who are making it. You are supplying the money for the student workers, for the bonus bites (the fancy things like banana split bar, chocolate fountain, and special nacho bar from today 2/28).

    Overall I believe that the Instagram accounts and this article and all of the conversations around this topic are due to a lack of knowledge. The Instagram account was made from ignorance but desire for change. Change is a good thing and maybe some will come out of it but please do the research before you act like you know where your money is going, who is keeping you on the meal plan, and how “poor” the management really is.

  4. caleb
    March 1, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I enjoyed the Caf food.
    I am also a morning person and breakfast was their best meal!
    One thing I would do to make the Caf food better is offer an elective cooking class. I graduated and I can only cook about five different things.

  5. Caleb Bishop
    March 1, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    I appreciate your post. Way to be controversial and take a course of public action. Calling out the wrong. As you judge so to you will be judged. What if someone created an instagram of every flaw you did, would you feel blessed and graced to change the wrongs you do?

    I’m not saying don’t post bad things, exhorting and calling out wrong is biblical, but I can also say that God asks us to encourage and bless more then he calls us to critise the wrongs of others. Maybe you should seek to also post times where you saw workers work hard at Cairn and all the times you also saw management sacrifice time home with their kids, especially when the power or water goes out, or a lot of fresh student employees don’t show up to shifts, or at the beginning and end of semesters and breaks when students aren’t working or showing up. The management works so hard and are very very excellent cooks! I love them all. But I also support what Mark and Savannah said earlier. Yes we make mistakes, but you are also criticizing the guy who may live on the other side of the wall from you on the dorm. Ask yourself a few of these questions. Is this a laziness mistake, a management mistake, a lack of experience mistake etc?

    I can understand the money meal plan debate and I empathize with you. Its a very very common complaint.

    Haha did you just say blaphemous for someone saying that there are poor starving people in the world who are dying from starvation and we are complaining about having food? haha. My soul heard similar things while a Cairn student, I waited on the Lord for a health God honoring response. A few things I have come to realize in how to respond to this complaint in a biblical way.

    One I worked in the cafeteria for 4yrs while at school. It was one of the best experiences I had while at school. One because it was fun, I sang so many camp songs and worked together on a team with my fellow students. I loved it. It was the best deacon training I will ever get. Also considering that Scott is a deacon at his church and a fire fighter, he is a great servant to our local and public community. What a great man. Love sabine, they have invited me into their home after graduation to babysit their kids because I became so close with them. I love nelson he is like a dad to me. He has always looked out for me and I found favor in his eyes because I was a good worker. God desires us to find favor in the eyes of God and man just as Jesus did as he grew and mature. Personally as a worker and as a student, I would throw out the rotten bagels and fruit. It was my job one semester to put out the fruit and pasteries and I can guarentee you that I always put out the best! As a side note, fruit and bread can go bad quite quickly without notice. And if you are understaffed during a meal when it is crazy and you have five people asking you for more fruit or bread, sometimes you just go running to serve your fellow staff and students and get them what they ask for even if its not even your job.

    Consider this when you are at cairn. You are like the Israelites coming from a land of egypt, going through a desert to your promise land. Cairn is a private school that chooses to follow God and so doing doesn’t get as much funding as your friends secular schools. Cairn isn’t going to be like all those colleges you saw in the movies growing up. But its a great place of loving community where the staff care for you and choose, yes they choose to work at a university where they know they are getting paid less then they deserve for their skills because they want to serve you. But alas like the Israelites and Moses, we all complain so much to our leaders and our leaders like Moses asked God why did you give these complaining people to me. Ya sometimes all you get is manna and its bland but it sustains you and your body will not wither away.

    To the thought of a third world country. I had the great chance to go to mexico between my 8th-9th grade year. It was a profound experience that has always impacted me since. I came back to the states and praised God for nice roads, cars, houses, electricity, drinking water in abundance and flushing toilets haha, and food in abundance. Also laws the protected from evil men. This trip and attitude helped me at college amidst all the complaining. NO Cairn isn’t going to be as good as your mom’s food, its frozen and ordered and usually processed, frozen, and recooked by brand new cooks your age learning and going to class just like you trying to pay their bills because they can’t afford cairn without that job! So my prayer for the cafeteria was this, God thank you so much for providing for me! But God I also pray that you continue to make the food healthier and better for my taste buds if it be your will. I also had to pray over the things of thankfulness that I knew that I had that others didn’t have, otherwise I could so easily get bitter and frustrated, something I had to learn quickly in my life when I came out of a season of depression in high school, thankfulness kept me from going back to that dark place. It was a nightmare where I thought I died but God saved me, I woke up thankful for life and that was what got me through even if I was sad beyond comprehension!

    Actually now that I think about it, God truly answered that prayer of healthier and better food. When I came to Cairn we had just changed names from PBU. We were the crimson eagles. We had this place called the eagles nest, now the highlander cafe. All they served was fried chicken, fries, and cheesteaks. It was not healthy and not always great or good for you!! haha. I am so proud of all the work that the cafeteria did, in management and my fellow classmates who made the highlander cafe what it is today!!! Shout out to AJ. who labored night and day and managed it to be what it is today with Sabine!

    Like him, I made pizza for 2yrs. I to a quick crash course from each cook, which is usually all that you have time for in the kitchen because its so understaffed. I made the pizza station better with the help of other classmates! what I did that not many people will do in workplaces is I stayed and made it better. I chose that even though it felt like an enslavement at times haha like the Israelites who were sent into captivity for 70yrs, God says in Jeremiah 9:11 that I have plans to propser you into the future. But he says, but while you are in captivity for 70yrs, get married, have kids, and bless the city that you are in, for if it flourishes then you will flourish and be blessed. So now the cafeteria uses my pizza sauce recipe! ya. No more of that bland pizza that sometimes came through eh! All Glory to God. I’m so thankful for all the work that nelson and all the cooks do to work so hard to bless you. Having all those special nights for you. Do you know that they also cater for every other big event on campus throughout the year like sports banquets, opera workshops, huge faculty celebrations in manor hall, and every semesters masters welcoming meal and every senior graduation meal each semester! their time is booked!!! they do such a great job.

    I loved my experience there. My first semester I worked the spring of my sophomore year mopping floors. My floor partner actually was my co-RA two years later!!

    I also worked in safety and security for a semester, my last semester of school my 5thyr doing my masters thesis. I reviewed all of the safety security protocols to be up to date for you! I could go on about everything I did but that would be excessive and put too much attention on me and not enough on God and the greatness of Cairn. As a side to safety and security, did you know that we have 30yr experienced retired cop who works there. He chooses to work here because he loves investing into this place and his staff. There is also the director who has his education in criminal matters and worked at villanova on their safety security and bucks county college, but chooses to work here because he wants to bless this community for God. Be careful what you criticize, for surely you are criticizing God’s servants and therefor God. Criticize in speaking the truth in love and fruit will come from it, but also bless the things in this life that you think are bad and love will resound.

    You can make three choices while you are at Cairn, or even for the rest of your life, when you see something that is wrong. You can ignore it and turn the blind eye of apathy (or its not your job to pour energy to change), you can complain and join the destructive gossip wagon that a majority of people join making matters worse and not changing anything, or you can love those in authority above and around you and graciously form a relationship with them in encouraging and praying for them, asking how you can help, and invest in changing the wrongs you see. How will you impact this world, its starts here in college.

    I hope you are encouraged by these words,
    your bro in Christ,
    Caleb Bishop