“One Big Line”: Our Changing Cafeteria

The bell rings for lunch A. Students flood the cafeteria, and race into line. The lunch line stretches all the way back to the tables in the cafeteria. Further up in the line students with salad bowls in their hands push through the hot lunch line to make their way to the salad dressing.

The U-32 lunch system has changed many times throughout the years. According to the cafeteria staff, these most recent changes were necessary. However, they raise some new concerns for the students.

“The lines are really long and people get confused,” senior Jack Morris said. “For example, people getting salad vs people getting hot lunch. I’ve seen people that got salad that end up cutting through the hot lunch line and losing their spot in the salad line.”

Morris has found a way through the long waits in line. People are allowed to cut the line for a burger, so that’s what he does. But instead of actually getting a burger he grabs a tray and gets hot lunch.

Rose Bryant and Nathan Smith both agreed that the lunch line should be split up into two separate lines, one for salad and another for hot lunch. “The problem with one big line is that people can’t just grab their things and go,” Smith said. “Instead they have to go back and forth and push through everyone and wait to get their stuff when they’ve already waited in line.”

Brian Fischer runs the U-32 cafeteria. He said that theft in the lunch line has been a reason for the changes implemented in the new system. He also explained that they aren’t allowed to serve Powerade drinks to middle schoolers or else the school could face a fine. That being said, middle schoolers are still getting away with these drinks. With the new arrangement, items such as chips and drinks are blocked off from students. These changes have created a longer wait time which seems to be a common complaint.

Another reason the cafeteria made changes was so they didn’t lose out on profit that they could be making. “We no longer allow students to just grab things like pizza,” Fischer explained, “we really need students to grab full meal deals so we don’t shortchange ourselves.”

Brian also gave details for the future of the cafeteria. Next year, since there will be a reduced staff, they will shorten the breakfast hours and close the cafeteria for half an hour before lunch A starts so they can prep for the incoming students.

Brian says he feels confident in the new setup.

“I’m hoping that this system that we have in place right now is final.”