Terry Nahavandi is the new resident district manager at Shippensburg University and is responsible for new dining service initiatives in Reisner Dining Hall.
Nahavandi studied chemical engineering, but no jobs were available. He still loved cooking and interacting with people, so he soon got into the food business in New York.
In 2003, his career in dining services began at Stanford University, but he did not expect to stay long. However, he ended up staying for 11 years.
After taking a year-long break, Nahavandi worked at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and in 2013 he worked at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“I really fell in love with the idea of being able to support the academic mission through creating better food for students,” he said.
Nahavandi is interested in bringing high-quality food to SU, focusing on Chartwells’ culinary standards and listening to student feedback.
He is constantly looking at ways to take advantage of all of Reisner’s dining stations.
Fresh ingredients are a priority for Nahavandi, and he believes the quality of food starts where it is bought. Recently he has also been working in Reisner Dining Hall to promote healthy eating.
“I care about food, so I try to instill that same thing with my staff to handle food with care, make sure that we use great ingredients [and] make sure that we handle it properly,” Nahavandi said.
He is very happy with the feedback, and has heard great things from student groups, faculty and staff. His goal for SU’s dining is to be better than any other university.
Nahavandi said he loves to hear from students, and it is the only way to improve. Reisner and Kriner halls both have Happy-or-Not kiosks for people to rate their satisfaction. This allows staff to detect trends.
There is also a Text2Chat program that allows dining hall guests to send feedback, questions or requests through text message directly to the staff.
Feedback can be texted anonymously to 518-490-4965.
Student ambassadors are part of a new recruitment team to help communicate dining initiatives, promotions, programs and events on campus to other students. There is a student dining committee as part of the Student Government Association. Members of the committee provide feedback and insight on dining issues such as food quality, customer service, healthy eating options and special events.
A third-party dining services consultant called Campus Dining, Inc. reviews the dining program and reports back to SU. The company reviewed SU in the fall of 2018, according to Nahavandi.
When asked about rumors about Kriner Dining Hall closing or Papa Johns closing, Nahavandi said he has heard the rumors, but nothing is concrete.
“Ultimately it all depends on the university, its master plan and how the demand for dining is on that side of campus,” he said.
Reisner Dining Hall is currently in the process of bringing Denim Coffee and Goose Brothers Ice Cream to the dining hall. Both are local producers and run by SU alumni.