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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Sodexho strives to improve offerings

Friday, October 26, 2007  
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By Alana Duffle

Despite the constant grumblings of students, Oklahoma Christian University’s dining service provider is nationally renowned and held to extremely high health and safety standards.

Sodexho provides Oklahoma Christian University’s cafeteria food and has partnered with them for 30 years.  Before Sodexho, Oklahoma Christian was partnered with Aramark. 

Apart from Oklahoma Christian, Sodexho provides food for many other places, including elementary schools, high schools, hospitals, colleges, local businesses and some military bases.  Sodexho even has a housekeeping branch. They are the largest contracting company in the global market.

Sodexho creates a generalized, 32-week menu for the cafeteria.  This menu is revised by Chef Kenny Stratton who picks the food for each day.  The revised menu is approved by Area General Manager Kurt Hurmanson, who has been employed with Sodexho for 30 years. 

It is convenient for Sodexho to only have to create one menu for all their catering services across the United States, but it is inconvenient for cafeterias because of the cultural differences of entrees.  For instance, chicken fried steak isn’t on the original menu because it is primarily a Southern dish.

The Oklahoma Christian cafeteria strives to provide a variety of healthy foods, but it’s very difficult to satisfy everyone. Many students would be upset if the standard pizza and french fries were removed from the menu.

“We serve healthy food. It’s up to the students whether or not to eat the healthy choices.  If you’re looking for healthy foods, I suggest you eat the baked items and salad,” Hurmanson said.

Once a year Sodexho is audited by the National Safety Foundation. They also complete a food safety audit each month and perform weekly safety checks.

They follow detailed regulations. For instance, the food has to be above a certain temperature at all times, otherwise, it has to be reheated or thrown out because it isn’t considered safe enough to be consumed. 

“We, as a staff, do all that we can to promote healthy lifestyles.  We have a book at the entrance which lists all of our foods and the nutritional values of each.  We also have all the nutritional values posted on our Web site, so you could type in the food that is on your plate and check the values.  We are also trying to implement a program, which I designed, called ‘Healthy Plate Program.’ This program will allow students to count their calories with ease.  We encourage students to ’creatively dine.’ For instance, students can make a chicken salad by getting a piece of baked chicken and slicing in up then adding it to their salad,” said Hermanson.

Cafeteria staff takes student suggestions seriously; they hold a weekly meeting to implement these suggestions.  Sodexho encourages all students and staff to voice their concerns as often as they want to.

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