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Benefits are many by going tray-less at Cranston
Friday, March 29, 2013

By Kimberly Hughes, '13

Without having trays to fill, SUNY Fredonia students are making smarter choices when choosing meal items at Cranston dining hall, which abandoned the use of trays during J-term. Eliminating trays was designed to create efficiency, conserve resources, eliminate wasted food, and save money.

According to dining hall employees, dining hall users were likely to place more food on their trays than what they could eat. Now that the dining hall is no longer using trays, students wanting seconds are either too full or don’t want to go back to serving stations for another plate.

Dish room employee Adam Glasier said, “Whole steak dinners would go down the drain on Monday nights; without trays we have less waste.”

Tracy Raczka, manager of Cranston Marche and Marketplace at Erie, has received more positive than negative feedback from students and faculty members about the change. Clean up procedures became more efficient for dish room staff after students began stacking their dishes before taking them to the collection area.

Since less food is being selected, Raczka said the amount of food waste has decreased by a significant 30 percent. Dining hall staff is also restocking serving stations less often. Utility savings are also being achieved because trays no longer have to be washed. Less soap and water is used because 200 fewer racks are going through the dishwasher every day, Raczka said.

Going tray-less has also had a health benefit for diners, who are now consuming less food and fewer calories, according to Raczka.

“We fully expected our customers to be upset about the switch, and some were, but after the first week the complaints almost ceased, and we actually hear positive comments now,” Raczka said.

Cranston serves an average of 1,300 meals per day with the busiest days being Monday, Wednesday and Friday at lunch.

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