Dining Workers Receive Pay Raise, Now at $17.25 an Hour


Graydon Paul/ Villanovan Photography

A worker at Dougherty dining hall

Katie Reed, News Columnist

Earlier this year, the University made the decision to increase the wages of all Dining Service employees from $15 an hour to $17.50 an hour in an effort to remain competitive in the industry and to provide the best service possible on campus. Ray Duffy, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Office at the University, provided key insight into this decision.

“All of these changes were discussed and approved in late 2022 and implemented in January 2023, which included an increase in the base wage for dining services from $15 to $17.50 an hour, effective on January 16, 2023,” Duffy said, referencing the timing of this decision. 

He also elaborated on the motivations behind this decision, which included finding ways to best support the current staff who work in Dining Services.

“Villanova is currently partnering with an external consultant in order to complete a staff compensation study to ensure market competitive wages and to develop a job architecture for career pathing,” Duffy said. “This is all part of the University’s recruitment and retention efforts around equitably compensating current employees and focusing on attracting talent.”

The decision to increase wages will also impact students, not only in the services provided to students, but also given that the increase in pay also applies to any students who hold positions in Dining Services.

“As part of this process and in an effort to provide the best service to our students, we felt that expediting changes for certain dining services positions was necessary to ensure that Villanova is well positioned with many other food retailers who are also struggling to recruit and retain staff in this competitive labor market,” Duffy said. “The review for Dining Services included a focus on a competitive wage to address dining staff vacancies along with increased recruitment efforts for hiring, such as implementing an employee referral program and conducting on the spot job offers.”

Ava Lundell, a senior at the University, is one such student who works in Dining Services as a cashier. She has held this position since the fall of 2021, taking a break only when she went abroad for a semester. She was able to shed light on both her own experience and on the broader student-worker experience.

“There are different positions you can sign up for [in Dining Services], like a store attendant at Second Story or a barista at Holy Grounds, but I’m a cashier and I’ve always been a cashier,” Lundell said. “The first place I worked at was St. Mary’s because I was living on West, so it was super easy and close, and then last semester and this semester [I’ve worked] at Pit because it’s close to the Commons.”

Lundell is excited to see the staff members in Dining Services get a pay increase, given everything they do for all community members at the University, which include working crazy hours, working several weekdays and weekends and serving. 

“Villanova Dining Services, from what I’ve seen from my position, work so hard,” Lundell said. “They get there so early in the morning and they really care about the food that they produce for students. I think to recognize that is really important. They definitely deserve a pay increase.”

Lundell, of course, was excited that she and her peers will be earning more money.

“I think for college students, we obviously need as much money as we can get, and I think for Villanova to recognize that and provide it is really important,” Lundell said. “I think it’s really cool that that’s what they’re doing, [but] it does make me wonder why other positions aren’t getting a pay increase.”

Duffy directly addressed this question, as other student-workers at the University are likely just as eager to receive a pay increase.

“Regarding other student jobs, the base student wage was reviewed and increased in early 2021 from $7.25 to $10 an hour,” Duffy said. “A student wage scale is currently in the process of being implemented and will be rolled out this spring with the base wage starting at $10 an hour.”

Though Villanovans can hopefully look to make more money in the future, for now they can celebrate that Dining Services, those who work the hardest on this campus and are oftentimes the most overlooked, are getting a well-deserved pay increase.