First-year Avery Busick said that regardless of a student’s mood, CDS employees go out of their way to be respectful and polite.
“They’re always very, very nice," she said. "Other students can be rude to them sometimes, and they take it with a smile.”
Kate Carroll, also a first-year, agreed.
“Whoever is checking you in is usually very nice," Carroll said. "They ask how you are and tell you to have a good day when you leave.”
One of the most difficult times for CDS employees comes at lunch on a weekday, Scott Weir, general manager for CDS, said. Top of Lenoir is known to have crowded tables and long lines during this time, but Carroll said CDS employees do their best to keep up with high demand.
“A lot of folks don’t give a whole lot of thought to dining and everything that goes into prepping 2,500 meals every single day just for lunch at Top of Lenoir," Weir said. "... So when someone does take the time to just acknowledge that, it’s a day-brightener.”
CDS is always open to suggestions from students, Weir said. The Student Dining Board is a group of students that meets weekly to examine matters related to CDS. Responsibilities of the board include meal plan options, the type of food served and dining hall hours, among other topics.
Weir suggests that students interact with CDS’ feedback boards, Napkin Talk. Located at the exit of Top of Lenoir and the entrance to Chase, the boards provide a place for the UNC community to provide feedback or praise to CDS, typically written on napkins.
"I see a lot of our employees keeping an eye on the napkin talk boards because they like to see what students are saying," Weir said. "And when a kudos comes through there, it’s a day-brightener for our staff because we’re serving a lot of food in a short period of time, and it can be pretty stressful.”
Weir said that students who appreciate a certain worker should tell them since a small effort like this can go a long way. He also said that students with legitimate concerns should talk to a manager in the moment. While the napkin boards are a great way of providing non-urgent feedback, he said, discussion with a manager is the most effective method of getting something done quickly.
CDS serves over 4.6 million meals each year to UNC students, professors and visitors. But CDS serves more than food, Weir said — they provide an experience.
“We have a motto here: ‘Keeping our Tar Heels well-fed, happy, and feeling at home,'" Weir said."That’s what we’re striving for: well-fed, happy, feeling at home, the highlight of their day, the least stressful part of their day – that’s what we’re shooting for.”