Virginia Tech Dining Services has once again racked up awards this summer, including Food Management’s 2013 Innovator of the Year award for the state-of-the-art dining hall Turner Place at Lavery Hall, which opened in August of last year.
The department is also eagerly awaiting the announcement on July 13 regarding whether or not it has won its seventh total Grand Prize award from the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) through its Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards, the premier awards program in all of collegiate dining.
This could be another trophy in the already crowded case for Ted Faulkner, the director of Dining Services, and the rest of his department. They have already received over 25 NACUFS Loyal E. Horton awards, including the gold award this year for retail sales in the large school—multiple concept/marketplace category.
In addition to those prestigious accolades, Dining Services has also been consistently ranked in the top three of the Princeton Review, and were voted No. 1 this year in the Best Variety and Best Quality Food categories by College Prowler, which also graded Tech’s overall dining program at an A+.
Turner Place was the newest addition to the university dining milieu at Virginia Tech, and was heavily featured in Food Management’s June 2013 edition magazine. It saw an average of about 50,000 customers per week, and reached 12,250 transactions a day on multiple occasions in the spring.
“Turner, for the academic year surpassed 1.5 million (transactions), which caught us off guard because it was higher than originally projected,” Faulkner said.
Turner is one of the most innovative dining halls in the country, featuring a fully functioning Japanese-style steakhouse & sushi bar named Origami Grill.
Turner also features some national university firsts, including the first campus Bruegger’s Bagels, the first university-operated Qdoba Mexican Grill — which is also the second busiest chain location in the country — and the first Jamba Juice in the entire state of Virginia.
However, the department’s initiative to go green could be its longest-lasting impact. Turner was built to adhere to environmentally friendly standards, and was given a Silver-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at its completion.
For the 2013-2014 academic year, there are a few new things that Dining Services plans to unveil.
Along with a self-branded concept "Burger 37" in Squires Student Center, there’s also a new program with gluten-free options in mind.
“We just opened a gluten-free station in D2 at the Gauchos location that will have offerings throughout the coming academic year to assist those who desire that type of food selection,” Faulkner said.
With each and every new project on its plate, Dining Services continues to impress college food critics nationwide.