PDA

View Full Version : The new food service and dining hall plans at some Air Force bases



jondstewart
02-28-2013, 03:30 AM
For those of you stationed stateside, I'm sure some of you in the past 2 years have seen how some have now entered into contracts with Aramark and Sodexo and now there is a bigger variety of food and "college campus style" dining.

What do you think of it and did you like the old ways where it was cheaper and more simple? I didn't think it was necessary and the military is already having problems with weight

Not only that, Aramark and Sodexo are notoriously shady food service giants that have monopolies at most public universities with dysfunctional management and mistreatment of employees. Our food service was always nonprofit, but now we're making money with this

RobotChicken
02-28-2013, 03:33 AM
guess it cuts into the airfarce stealth sales on saturdays...

JD2780
02-28-2013, 04:07 AM
Personally I miss the reef on Hurby. One price all you can eat. It was awesome for a 20 year TACP student. Just had to make sure the tray ninjas didnt swoop down and take your tray when you looked away.

PortDawg2T2
02-28-2013, 05:01 AM
Personally I miss the reef on Hurby. One price all you can eat. It was awesome for a 20 year TACP student. Just had to make sure the tray ninjas didnt swoop down and take your tray when you looked away.

The first time I went in there I thought "this is different". After that, it became the standard that I judged all other chow halls. They also had a place by the flightline that had the best philly cheese steaks (and chicken) outside of philly. It was nice because it was right on the other side of our fence so we could actually get a meal instead of relying on box nasties.

CJSmith
02-28-2013, 07:04 AM
Personally I miss the reef on Hurby. One price all you can eat. It was awesome for a 20 year TACP student. Just had to make sure the tray ninjas didnt swoop down and take your tray when you looked away.

That was the first thing I thought when I read the OP. Back at Scott they had tray ninjas and they were stealthy. I hope they continue with hiring them.

technomage1
02-28-2013, 10:24 AM
Haven't tried it. But I assume the dorm residents will like it, and since they are the reason the DFAC exists and they have to eat there, their opinion on the matter is what should count.

Robert F. Dorr
02-28-2013, 11:07 AM
A great metaphor for the notion that the Air Force is one great big campus. We can blame social trends for some of that, but we can blame former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for stripping away the last vestige of air power and reducing this military service branch to a sorority that dabbles in useless aircraft and equipment designed for the wrong purpose.

SomeRandomGuy
02-28-2013, 03:26 PM
For those of you stationed stateside, I'm sure some of you in the past 2 years have seen how some have now entered into contracts with Aramark and Sodexo and now there is a bigger variety of food and "college campus style" dining.

What do you think of it and did you like the old ways where it was cheaper and more simple? I didn't think it was necessary and the military is already having problems with weight

Not only that, Aramark and Sodexo are notoriously shady food service giants that have monopolies at most public universities with dysfunctional management and mistreatment of employees. Our food service was always nonprofit, but now we're making money with this

In my opinion the decline of AF food servcie was two part. The first was the switch to Aramark/Sodexo and the second was most units providing blanket BAS authorizations for dorm Airmen. I lived in the dorms at WPAFB and the food was absolutely terrible. Most of the dorm Airmen just paid out of pocket and ate somewhere else. The on;y decent meals were breakfast and lunch (coincidentally the meals that commanders and shirts might happen to stop by for). When we complained they always said they loved the food at the DFAC. What they failed to realize was that the lunch meal was simply reheated for dinner. I actually convinced a few shirts to try dinner at the DFAC and they were disgusted. The problem was that so many Amn were on BAS that the chow hall was already losing money. It is hard to improve a service when that service is already losing money. That is also the reason most clubs, bowling alleys, and other base services are terrible. They cannot improve because they have no income and leadership refuses to throw mor emoney because "on one uses them"

SomeRandomGuy
02-28-2013, 03:46 PM
Dont most new dorm rooms have kitchens?

Yes, the dorm I lived in was 4 rooms (each with its own bathroom) connected in the middle by a kitchen and small dining room. We tried making the argument that since we had kitchens it would be better for us to recieve BAS and cook our own food. You know what the command Chief's answer was? "If we did that then we would have to teach Amn how to cook in FTAC"

Pullinteeth
02-28-2013, 04:35 PM
Yes, the dorm I lived in was 4 rooms (each with its own bathroom) connected in the middle by a kitchen and small dining room. We tried making the argument that since we had kitchens it would be better for us to recieve BAS and cook our own food. You know what the command Chief's answer was? "If we did that then we would have to teach Amn how to cook in FTAC"

Do they have to teach everyone that moves out of the dorm how to cook? Do they have to teach everyone that moves into housing how to cook? That is an absurd assertation....

technomage1
02-28-2013, 05:15 PM
Do they have to teach everyone that moves out of the dorm how to cook? Do they have to teach everyone that moves into housing how to cook? That is an absurd assertation....

