The University of Northern Iowa’s food service is nominated for the second year in a row for a national award for the quality of its food and service. The Cedar Falls school is one of several colleges and restaurants nominated for the Ivy Award, sponsored by Restaurants & Institutions magazine.
U-N-I’s associate director of residential dining, Mona Milius, says the award takes into account several things. She says they look at the quality of service provided, the environment, the level of service and the types of foods and menus being served. Students at the Cedar Falls school have gone from a food service where they waited in line to get a plate of food served up from pans over warmers and under heat lamps, to a service where they have many choices of what to eat.
Milius says they’ve definitely modernized it, and the dining is now more like a restaurant with an environment where they can go in and socialize and also have their nutritional needs met. Milius says the U-N-I dinning services finished well above the national average in satisfaction surveys of the students.
Milius says one of the things they’re know for and work hard at is using locally grown food. She says that’s a commitment to the local economy and a committeemen to freshness so the food is prepared to the student’s specifications. The U-N-I system serves some 10-thousand meals each day.
Milius says they’re able to keep that food fresh and ready through a sophisticated system that monitors everything. Milius says they track food purchases and inventory every day. She says tracking the food every day allows them to keep up on what students want and to keep things fresh. Milius says students can have food made specially for them on the spot, or they can stop in and pick it up and go if they’re in a hurry. The winners of the award will be notified by March 1st and featured in the May 1st issue of Restaurants & Institutions magazine.