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A new quest begins

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, Quest Food Management Services took over as the University of St. Francis main food service provider. Throughout the years, the university went through many managers but people think the new manager is here to stay, already improving the experience.

Claressa Padilla has been in food service her entire working life. Before being named the Quest manager here at USF, she worked at Dominican University for nine years. She was tasked with multiple jobs at Dominican, starting as the catering director and working her way up the ladder to general manager.

Padilla is already making improvements and coming up with ideas. A problem for a lot of commuters who don’t have a meal plan was not being able to see a menu for pricing, that was Claressa’s first step in improving the dining on campus.

“We’re looking to make changes based on [the] business’ needs,” Padilla said. “We started with signage and now we’re going to add TV’s over the bistro like a coffee TV and then one for the menu, just to make it where people can see the pricing. You know we’re working on enhancing that coffee program and what it looks like.”

Padilla and Quest Food Management are already creating a feedback system for students and faculty to voice their opinions on how Quest is doing at the university.

“It’s going to go out to the whole school and then a part of it goes to staff to try and get feedback on how we’re doing, what we can change and what people are looking for,” Padilla said. “We’re welcome to any opinions or ideas on things like that.”

During spring break Padilla is going to bring back a student favorite in the Bistro. The coolers are coming back so students can grab food in between classes quickly and easily, instead of waiting for an order.

“I know we had moved all the coolers into the back so during spring break we’re going to move them back out so students can grab whatever they want and we’re going to put signage up saying that everything they take out of the coolers has to go to the registers and be rung up,” Padilla said. “We’re also looking to implement a new menu that will be based on student [organizations] and be more student driven."

Padilla wants people to stay on campus and eat at the many dining halls instead of going out to fast food joints. Having a great dining experience is a key factor she wants students to enjoy.

“I think my goal is [going to] be to drive participation across the board. Students, staff, faculty; everybody,” she said. “You know I want people to want to come to our dining and like what they see and have a great experience like enhancing the coffee program, adding more flavors for coffee drinks, smoothies and actually adding milk shakes to the bistro. To make it like that they don’t want to go off campus to eat and stay here and to drive that participation and to make commuters students stay here and buy meal plans.”

Padilla encourages people to reach out if there are any ideas or problems that may have occurred during their dining experience. At her last job at Dominican, everyone knew her, so her goal here at USF is to build relationships with students and staff here on campus.

“I want everyone to know my door is open and [that they can] come to me anytime, whether it’s [by] email, or stopping by,” Padilla said. “I want to do my best to provide the best service and be as student driven as I can be.”

“I was at Dominican for almost nine years. Everyone knows me, they know I’m there, I care, I’m passionate about what I do, I’ve been in food service my entire life so that’s what I do. I don’t cook but I do all the rest.,” she adds.

“I can come up with some great ideas for food, just don’t ask me to cook it.”

Disclaimer: Quest Food Management Service is a paid advertiser with the USF Encounter. This article was written without input or direction from Quest Food Management Services.

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