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BYU’s Missionary Training Center is a Campus Unto Itself

BYU’s Missionary Training Center is a Campus Unto Itself

A largely self-contained portion of the BYU campus houses the Missionary Training Center (MTC), where 3,000 young men and women attend eight-week courses focused on learning foreign languages and cultures and preparing to go on missions encouraged by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Young men between the ages of 19 and 25 are expected to serve a two-year mission, often overseas, while young women of at least age 21 are expected to serve 18 months.

The MTC cafeteria must serve 3,000 people in 40-minute shifts over a two-hour window. It now offers diners a choice of four distinct food platforms.

BYU Dining's cafeteria in the MTC serves three meals a day to these trainees in a “military-style” format dictated by the need to accommodate 3,000 people in a two-hour window (the trainees come in shifts, with each getting 40 minutes to eat). The trainees are cloistered, so it is basically a captive audience, and the cafeteria is closed to outside diners.

BYU Dining Director Dean Wright made a commitment to improve the foodservice to the MTC when he came to the campus in 1997. Previously, the dining hall was a rather basic operation where the food was filling and plentiful, but uninspired.

That has now changed, and in fact, the MTC dining hall served as the prototype for the BYU campus's showcase Cannon Commons Dining Hall (see p. 24) with a platform-based system that gives diners variety and fresh preparation quickly and efficiently.

In the MTC, four distinct platforms proffer different choices. There is a traditional comfort food station, an ethnic station rotating different international cuisines, a salad/wrap station and a grill. Everything is premade because of the need to serve quickly, but it is made fresh at the stations.

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