IU Dining expanded to 25% capacity seating in its dining rooms for spring 2021. The requirements include a limit to number of guests at each table, and seating areas are being cleaned and sanitized as each guest leaves after their meal. Large outdoor tents with seating and heaters have been placed outside campus eateries for additional dining space.
Meanwhile, IU Dining has been partnering with GrubHub since spring 2019 to offer mobile ordering and had seven shops on the service that term, reaching a milestone of one million total online orders logged in fall 2020. Also in fall 2020, 40 new shops were created, with full menus available. Meals can be ordered daily between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and one convenience store stays open until 12 a.m., with hours varying by location at other sites. In-person ordering is also available, and delivery through GrubHub is offered from one campus store.
Students with special dietary needs or food allergies may also request specific meals prepared by designated trained staff any day of the week through communication with the chef team and registered dietitian.
Self-serve salad bars were discontinued because of COVID; however, based on customer feedback, IU Dining’s Romaine micro restaurant was relaunched at four locations in February, with made-to-order fresh salads available in-person and through GrubHub mobile ordering. IU Dining also created a shop on GrubHub for each eatery called Takeaways, a consolidated location with fresh-made bakery and pre-prepacked items.
In Feb. 2021, IU Dining was pleased to open newly renovated restaurants at the Indiana Memorial Union. These include Quarry Pie Pizza, which has made-to-order pizzas baked in a brick oven; Lantern, which offers Asian-style cuisine; The Mix, which serves fresh greens, salad toppings and soups; and Whitfeld Grill, which has chargrilled burgers made with locally sourced beef. The Memorial Union’s iconic Sugar & Spice bakery and ice-cream shop also reopened in 2021 after a renovation and is again able to serve very popular local favorites such as Chocolate Moose ice cream and Brown County Coffee. A large renovation of McNutt dining hall is also underway and due to open in the fall of 2021.
This spring semester, IU Dining continued a partnership with Sustain IU and IU’s Office of Sustainability in a small initiative related to the Real Food Challenge (RFC). As IU Dining seeks to reach the goal of 25% of purchases meeting real food criteria by the year 2025, posters have been placed in all six campus stores, outlining the criteria that qualify food for the RFC: local, fair-trade, humane and ecologically sound (i.e., organic) practices. The posters have an image of select shelf tags that show the various RFC categories that the items fall into and in which specific eatery the items may be found.
The two other projects that IU Dining is undertaking for the spring semester are a relaunch of two campus food trucks—Stripes, offering popular fare such as tacos, and Gloriana, which menus smoked/barbecued meats, while both also offer gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. Also being relaunched are special meals and menus for different occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, Passover, Easter and the month of Ramadan. The meals and menus were created by the chef team for dining locations across campus, with various, interesting offerings. For example, the St. Patrick’s Day menu has Guinness slab cake, Irish soda bread and vegetarian shepherd’s pie.