Gateway Cafeteria will be closed for dinner for the remainder of the semester due to low attendance rates earlier this semester. Of the 600 to 700 students that Gateway can accommodate, 400 were attending for dinner.
Hale Aloha can accommodate about 1,400 students with its large kitchen and seating area. During the past few months, this number has dropped to about 700 or 800 students. The combined count from both Hale Aloha and Gateway can be accommodated in one facility.
“[Hale Aloha] is designed to hold a larger volume of students,” Sodexo General Manager Donna Ojiri said.
The managers of each cafeteria track the attendances each semester and compare them to the previous semester or year. They present this information to Student Housing. Sodexo manages the operations for Student Housing, which is part of Student Affairs.
“We looked at January, February and March and saw a declining trend, and it’s consistent with previous semesters,” Ojiri said.
Ojiri said it seems like students attend dinner at the cafeterias from January through March with declining numbers that continue to drop after spring break. On April 3, Hale Aloha had more than 1,000 students attend dinner.
The Deli Sandwich Bar in Gateway has been added to Hale Aloha along with Simple Servings.
Some students believe the closure of Gateway may affect the quality of service at Hale Aloha due to the increased number of students.
“I feel like the people who work [at Hale Aloha] are going to be really rushed,” sophomore Tawnie Terrones said.
Terrones lives in Gateway Hall and will miss walking downstairs to get dinner. She said it was an annoyance that students weren’t told about the closure.
Junior Marcus Diones said the closing of Gateway for dinner is an inconvenience. He will miss having the variety of meals that Gateway would offer for dinner.
“I’m [going to] miss those breadsticks,” sophomore Lance Matsumoto said.
Matsumoto believes it will be hard to compete for tables because only one cafeteria is open.
Some staff that worked at Gateway during dinner hours has been accommodated elsewhere. Sodexo sees where they can accommodate employees; one was transferred to the Noelani Market and the Deli Sandwich Bar worker was transferred to Hale Aloha. Other staffers were put on leave of absence and are expected to return in August when the cafeterias open for the fall. The fall semester is typically busier than the spring semester.
By closing Gateway, the building is saving on utility costs such as those for water, electricity and gas.
“There are definitely energy savings when we close the kitchen, dish room and dining room for the dinner meal period,” Ojiri said.