The dining services staff at Shepherd University is now getting instant feedback about its food using a new program implemented at the beginning of the semester.
TxtandTell allows students to text or use a QR code to answer three questions with a rating system and add any questions, comments or suggestions, which can be addressed immediately.
"It's instantaneous," said Scott Anderson, assistant director of dining services and chef at Shepherd. "We've had issues that pop up, and we can deal with them right away."
The program replaces comment cards, which could be hard to track, he said.Now, the feedback is monitored, measured, assessed and available online, as it happens. Anderson is notified when there is a new text and posts questions and comments with responses on 55-inch TVs in the dining hall and Ram's Den, or if he deems it necessary replies personally.
"You'll see students comment and then see them stare at the TV for a while and wait and see if the comment comes up, when it comes up, and our response," said Anderson.
Jack Shaw, director of dining services at Shepherd, said the program is a way of getting more and better feedback, and that it is a more effective way of reaching today's student.
"We did get a fair amount of the written comment cards back, but we get far more of these. It's just more convenient, in a form students are more comfortable with," he said.
Student feedback has been more positive than negative. Of the 95 responses received last month, 57 were positive, 18 were average and 13 were negative. The rest were simply requests, like to offer chicken without buffalo sauce in the burrito station or asked such things like why the Silk milk dispenser was empty.
"This is a way to help us improve meeting the students' needs and the students' eating desires," Anderson said. "True chefs are not cooking for themselves, they're cooking for a customer."
Students who submit texts with their phone numbers are entered into a quarterly drawing for a $25 Visa gift card.