Students report long lines, wait times at Tufts Dining locations

Carmichael Hall is pictured on April 25. Nicole Garay / The Tufts Daily

Several students have reported long wait times across multiple dining locations on the Medford-Somerville campus. At Carmichael Dining Center and Pax Et Lox Glatt Kosher Deli, students have waited for over an hour in lines that extend several hundred feet outside both locations.

Some students attributed the delays to inconsistencies with the pickup times estimated by the Transact Mobile Ordering application, which allows students to purchase to-go meals, make dining hall reservations and view waiting times for their pickup orders. It also shows the estimated time they can enter Carmichael Dining Center for sit-down or takeout food.

However, students clarified that Tufts Dining employees have worked to meet the demand for orders.

“It’s nothing on [Tufts Dining workers],” Kiran Misner, a junior, said. “It’s more just on the system than the individual workers, they’re working super hard.”

The delays come as Tufts progresses through its COVID-19 reopening plan prior to the first day of classes on Sept. 8.

The majority of students living on campus arriving from states designated as out-of-region by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began arriving on Aug. 27, and those residing off campus began arriving on Aug. 16. In-region, off-campus students started to move in on Tuesday and are scheduled to finish arriving by Sept. 8, while those living on campus will arrive between Sept. 8 and 13.  

While multiple on-campus locations opened earlier, Pax et Lox began serving students on Monday morning. Students reported waiting over an hour in a line that extended down Talbot Avenue to Stratton Hall. 

They also experienced extended wait periods after making reservations for grab-and-go meals at Carmichael Dining Center. Many students entered lines wrapped around the building, waiting over an hour to receive their orders.

Sophomore Rachel Feldman said that her takeout reservation expired over 30 minutes before she entered Carmichael on Monday evening. 

“The reservation was pretty much useless,” Feldman said.

According to junior Brendan Amorin, the mobile ordering application indicated that his food was almost ready at 6 p.m. and instructed him to go to Pax Et Lox to pick up his order. Upon arriving, however, Amorin waited in line for about an hour to receive his food.

Sophomore Grace Laber also experienced over an hour of delays when she visited Pax et Lox on Monday evening and Carmichael Dining Center on Sunday. She commented on the role the dining application has played in the delay.

“I think the app works well for placing orders, but the wait times are inaccurate,” Laber said.

Given these wait times, Laber expressed concern about the future state of the dining facilities.

“I’m just worried for when the [in-region students] arrive,” Laber said.

Those in the line extending down Talbot Avenue followed social distancing guidelines and wore masks. However, some students reported concerns about a congregation of students waiting for their orders at the front of the line.

Tufts Public Relations Specialist Robin Smyton addressed these concerns in an email to the Daily.

“Proper distancing is a concern and priority for dining, and we are working to address this issue in order to make food pick-up as safe and efficient as possible,” Smyton wrote.

She explained that the university may take additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“Among the possibilities being examined is the addition of more distancing markers that will make proper spacing clearer to those waiting in line. Students are encouraged to use the ‘two arms length’ standard to properly distance themselves when markers are not provided,” Smyton said.

She attributed the delays in service to the newly implemented system and noted that as the semester progresses, Tufts Dining expects the wait times to shorten. 

“Dining is taking on a monumental change in operations … as operations ramp up, there will be occasional delays while staff become accustomed to the new operations and technology,” Smyton said. 

Patti Klos, the director of dining and business services, encouraged students to support the dining staff as they adjust to the new system.

“The entire Tufts Dining team is looking forward to serving students this year,” Klos wrote in an email to the Daily. “When you see them, be sure to thank them, and acknowledge all their hard work as we pivot to face a new reality together.”

Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center is expected to open on Sept. 13.


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