Service with a smile? Not in University’s dining facilities

We have accepted a level of mediocrity when it comes to dining services at Florida A&M University. Witnessing employees who work in the dining facilities and don’t exhibit professionalism on a daily basis makes me wonder why this level of customer service exists.

Since freshman year, I have witnessed employees who are unwilling to take students’ orders, display an unfriendly attitude and engage in conversations with other employees before taking an order.

I am not the only one. I hear others complain about how they have been treated after waiting in line for an unreasonable amount of time. Then they have to face the attitude of a “worker” who doesn’t want to work.

Where is the professionalism? All workers in the dining services on campus are Sodexho employees.

On the company Web site, the company stresses the importance of quality in its employees.

“Sodexho aims to be a professional development accelerator for all of its employees,” the site said.

However, a reflection of this goal has yet to be demonstrated by some workers at FAMU. There has not been a progression in customer service since I have attended this University.

FAMU’s dining services Web site,, said we deserve “dining services that makes eating on campus palate-pleasing, healthy and entertaining.”

The managers should focus on the personality of an applicant and decide whether he or she is a “people person” and can work under pressure.

When I asked a manager about the application process to work at a FAMU dining facility, he suggested I complete an application and see if my qualifications were acceptable.

As far as the qualifications, he said no experience is necessary. Maybe this is the problem!

We need experienced workers to increase the value of customer service we’ve lost. Everyone who works for FAMU is a reflection of this University.

If a college tour is taking place and employees are not welcoming, then what are we suggesting to those students who are considering FAMU?

First impression is everything. There are a few people who smile daily and welcome a student with a “good morning” or “good afternoon.”

But the numbers of these workers are low.

Working in food service is not an easy thing to do. I have had some bad experiences working in food and retail, but I didn’t show it.

I knew I had a job to do and I would want to be treated with respect if someone was serving me.

The next time I order from the Pizza Hut, instead of the pepperoni pizza combo with Sprite and no ice, I will ask for better customer service!

Erica Butler is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Maryland. She can be reached at