GV announces anticipated return of ‘Late Night’ dining

Gillian Hanton, Staff Writer

GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Food services have experienced an abundance of changes in the way they serve customers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the implementation of takeout, no-contact delivery and grab-and-go options. 

Due to the nationwide lockdown in 2020, many restaurants had to run exclusively on revenue from take-out to stay in business. 

For some, however, this was still not enough. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant industry sales in 2020 were down $240 billion from expected levels. As a result, approximately 110,000 locations nationwide were temporarily or permanently closed. 

The new challenge facing the restaurant and food service industry is finding employees. University campus dining services across the country have had a hard time getting their facilities up and running again. 

In 2021, Michigan State University closed two of their dining halls for dinner service due to staffing shortages and asked faculty and staff members to help keep the remaining facilities up and running. 

The same year, Central Michigan University had to shorten its hours and days of operation due to a significant loss of student and full-time employees.

Unfortunately, Campus Dining at Grand Valley State University has been no exception to these struggles. 

Several dining locations across campus such as Fusion, Zoca Mexican Grill and Einstein Bagels still remain closed due to lack of staff to fill necessary positions.

However, Paul Kramer, Director of Campus Dining, recently announced that after nearly two years, Grand Valley State University is reopening some previous dining options starting with “Late Night” services in the Connection on the Allendale campus.

“As with all Campus Dining operations, service could not be launched until staffing levels were met,” Kramer said. “The Connection now has enough staff to expand service for Late Night, but staffing shortages remain the cause for other closures.”

The announcement had been highly anticipated among students, because of their midnight cravings, and the sense of community it provides. 

Sophomore Jane Hoffman said she is eager for Late Night’s return.

“I am looking forward to Late Night because I never had the opportunity to participate my freshman year,” Hoffman said. “With the necessary precautions, I think it will be a good opportunity for people to interact.”

But the return of Late Night isn’t the only thing Campus Dining has in store for this semester. After listening to suggestions from staff and students, Kramer said alterations and new events are in the works.

“Campus Dining continues to make menu changes based on guest feedback and is planning pop up events and food truck offerings for winter semester,” Kramer said. “Guests also have the option to dine in or take out, and to-go packaging is available in all locations.”

Late Night will resume on Monday, Jan. 31 at Engrained in The Blue Connection. Services will be available Monday through Friday from 9-11 p.m.

Students can follow @gvsufood on Instagram to receive updates on upcoming events.