Supply Chain and Labor Shortage Affects AU Dining; Panther Pantry Also Impacted
By Katie Farkas
Labor and food shortages have been impacting restaurants and grocery stores across the country, and locally, Long Island public schools are facing food supply issues that are impacting what’s on the menu for elementary through high schools. Adelphi has also been affected by the current supply chain and labor shortages, according to Alain Lanz, executive director of Auxiliary & Event Services. It has also had an effect on Panther Pantry, which has seen an uptick in usage by community members since last year.
Lanz explained that Adelphi works with a national dining company, Chartwells, which has given the university access to their resources. Adelphi Dining Services, in partnership with Chartwells, works with an assortment of vendors, including Boars Head, Hershey, Pepsi, Gordon Food Service (GFS), a national food distributor, and Baldor Specialty Foods, a leading provider of fresh produce, meats, dairy, organics and other high-quality products.
“They [Chartwells] have been very proactive in finding alternative products and vendors when necessary,” Lanz said. “With their help, we have increased our on-campus inventories. We’ve rented an additional walk-in freezer, which is positioned outside Post Hall, and we’ve made some adaptations to our menus based on product availability.”
Lanz explained that Starbucks is a good example of adaptations that have been necessary.
“If you have visited an off-campus Starbucks lately, you’ve probably noticed limited food offerings and a shortage of supplies from flavored syrup to Splenda. Our on-campus Starbucks has been aggressive in placing large orders since the beginning of the semester and is now planning for the holiday season when seasonal products may be in short supply,” he said.
Lanz added that recently when a Starbucks representative came to campus “he commented on how surprised he was with our inventory levels and product availability when the stores did not have the products. Starbucks has recently placed caps on the number of products that can be ordered which can impact us in the future, but for now, we are very well stocked.”
Dining Services also routinely hosts outreach meetings each semester with various student groups such as the Resident Student Association (RSA), the Commuter Student Association, Student Government Association (SGA), Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), as well as a Dining Advisory Committee that is comprised of students, staff and faculty.
“Students can also use our online feedback form or email us directly at AdelphiDining@adelphi.edu with questions, concerns and suggestions,” Lanz added. “So far this semester, we have responded to 113 student inquiries. The majority of inquiries were answered within 24 hours, with full resolution within 36 hours.”
Students can also reach out to Dining via Instagram (@eatingatadelphi) or ask to speak to a manager at any dining locations to go over any concerns they may have.
“We are dedicated to making sure the campus dining operation continues to provide excellent food and service to our community,” said Lanz.
Based on this student feedback Lanz mentioned some of the changes that have already been made this semester:
Added quinoa bowls, individual pizzas and salad options to the late-night menu.
Introduced Acai bowls at Legends.
Added heroes to 500 degrees in the UC.
Increased selections at the Back Bar Grill.
Offered specialty salads at Innovation Kitchen.
Included “Breakfast for Dinner” at Post Hall.
Opened Post Hall for late-night seating.
And increased mobile ordering locations.
“The one request we are still working on is increasing hours in the UC,” said Lanz. “Like the rest of the country, we have been affected by staffing shortages. Our dining staff—the people who make the food, serve it, unpack deliveries and stock shelves, and the managers—have been working extremely hard for longer hours to offset the labor shortage.”
The Panther Pantry, a campus organization that provides vulnerable members of the Adelphi community with basic food items, free of charge, has also been impacted.
Michael Hoffner, coordinator of Interfaith Center & Panther Pantry, said, “As a whole, this year we have seen an increase in the number of Adelphi community members using the Panther Pantry. So far in 2021, a total of 670 orders have been placed. This number is up from pre-pandemic rates when the campus was completely in person. In 2019 we had 597 orders for the entire calendar year. In 2020 the number was 425.”
The pantry tackles other needs by offering access to personal care products, clothing and household items.
Hoffner said that in terms of feeling the impact of the food supply shortage, they have experienced some challenges in getting the full number of items they have requested from their distributor.
“Typically, if an item is not available through our distributor, we will be able to access it through Amazon, so we are able to make sure the Pantry remains stocked with essential items,” he said.
Members of the Adelphi community can also place orders online for the Panther Pantry 24/7 by going to eCampus and selecting the Panther Pantry icon. These orders are filled throughout the week and an email notification will be sent when an order is ready for pick up at the mailroom during regular mailroom business hours.