Stanford Dining, Hospitality and Auxiliaries (SDHA), a division of Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) serves over 25,000 meals a day with more than 900 staff in over a hundred locations, including 10 dining halls, athletic dining, 31 self-op row house dining, 7 co-op dining, 4 suite dining, 4 branded concepts, a kosher kitchen, late night dining at Lakeside, 12 retail dining outlets (including 8 cafes, 2 markets, a pub and a sweet shop), 12 vendor partner programs, 2 commissary production kitchens, 7 catering operations, Schwab Executive Dining, 5 athletic concession venues, and 2 teaching kitchens. In addition, SDHA also oversees the Stanford Food Institute, the Stanford Flavor Lab, the campus BeWell community gardens, the Stanford Food Pantry, and a staff training and development center.
SDHA is committed to excellence by providing meal programs that support the development of communities within residences and across neighborhoods. Its meal plans offer significant value, the highest quality food and flexibility of dining across campus to create new connections and allow students to engage in intellectual and lively discussions over meals with each other, faculty, and members of the Stanford community. SDHA prides itself on providing nutritious, sustainable and delicious food choices incorporating research from the leadership of the Stanford Food Institute to meet the wide variety of dietary needs within Stanford’s diverse community. The Eat Well@Stanford program provides support to students dining with food allergies, religious requirements, medical needs, vegan/vegetarian diets and other nutritional needs. Examples include…
● SDHA offers a variety of accommodations for students with food allergies and specialized dietary requirements through the Food Allergies@Stanford program. As the prevalence of food allergies and other dietary needs continues to grow on campus, its nutritionists work closely with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) to ensure that the university is adequately accommodating students with medically documented dietary needs.
● SDHA partners with FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to help improve the college experience for students with food allergies through enhanced awareness, accommodations, food labeling and training. The nutrition team reviews ingredients, recipes, and menus for allergens, trains SDHA staff on food allergy accommodations and provides nutrition counseling and education for students to help with managing their dietary needs on campus. Stanford is also home to nut-sensitive dining programs at Stern and Ricker dining halls.
● SDHA offers a Glatt kosher lunch and dinner program at Florence Moore Dining in partnership with students, the Office for Religious and Spiritual LIfe, Hillel, and Residential Education.
● Stanford also offers a variety of food options to accommodate the dietary needs of its Muslim community. All chicken and beef served in the dining halls is certified halal unless noted otherwise on the label. In addition, all dining hall recipes exclude alcohol. During Ramadan, Suhoor to-go boxes and Iftar meals in the dining halls are provided to keep students well-nourished during fasting. Students with a meal plan in any on-campus residence have access to halal dining options.
R&DE also has a long history of award-winning sustainability leadership. The SDHA One Plate, One Planet vision captures the full breadth of its pioneering sustainable food program, which represents long-term commitments to climate action and racial equity and celebrates the power of social consciousness, operational innovation, and individual food choices in promoting sustainable food systems.
Stanford dining halls offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Late-night dining is available from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at Lakeside Dining Sunday through Thursday, at The Axe & Palm Café from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday-Monday and at the EVGR Pub and Beer Garden from 5 p.m. to midnight. Continuous dining from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays can be found at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons and Lakeside Dining Hall. The department believes that the expanded hours and variety of late-night dining options help to foster a sense of community among students. In response to student requests for additional after hours study spaces, SDHA provided students after hours card access to seating areas in dining halls, in the evening and into the late night.
Students can use their meal plans for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner in any open dining hall. Meal Plan Dollars may be used at select SDHA cafes and markets or any SDHA dining hall, including all late-night operations. Cardinal Dollars, an optional, flexible, cashless spending option that is used like cash or a debit card may be used at all SDHA cafes and market locations.
All students living in undergraduate housing on campus (except in Mirrielees apartments) are required to be on a meal plan, but they can switch their dining hall meal plan during the first three weeks of each quarter.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SDHA developed the CleanDining Program, which continues to assure students of the safety of their dining experience through enhanced cleanliness that is visible to them. As new university guidelines and country regulations on COVID-19 evolved, so did the CleanDining Program. Still in practice today, it builds on its already high standards of food safety and sanitation in the dining halls, using best practices and enhanced cleaning protocols.
Throughout the pandemic, SDHA remained committed to providing meals to students who tested positive for COVID-19. These were originally made in-house, but after a feasibility study, SDHA switched to an UberEats program in September 2022 that provided UberEats meal credits to those who tested positive for COVID-19 and were in a ten day isolation period. SDHA discontinued its UberEats meal delivery program this March and now, all students who test positive are directed to wear a KN95 mask, pick up meals from a dining hall, and return to their room or eat outdoors, physically distant from others.
