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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Letter: Bon Appétit and Carleton College

<enced by several articles in last week’s Carletonian, there are a number of student concerns about recent changes in Dining Services. In an effort to respond to these concerns and to ensure that the Carleton community has the most accurate information possible about these changes, I offer the following comments.

The relationship between Bon Appétit and Carleton College began on July 1, 2008. There has not been one day during that short span of days that either member of this new relationship hasn’t learned something about the other party that it didn’t know the previous day. Some of these discoveries have been exciting and some of them have presented challenges. What is important is that we are both committed to open communication and collaborative problem-solving. That is why Bon Appétit management asked to have time at last week’s CSA Senate meeting to answer questions and why I’m writing now to the readers of the Carletonian.

Bon Appétit and the union representing Dining Services staff have a monthly Labor Management Committee (LMC) meeting in which operational issues and concerns are discussed. During a late fall term meeting , union representatives asked Bon Appétit to do a complete schedule re-bid for all dining positions held by union members. During a re-bid, union staff are allowed to request position changes based on seniority and appropriate prerequisite qualifications. There were two reasons for the request:

1.Some employees felt that the positions they had obtained prior to the start of fall term did not match up well with their skill sets.

2.In order for Bon Appétit to implement its food philosophy (scratch cooking with only fresh ingredients), it needed to adjust work schedules and create new positions during fall term. Some employees felt they were better suited for the new positions that were created and wanted to have the chance to bid on these new positions.

After considering the request, Bon Appétit management decided that a re-bid would be the best way to accommodate the feedback from its staff, contribute to efficiencies in scheduling, and adjust for the recently moved bakery operation from Burton to East Dining. The rebid took place in December.Simultaneously, after reviewing fall term operational experiences, Bon Appétit made two other decisions during December affecting employees’ schedules: overtime hours would be eliminated and regularly scheduled hours would be reduced by ½ hour per shift for all full-time union staff and varying amounts per shift for part-time union staff. This was the schedule that was followed in January.

During the February LMC meeting held this week, Bon Appétit heard concerns from several Dining Services staff that during January, the decision to reduce shift lengths had negatively affected their ability to properly and without incident fulfill their job duties. In response to these concerns and in the collaborative problem-solving mode that I mentioned earlier, the Bon Appétit management team has decided to make another scheduling adjustment. They are going to increase regularly scheduled staff hours by ½ hour per shift. For example, someone now working 37.5 hours work per week will work a 40 hour week.

Another staffing change that occurred over winter break involved several dining hall checker positions. When Bon Appétit transitioned into Carleton College, they not only made changes to union members’ position responsibilities and schedules, but to non-union employees’ job descriptions and schedules as well. This included the duties of dining hall checkers. After performing these new duties during fall term and working increased hours per week, some of the checkers decided that the redesigned positions did not suit them and they declined to return to Carleton prior to the start of winter term.

As I indicated at the beginning of my comments, we are just past the halfway point of Bon Appétit’s first year at Carleton. In my opinion, there have been many exciting changes to menus and food experiences. At the same time there have also been accommodations made to account for different policies and practices on the part of both Carleton and Bon Appétit. I’m guessing there may be more as we continue the process of transition. I hope that if at any time someone has a question or concern, that they contact Allison Albritton ([email protected] ), Dining Services General Manager, or myself ([email protected]) or use the comment form at

By the way, I’ve just learned that in addition to taking a piece of fruit and a cookie/pastry or bar on your way out of the dining halls, you can once again take a cup of coffee to go. You can thank the persuasiveness of the student members of Dining Board for that one!

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