A Spring 2022 Update from Dining Services


Courtesy of @soldmysoultothespit

Kylie Horan, Staff Writer

This week, The Villanovan sat down with Michael McGuckin of Dining Services to discuss food plans for the Spring 2022 semester. We figured the beginning was as good a place to start as any: our return to campus. 

“We were hoping for a much different beginning of the semester than we had with the presence of omicron,” McGuckin said. “We were already a bit short on workforce, and we are trying to work with Human Resources to increase our applicant pool, but the initial COVID issue from opening back up has hampered us. We are over the hump now and expect to be in much better shape in that regard.” 

Short-staffing is not a problem exclusive to our campus, though. The entire hospitality industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19 across the country. From labor shortages to supply gap issues, the food service industry in particular is fighting to stay afloat. McGuckin spoke to this point, stating that “every manufacturer and distributor is having issues getting supplies out to everyone, as you can see in grocery stores.” 

His approach to remedying this nationwide problem on a campus-wide scale has been to contact new vendors and explore as many options as possible to supply University students with high quality, nutritious meals that are up to Dining Services standard. 

In keeping with this spirit of doing right by students, Dining Services wishes to meet as many concerns expressed by the student body as possible. McGuckin invited anyone with questions or an interest in discussing anything regarding Dining Services to meet with him and have an open dialogue, as he did with The Villanovan. For those who prefer an online option, the University Dining Services website has a “Feedback” tab in which students, faculty, staff and guests can express its thoughts through the “Speak Out” form. Dining Services will respond to submissions via email or telephone and if helpful suggestions are provided and accepted, it will try its best to implement them. 

The dedicated people who serve our meals must not go unmentioned, though. McGuckin emphasized how hard the Dining Services staff has been working to keep students fed and happy. Many employees work six days a week in this high stress environment to compensate for the acute labor shortage, but from their attitudes, one would never know it. As anyone who has dined at University facilities can attest, the people who work there are some of the friendliest, warmest faces on campus. McGuckin expressed extreme gratitude for their efforts and encouraged students to be extra kind to the workers who keep our food service operating. 

Despite facing all these challenges, Dining Services has remained committed to providing new and intriguing meals since our return to campus. On Tuesday, a special celebratory dinner for Lunar New Year was offered to students across all areas of campus in Dougherty, Donahue and St. Mary’s dining halls. The menu featured items such as Kung Pao chicken, Buddha’s Delight, beef lo mein, garlic green beans, sticky rice and a dumpling action station. Other specialty meals planned for the month of February include a special dinner for the Big Game, as well as a new Valentine’s Day entree and dessert. Dining Services also plans to celebrate Black History Month by featuring the cuisine of a different prominent African-American chef each week. Students can look out for pop up items, such as last night’s meatball panini at Dougherty. Be sure to keep an eye on the menu, accessible through the Dining Services website or the @villanovadining Instagram page to see what delicious options will be making their way to our dining halls throughout the rest of our Spring semester.