SDHA continues to see lower sales numbers in its cafes and markets as faculty and staff presence on campus is greatly reduced, primarily due to post-pandemic hybrid work schedules. To remain competitive while providing the best possible service to customers, SDHA has taken a careful look at its operations and implemented strategic business decisions to create greater efficiencies, including streamlining menu offerings, adjusting hours of operation to meet business demand, and providing an expanded grab-and-go with self-checkout to meet the evolving needs of customers.
SDHA offers mobile ordering and pre-ordering through an in-house developed app, Stanford R&DE FOOD ToGo, which allows for mobile and pre-ordering at select SDHA cafes and markets on campus during business hours: EVGR Pub and Beer Garden, Forbes Cafe, Olives Cafe, The Axe & Palm, EVGR Marketplace, The Market at Munger and U2 Grab and Go. In addition, the Stanford R&DE FOOD ToGo app allows for mobile ordering at Stanford sporting events through the concessions programs at The Stanford Stadium for football, Sunken Diamond for baseball and softball, and Maples Pavilion for basketball. Customers may also pre-order online via the cafe and market webpages.
SDHA also continues to offer curbside delivery and on-campus delivery service through the Market at Munger, a convenient market located on campus that offers fresh produce, groceries, and a variety of ingredients for home cooking, as well as household and personal essentials.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, SDHA has taken a careful look at its operations and programs and continues to refine its offerings. New this year, SDHA is now offering beer and wine at two large venues, Maples Pavilion, home of Stanford Men’s and Women’s basketball and volleyball, and Sunken Diamond, home of Stanford Baseball. SDHA is also the sole concessions and VIP suites provider of Stanford Stadium, home of Stanford Football where it introduced thematic programming in each suite during each home football game during the 2022 season.
SDHA remains committed to providing fiscally responsible catering options for on-campus clients. It launched “Stanford Express Delivery” in November 2022, which provides simple but attractive breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings at a lower price point for pick up or on-campus delivery and is intended to serve the needs of faculty, staff and student groups who have a limited budget.
SDHA is also carefully looking at the menus and offerings of its cafes and markets. This April, it was able to reopen the Law Cafe inside the Law School that closed during the pandemic and also revamped the two markets on campus (EVGR Marketplace and the Market at Munger) with over 400 new items. Using the same methodology, SDHA is revamping its grab-and-go offerings inside each cafe with the same process, with expected completion in May 2023.
In 2022 and in support of R&DE’s DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging) initiatives, SDHA created two affiliate committees to ensure that all members of the diverse SDHA community feel they belong, are supported, and they have broad access to all the opportunities and benefits in Stanford Dining. Both committees assist in the development of an SDHA DEIB strategic plan, establish new DEIB functions, and help create DEIB curriculum for training, workshops, huddles and professional development opportunities.
SDHA has created a staff teaching kitchen called Training for Culinary Excellence that is dedicated to training and developing its team by training dishwashers to become cooks, cooks to become lead cooks, lead cooks to be sous chefs and sous chefs to become executive chefs. This culinary training and development program offers numerous benefits to both the staff and to SDHA, and by substantially investing in employee training, SDHA enhances the skillset of its staff, which leads to improved performance, increased efficiency, and higher quality outcomes while providing promotional opportunities for talented staff members to advance their careers within SDHA. The training and development programs also enhance employee morale by demonstrating that the department values their contributions and is committed to their professional growth, which helps to solve some of the labor staffing challenges that are particularly troublesome in the foodservice industry, where labor staffing issues are systemic and ongoing. T.
SDHA’s award-winning sustainable food program, One Plate, One Planet, engages with many aspects of complex global food systems, from equitable supply chains, climate-smart dining and regenerative agriculture to reducing food waste and shifting diets towards plant-forward options. In the 2022-2023 academic year, major initiatives have been launched towards two of its core pillars, “Racial Equity and Supporting Black Businesses” and “Climate-Smart Dining.”
SDHA has a robust initiative to support Black businesses as part of its overarching racial equity plan. It started with designing a long-term program to purchase from Black farmers through partnering with an Oakland-based non-profit, Farms to Grow, Inc., in 2020. After three years of dedicated research, learning, and relationship building, SDHA was able to source produce in its dining halls from a Black farmer in the fall quarter.
In late winter 2022, SDHA and Farms to Grow were awarded seed funding from the Stanford Office of Community Engagement to support a Black Farmers Purchasing Program and Research Initiative. This seed money will be used to co-produce two free, open-source toolkits to guide others in direct purchasing from Black farmers and to equip farmers to engage with colleges, universities and other institutions. The project is intended to raise awareness of the historical and systemic racial injustice inflicted on Black farmers, help scale the purchasing model, and increase economic benefits to a much larger number of Black farmers. The toolkits are expected to be ready by fall 2023.
SDHA also remains especially committed to promoting climate-smart dining initiatives. Through a partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business, SDHA implemented a research study beginning this spring in select dining halls this spring using a pioneering artificial intelligence food waste measuring company. It has already partnered with a back of house solution to measure food waste, so the new system will focus on front of house, consumer waste in dining halls.