Food supply chain and staffing shortages limit ISU Dining offerings


ISU Dining has suffered from staffing shortages and supply chain issues this semester. 

Maris Cameron

As the country fights to recover from the pandemic, ISU Dining finds itself coping under new circumstances. With a substantial decrease in student employment and limited food supplies hindering their progress, ISU Dining struggles to satisfy all parties involved with their services. 

Assistant director of engagement for ISU Dining Karen Rodekamp gave further insight on how the food supply chain shortage has impacted internal operations and how their departments have been constantly adjusting to the changes. 

“Various shipping companies can’t keep up with demands due to their own staffing shortages and transportation challenges,” Rodekamp said. “Because they have issues, the orders we request don’t always come back to us in full.”

Manufacturers have cut multiple production lines. Issues may include anything from not having available utensils to chicken breasts being shipped late. However, the staff at ISU Dining have worked tirelessly to provide alternative options for customers. 

“It takes creativity for sure,” Rodekamp said. “We’ve had to use Styrofoam cups or paper plates to replace our usual dishes from time to time.”

Rodekamp also highlighted additional problems put on the team due to staffing shortages. 

“Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the worst since we can’t find people to cover certain shifts at key locations,” Rodekamp said. “We’ve resorted to bringing in dietitians or marketing coordinators from other departments to help swipe people into centers.”

The overall shortage results in personal inconveniences for students eating at dining centers on campus, too. 

“Beef dishes are consistently served at dining centers,” Jackson Collins, a freshman majoring in aerospace engineering, said. “Meal selections feel limited when there are fewer food stations to choose from, and I miss having firecracker chicken served at UDCC.”

ISU Dining reminds customers to remain patient as they navigate through these hard times. With over 26 dining locations across campus, the ISU Dining staff appreciates the people that support their efforts to keep menus diverse and shelves fully stocked.

“ISU Dining operational hours are still from 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m., and they haven’t been reduced like our staff has been,” Rodekamp said. “Our team works tirelessly to provide the best possible service for our guests, and we are thankful for our guests’ understanding.”

Students interested in ISU Dining job opportunities near them can apply online or visit the ISU Dining Student Staffing Office on Union Drive for more information.