OU Culinary Services locations are all still cashless, accepting only meal plan flex, debit, credit, Google and Apple Pay, and the Bobcat Cash reloadable debit account as forms of payment. Also, mobile ordering on OHIO EATS through the Transact Mobile app is available from nine on-campus retail locations, with pickup as early as 7:45 a.m. and as late as 10 p.m. These retail locations include two campus cafes—The Front Room Coffeehouse and Steeped and Stirred—campus markets Jefferson Marketplace, Boyd Market and Nelson Market; campus eateries Brick City Deli, the West 82 food court and the Latitude 39 full-service restaurant; and The Hungry Cat food truck. Using the OHIO EATS app, students, faculty, and staff gain points redeemable for food, beverages, and merchandise, as well as having access to participate in ongoing contests and promotions.
Among recent initiatives, the current academic year saw the debut of OH! yOU Cookin? a new comfort-food concept in the Nelson Dining Court, and Life is Sweet in the Baker University Center student union that features house-baked sweet and savory treats and locally roasted coffee brewed to order.
OU Dining also partnered with the Restaurant Hotel & Tourism program to provide experiential learning opportunities and reinstate its Student Leader program to a college credit course. In the 2023-24 academic year, it plans to debut a new Grab and Go chicken concept as well as a second food truck.
Meanwhile, in the current academic year, OU Dining introduced…
• enhanced digital signage in its resident dining courts that display menu items, nutritional information, allergens and announcements of upcoming events;
• implemented nearly 400 new recipe items in the resident dining courts based upon students wants/needs, focusing on local, international and vegan/vegetarian foods;
• hired a professional marketing and design manager and created a marketing team of students to spearhead its social media, video and print media marketing;
• partnered with Green Dot and the Ohio Hockey team to create a winter wonderland in the Nelson banquet space that included an iceless ice-skating rink, a s’mores bar, a hot chocolate bar, interactive cookie decorating, the OU hockey team skating with students and representatives from Green Dot to support the OU community to step up when people are in need or in distress;
• engaged with students through its Culinary Services Development Committee to develop special events for spring and fall, implement new menu items, rebrand the Fresh Take convenience foods made in the department’s Central Food Facility, and develop the grab and go chicken venue that is coming this fall;
• partnered with its prime vendor to host a spring food show that featured new items from vendors for students and their parents to sample and give feedback for possibly adding to fall menus;
• partnered with a College of Business Human Resources class where students created a project using transferable skills to promote Culinary Services employment;
• hosted a job fair to provide employment opportunities to members of the community for the well-being of students during which two radio stations broadcasted remotely and the Hungry Cat food truck gave away free food, resulting in hiring 42 full-time employees to help serve OU students;
• held an event at Nelson featuring foods from Ghana in support of the Outlet Affinity group’s effort to focus on the BIPOC student community, cultivating wellbeing, building stronger connections to campus and supporting all aspects of being a BIPOC student; and
• hosted numerous culinary events at the Culinary Studio in Jefferson Marketplace, including a traditional Japanese maki roll cooking demonstration.