By Bethany C. Cates

Many college students across the country are going through many adjustments as they first experience a sense of normalcy on their college campuses. As most know, when it comes to eating, many students don’t want to wait in long lines, but in some cases this semester, MU students have had no choice. As a result of COVID-19, many students are experiencing longer wait times than usual to obtain their food. 

The University of Missouri has 27 dining locations on campus that are currently offered to their students on an everyday basis. Due to a shortage in staff, students are now having to strategically plan out their day to fall within the hourly operations of their choice of dining. Freshman Carrington Peavy laments, “When I’m at Southwest or any of the main dining halls, the wait isn’t that bad. However, when I’m at the ‘restaurants’ like Sabai or Mort’s, I do have to wait a long time since they’re very short-staffed with only four or five people working for hundreds of students.” 

The university’s Student Center houses some of the most popular restaurants, and therefore, students who eat there experience higher wait times to receive their food. Anytime one walks in the Student Center, Mort’s, Do Mundo’s, and Infusion often seem to have the longest lines. Many times, just three to four students will be working to complete students’ orders. Sophomore Steven Klumb shares his take on the shortage: “I have definitely noticed a shortage of workers when I am going to eat in comparison to last year. I feel like the employees have been really busy with meeting the students’ demands of orders.” It is evident students are aware of the problem, but they also understand there is not much they can do.

For the convenience of students, the University of Missouri offers students the option to order food on their digital devices via the GET app to pick up their food at a certain time. There are still problems with this approach: not all dining locations are included; the dining options located on the app sometimes time out due to all the orders they’re currently trying to process. While some will wait on their food, not all students have the flexibility in their schedules to always wait. “If I have time, I choose to wait, but I unfortunately leave if I don’t have the time. I always try to order ahead on the GET app but ordering online for some halls isn’t offered because of the staff shortage,” says transfer student Dinah West. While the GET app is helpful for some, it is not always helpful for all.

Many students are now applying for campus dining jobs to prevent the shortage from getting worse. Klumb notes, “I actually work for Campus Dining Services at Starbucks Southwest as a barista. I highly recommend campus dining as a job because of how flexible they are with your schedule.” 

For any student who is looking to get a job in the dining facilities, you can apply at https://dining.missouri.edu/employment/

Edited by Ryan Cohen