You learn to cook or you starve. Or gain 50 lbs on junk food.

When I moved out of the dorms I'd never really had to cook. So I bought a Betty Crocker cookbook and tried a new reciepe every week. Ate like a king and learned a lot too. This isn't something mommy AF needs to address. Now, if a troop comes up to me and asks for help, thats another thing. I've taught some how to do laundry.

But most are going to figure it out on their own.

Pullinteeth
02-28-2013, 06:24 PM
You learn to cook or you starve. Or gain 50 lbs on junk food.

When I moved out of the dorms I'd never really had to cook. So I bought a Betty Crocker cookbook and tried a new reciepe every week. Ate like a king and learned a lot too. This isn't something mommy AF needs to address. Now, if a troop comes up to me and asks for help, thats another thing. I've taught some how to do laundry.

But most are going to figure it out on their own.

In the KMC, I lived in the dorm, got BAS (no DFAC) and they didn't give me a cooking class...yet I managed to survive as did everyone else that lived in my dorm....

BRUWIN
03-01-2013, 10:00 AM
I think retirees should be eligible to eat at the Dining Hall.

Chief_KO
03-01-2013, 12:58 PM
After an Airman nearly started a fire by dumping a whole bag of frozen french fries into a pot FULL of hot oil, the base I was at made all dorm Airmen attend a cooking class (focused on safety & nutrition). It is sad that we need to teach some folks everything (like how to dress, clean, bathe, cook, eat, etc.) but when they didn't learn it at home...

JD2780
03-01-2013, 07:17 PM
A great metaphor for the notion that the Air Force is one great big campus. We can blame social trends for some of that, but we can blame former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for stripping away the last vestige of air power and reducing this military service branch to a sorority that dabbles in useless aircraft and equipment designed for the wrong purpose.


How about the CSAF that decided the AF needs to be more corporate than military like. What a/c do view as useless? I'm sure I can find very good usage for every airframe we have.

JD2780
03-01-2013, 07:21 PM
You learn to cook or you starve. Or gain 50 lbs on junk food.

When I moved out of the dorms I'd never really had to cook. So I bought a Betty Crocker cookbook and tried a new reciepe every week. Ate like a king and learned a lot too. This isn't something mommy AF needs to address. Now, if a troop comes up to me and asks for help, thats another thing. I've taught some how to do laundry.

But most are going to figure it out on their own.

Exactly, most have never lived away from mom, so if they ask for help, why wouldnt I help them?

Rainmaker
03-01-2013, 07:44 PM
Sometimes less is more. Nomsayin??

Pullinteeth
03-01-2013, 07:55 PM
After an Airman nearly started a fire by dumping a whole bag of frozen french fries into a pot FULL of hot oil, the base I was at made all dorm Airmen attend a cooking class (focused on safety & nutrition). It is sad that we need to teach some folks everything (like how to dress, clean, bathe, cook, eat, etc.) but when they didn't learn it at home...

My spouse has started half a dozen fires yet no base I have ever been at, mandated all spouses attend a cooking class...

technomage1
03-02-2013, 04:34 AM
Exactly, most have never lived away from mom, so if they ask for help, why wouldnt I help them?

The only thing worse than ignorance is not taking steps to correct it.

chevyman
03-02-2013, 01:14 PM
I lived off base for many years and survived on my own cooking. Thankfully my parents taught me how to cook and do laundry. Some airman are able to figure it out and others not so much. Maybe the Airman and Family Readiness Center should have a "Living on Your Own Class" for airman who need it before moving out of the dorms.

71Fish
03-02-2013, 04:26 PM
Personally I miss the reef on Hurby. One price all you can eat. It was awesome for a 20 year TACP student. Just had to make sure the tray ninjas didnt swoop down and take your tray when you looked away.

