UMass Dartmouth
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UMass Dartmouth opens new retail and dining commons

"Commons at Birch" will feature Webfood® kiosks and flat-screen electronic menus

UMass Dartmouth will open the Commons at Birch, a new retail and dining facility featuring electronic customer service enhancements on May 19.  A grand opening ceremony, featuring presentations by UMass and Sodexho representatives, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Commons at Birch, located in the Woodland Commons Residence Community, includes several advanced electronic elements designed to virtually eliminate lines and decrease waiting time:

- The Webfood® system will allow students to view menus and convenience items from their personal computers and order their selections in advance.

- A Webfood kiosk will allow students to swipe their student ID debit cards and order food on the premises. While waiting for their order to be called, students can enjoy the sitting areas with friends without the need to stand in line.

- Flat-screen monitors will display pictures of meal options and possess the additional capability of promoting dining specials as well as campus events.  

The Commons will house several restaurants including Grill 155, Stacks Deli, Pep-a-Roni's pizza, Smart Market and a convenience store area.  The facility is expected to serve 1200 patrons a day.

"We are very excited about the new Commons," said Jennifer Pacheco, Marketing Manager of UMass Dartmouth Resident Dining Services.  "The area is now a very attractive, welcoming space for students to gather and socialize during meal times. We've truly stepped into the 21st century with these electronic menus and kiosks, streamlining the system for both customers and staff."

"It was our goal to provide a customized facility, addressing the needs and desires of UMass patrons and staff," said Anthony Delligatti, General Manager.  "The Commons offers more dining and convenience options than ever.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone's reactions on opening day."

The facility, designed by Connor Architecture, features plenty of open space with a contemporary, brightly colored decor.  A display kitchen, forming the hub of the facility, will allow patrons to watch chefs prepare their meals.  Seating accommodations include cafe-style booths and tables with bar stools, an outdoor pavilion and a lounge area with a 42-inch plasma TV and comfortable sofas.  An adjacent conference room will cater to special events and private functions.

The Commons' hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to midnight. Thursdays and Fridays will feature extended hours of operation until 3 a.m.

In September, Sodexho will also open a Jazzman's Kiosk in the Woodland Commons Community Center. Jazzman's menu features espresso beverages and coffee served hot or cold plus fresh-baked muffins, cookies and pastries, as well as breakfast items and smoothies. Jazzman's will provide a seating area and be open Sunday through Friday 7 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

About Sodexho: Sodexho is the leading food and facilities management services company in North America.  For more information, log on to:

Author:  "Robert Beadle"
Date:  04-May-2006
Department:   Dining Services

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