Virginia Tech Dining Services has been ranked the number one dining services by Niche.com for the year 2016. While this was not the first time Virginia Tech has been rewarded for their dining services, it still comes as welcome news to all those involved. Director of Dining Services, Ted Faulkner expressed that awards were something that Virginia Tech never targeted specifically.
“They [awards] occur through the services we provide and the data those entities collect. Whie we embrace them and celebrate the acknowledgements or ratings, the true award is making positive differences in the campus community.”
Going as far back as 1992, Virginia Tech Dining Services has been making a positive difference by receiving awards for their food service, their menus, the dining hall buildings, catered events, and many other categories. But it was not until the early 2000s that the awards really started pouring in from across the country.
Many of those national awards are attributed to Hokie Grill, Owens Dining Hall, and West End Market; all which were built between 1991 and 1999. The newest dining hall built on-campus is called Turner Place at Lavery Hall. This dining hall was completed in 2009 and is two floors of award winning food service, according to national services like U.S. Green Building Council and American School and University. Since 2005, Virginia Tech has been ranked in the top 10 nation-wide for dining services according to numerous websites and reviews.
There are many reasons Virginia Tech Dining Services has achieved everything they have, but according to Ted Faulkner, it is the students.
“This program has been built by student input.”
And as far as the employees go, each has their own important role.
“… We [the staff members] are in it shoulder to shoulder. One segment is not more important than the next… But the staff collectively provide the services and the results!”
The staff at the dining halls includes an executive chef and nutritionist (at every dinning hall), along with line workers, management, student workers, and many other jobs. Many of the foods themselves are gathered from local produce from the Virginia Tech farm, College Farm, which is a mere 10 miles from campus.
Chef Mark Badger of West End Market says, “Having College Farm so close by helps keep the freshness of the foods taken from there.”
Also, Virginia Tech students attribute to have one of the nation’s highest participation rates; 72% in the year 2016. This means that almost three quarters of the student-body at Virginia Tech has some sort of dining hall plan; which is easy to see why Virginia Tech has such a great dining hall service.