Hurby was my first base. At the chow hall there was this small Korean lady who operated the gravy ladle like nobodies business. When your plate got to her she said "graby sir?" and before I ever had a chance to answer she was pouring that nasty brown gravy on my rice. Then there was the old lady who stood by the door to make sure I didn't take apples. Then there was going to mid night chow, underage, drunk and in uniform to get an omelet or fried chicken. Sorry, little trip down memory lane.

jondstewart
03-03-2013, 07:18 AM
Okay, it's obvious most folks responding to this post don't like military chow. But who can blame them? The food received is so processed and sulphured and is no better than what you get at a school cafeteria. Military chow has always been preserved and with little food value other than simple carbs, salt, and sugar.

From a former Services man's point of view, we were "pimped" and made to work twice as hard with many civilian contractors that worked as line servers or salads losing their jobs and we had to assume the responsibility.

Food service is such a thankless job and if the food isn't that great, it's usually not the cooks fault, just the crap that is cooked needs to be dressed up well to make it somewhat appealing

And I don't blame the Airmen for avoiding the DFAC's, but they need to know they can have better than fast food, but this young generation that is in now doesn't know any better, for the most part. Fast food is now a way of life and even so-called "home cooked meals" are usually the same processed garbage they get at the dining halls

OtisRNeedleman
03-04-2013, 03:04 AM
During my time on active duty (70s-90s) found AF dining hall food anywhere from good to outstanding. Much better in general than Army dining hall food. I have a hard time thinking things haven't continued to improve. If there were an AF dining hall nearby that would let this retiree in, I'd be glad to have a meal there.

OtisRNeedleman
03-04-2013, 04:42 AM
Hurby was my first base. At the chow hall there was this small Korean lady who operated the gravy ladle like nobodies business. When your plate got to her she said "graby sir?" and before I ever had a chance to answer she was pouring that nasty brown gravy on my rice. Then there was the old lady who stood by the door to make sure I didn't take apples. Then there was going to mid night chow, underage, drunk and in uniform to get an omelet or fried chicken. Sorry, little trip down memory lane. Brings back memories of midnight meals on Friday nights at Goodfellow, back in the 70s. Didn't have to be in uniform to eat. Good times, good times...

Airborne
03-04-2013, 06:07 AM
During my time on active duty (70s-90s) found AF dining hall food anywhere from good to outstanding. Much better in general than Army dining hall food. I have a hard time thinking things haven't continued to improve. If there were an AF dining hall nearby that would let this retiree in, I'd be glad to have a meal there.

Sadly, the food quality is still stuck in those decades. Most young people would rather have something in the vein of Chipotle, Panera Bread, or whatever the local spot is outside the gate. Instead you get powdered mashed potatoes, green tomatoes, brown lettuce, and the highly processed salisbury steak or perfect circle chicken patty and canned vegetables that are further boiled down into oblivion. Im sure everyone has the one favorite meal they like from the chow hall but its few and far between. Just another part of the military that is being surpassed by the civillian sector

OtisRNeedleman
03-04-2013, 07:37 PM
Sadly, the food quality is still stuck in those decades. Most young people would rather have something in the vein of Chipotle, Panera Bread, or whatever the local spot is outside the gate. Instead you get powdered mashed potatoes, green tomatoes, brown lettuce, and the highly processed salisbury steak or perfect circle chicken patty and canned vegetables that are further boiled down into oblivion. Im sure everyone has the one favorite meal they like from the chow hall but its few and far between. Just another part of the military that is being surpassed by the civillian sector

Understand. Believe every base has some sort of food advisory council to address the dining halls. Believe unit first sergeants, commanders, and certain junior enlisted unit members would be on these councils, along with base command, Services reps, and, as appropriate, the contracting officer's representative. Aren't these people doing their jobs? Personally, if I were a commander, a shirt, or a member of the food advisory council, and people were bitching to me about the food in the dining hall, I'd certainly bring the issues up in the food council meeting. If there are problems, or the dining hall isn't providing what people like to eat, the diners need to complain.

SomeRandomGuy
03-04-2013, 08:04 PM
Understand. Believe every base has some sort of food advisory council to address the dining halls. Believe unit first sergeants, commanders, and certain junior enlisted unit members would be on these councils, along with base command, Services reps, and, as appropriate, the contracting officer's representative. Aren't these people doing their jobs? Personally, if I were a commander, a shirt, or a member of the food advisory council, and people were bitching to me about the food in the dining hall, I'd certainly bring the issues up in the food council meeting. If there are problems, or the dining hall isn't providing what people like to eat, the diners need to complain.

