On nearly every weekday — usually in the late morning — the line for the Dunkin’ Donuts in Upper Usdan can be seen extending from its counter to midway through Upper’s booths as dozens of people wait to order coffee or food. Simultaneously, Starship orders placed online chime in one after another after another behind Dunkin’s counter, loud enough to hear from the front of the line. The Dunkin’ staff move incredibly quickly, but the sheer number of customized orders compared to the number of people working behind the counter is overwhelming.

It is incredibly exciting to see so many new faces around: according to BrandeisNow, there are over 1,000 students in the class of 2026, which is the largest in the University’s history. But from a lack of vacation hours given to dining workers over the holidays to an overworked Facilities team, the school does not appear to have altered the infrastructure necessary to support the needs of its staff, who literally keep campus up and running. This demand has also increased as a result of online orders, which come in without regard to the number of existing orders from the in-person orders. In addition, there appears to be a lack of support for the staff working each section as they are consistently understaffed, adding additional stress to churn out as much food out as possible to meet the high demand. 

Many of us have, do, or will work within the food service industry. For those of us who have done so, we might be familiar with the physical and emotional ups-and-downs played out within a breakfast, lunch or dinner rush: a particularly complex order, a meal sent back, a rude customer, how it feels to be on your feet for hours. And there’s the good parts that go with it: kind people and interactions, and the support of a close-knit staff. It can be frustrating to feel like you’re waiting a long time to receive an order that appears simple, but the editorial board would like to express that the onus of the long wait times at Dunkin’ —  and at the other food providers on campus — should not fall on those working around the clock to make and serve community members. On-the-ground providers are as much a part of the community as the student body and administrative personnel; we all interact with each other on a daily basis. 

We would like to encourage students to be kind, understanding, and patient to the dining staff. We would also like to suggest to Harvest Table that to help with the periods of increased number of orders at places like Dunkin’ that don’t use paper ordering, the in-app ordering be turned off for that specific period of time so that the staff are not being overwhelmed by orders from both the in-person line and the online orders. 

The editorial board would like to acknowledge the efforts of dining workers and staff at Dunkin’, the Hoot Market, Upper and Lower Usdan, Einstein’s, Starbucks, and Sherman Dining Hall to accommodate orders on a daily basis. Thank you so much for all you do to meet the needs of students.

The Justice created a form concerning mobile ordering on campus. Feel free to share your experiences!