Is there really a food advisory council? I have never heard of that. I do think it would be an awesome idea though. The problem with just about any service organization in the AF is that they have a monopoly. If you are on a meal card you only have one option to recieve free food. The same goes for finance, MPF, medical, etc. If you want the service you have one place to get it. Most of the time these organizations think they are doing great and that around 1% of their customers are recieveing bad service. They justify the status quo by convincing theirselves that it truely is only about 1% recieving bad service. I know this first hand from working at finance. It was pretty easy to write off any complaint by saying "everyone makes a mistake" instead of actually addressing the problem. I think a council like you mentioned would be a great forum to get all complaints together and see if there truely is a trend.

OtisRNeedleman
03-04-2013, 08:51 PM
Is there really a food advisory council? I have never heard of that. I do think it would be an awesome idea though. The problem with just about any service organization in the AF is that they have a monopoly. If you are on a meal card you only have one option to recieve free food. The same goes for finance, MPF, medical, etc. If you want the service you have one place to get it. Most of the time these organizations think they are doing great and that around 1% of their customers are recieveing bad service. They justify the status quo by convincing theirselves that it truely is only about 1% recieving bad service. I know this first hand from working at finance. It was pretty easy to write off any complaint by saying "everyone makes a mistake" instead of actually addressing the problem. I think a council like you mentioned would be a great forum to get all complaints together and see if there truely is a trend.

If you are active duty ask your shirt. He/she will know. Chances are your shirt may either be on the food advisory council or can tell you who is on it and how to contact them. Believe it or not, the upper echelons are concerned about the quality of food served in the dining hall. Doesn't look good in various ways if the dining halls are underused in comparison to the eligible base population. And believe it or not, even if a contractor runs the dining hall they want you to eat there. They want the revenues and the option years of the contract. If people aren't happy with the food the contractor wants to know so they can fix things. The base food advisory council is a great way to get the message across.

Airborne
03-05-2013, 02:32 AM
There is a food advisory council, but it is mostly lip service. It has more to do with service hours and the like. No matter what people ask for, there will still be Tyson chicken patties and powdered mashed potatoes from Sysco/Sodexo being served up.

Airborne
03-05-2013, 02:51 AM
There is a food advisory council, but it is mostly lip service. It has more to do with service hours and the like. No matter what people ask for, there will still be Tyson chicken patties and powdered mashed potatoes from Sysco/Sodexo being served up.

jondstewart
03-05-2013, 06:58 AM
Guess Elmendorf's dining hall is the exception to the rule! It started the Food Transformation Initiative in the fall of 2010 and the food service folks were promised to learn the business, be certified chefs, etc. Most of us, including myself, were not too impressed with the way Aramark conducted business and it seems that company had more managers than worker bees. Nevertheless, the dining hall has always had numerous retirees eating there, some active duty with their families, Army people coming all the way from the Fort Richardson side, and so on. Some of the cooks there are government workers paid good money and have the skills to provide a fine meal, but they have pretty much shrugged off the transformation plan and just done things the way they did before, with a union backing them up

Robert F. Dorr
03-11-2013, 09:50 AM
Guess Elmendorf's dining hall is the exception to the rule! It started the Food Transformation Initiative in the fall of 2010 and the food service folks were promised to learn the business, be certified chefs, etc. Most of us, including myself, were not too impressed with the way Aramark conducted business and it seems that company had more managers than worker bees. Nevertheless, the dining hall has always had numerous retirees eating there, some active duty with their families, Army people coming all the way from the Fort Richardson side, and so on. Some of the cooks there are government workers paid good money and have the skills to provide a fine meal, but they have pretty much shrugged off the transformation plan and just done things the way they did before, with a union backing them up

What is the name of the dining hall you're referring to? In the 1970s I was aboard a VC-135A with the U.S. ambassador to Korea and CINCUNC on a flight from Kimpo to Andrews. They did not need to stop at Elmendorf for fuel but they did stop there for the food. Not sure whether it was a club or a dining hall or what.

Pullinteeth
03-11-2013, 03:56 PM
What is the name of the dining hall you're referring to? In the 1970s I was aboard a VC-135A with the U.S. ambassador to Korea and CINCUNC on a flight from Kimpo to Andrews. They did not need to stop at Elmendorf for fuel but they did stop there for the food. Not sure whether it was a club or a dining hall or what.

It is called the Iditarod Dining Facility.

http://ebooks.aqppublishing.com/publications/g31/JBER%20Base%20Guide/#page54