Campus Life | March 26th, 2021
How The Foote Staff is Staying Afloat in the Pandemic
By: Briasia Russ
COVID-19 has changed many things this semester, but one campus staple has remained the same: the infamous Fried Chicken Wednesday. Students flock to The Rattler’s Nest — also known as Foote as it is located in the Foote-Hillyer building — midweek for this university delicacy. The staff at Foote put forth the dedicated work every week to ensure that students and faculty are fed, even amidst a pandemic.
Supervisor Aaron Brown can agree that it has been tough working during the pandemic but accommodations have made the transition easier. Thankfully, the university introduced Grubhub to all campus dining. This mobile app allows for students to place an order, receive an order number and pick up their food from Foote.
“Thank God they made Grubhub,” Brown said. “Grubhub really helped a few of us out by allowing us to come back and receive a few hours.”
Before the adjustments to the pandemic, students were able to walk right in to place an order and receive their food. However, things have changed. The staff went from manually placing orders to electronically receiving them.
“I prefer receiving orders as students come,” Brown said. “A lot of people don’t like making orders through the app.”
Fried Chicken Wednesday is an extremely popular day for dining halls on campus. At Foote, it is the busiest day throughout the week. Having the chance to prepare the chicken for the hump day acts as nostalgia of pre-COVID campus dining for the staff.
“Fried Chicken Wednesday is still the same when it comes to being busy,” Brown said. “Frying chicken now gives me a reminder of the old days.”
Although the staff has been more than happy to prepare orders and food for students, it also hasn’t been easy. Due to the pandemic, the number of students and staff who used to come to Foote has been reduced. The staff is accustomed to having a larger number of students.
“It has been tough; we don’t have as many students as we used to,” Brown said. “We used to have a full house.”
Not only were students able to come and place an order, but they were able to dine in and mingle with the staff. Students and faculty are now only allowed to come and pick up their order. There are tables that are placed properly to social distance and allow for entry and an exit. If there is a line, students must wait out in the hallway, keeping six feet apart.
The staff may be adjusting to today’s changes but they are still making the best out of it. Whenever students arrive to pick up their food, they can always count on a warm welcome. Staff member Ms. Harris can agree that it has been difficult working during the pandemic, but she still manages to keep a positive attitude.
“It’s been different and difficult,” Harris said. “But we make the best of what we have.”
Receiving orders through the app is also new for Ms. Harris. Although it can be helpful, technology can be a pain.
“It’s been good working with Grubhub,” Harris said. “Sometimes the network fails, and it causes errors.”
Despite these technical errors and failures, the staff still gets the job done.
Students have also found Grubhub to be a different experience from what they are normally used to. In order to place an order, one must access the restaurant via Grubhub. From there, you place your order and will receive an order number. Once you arrive, you inform a staff member of your order number and you receive your food. Kayla Goodman has ordered from Grubhub and finds it efficient.
“Grubhub can be convenient when it comes to ordering and being able to pick up your food,” Goodman said. “I don’t have to wait in any long lines. The app informs me of the number of people in line and how long it will take for my order to be ready.”
The app can be convenient, but it does take away an authentic experience for students.
“Though it is convenient, it does take away from my experience of being able to sit and dine in with friends,” Goodman said. “It doesn’t allow me to enjoy my true rattler experience.”
Next to FAMU Towers North and South, there will be a new dining hall that also has a convenient store. The Rattler’s Nest will possibly have a new home and the staff will be preparing fried chicken Wednesday and other meals from there. This is bittersweet for the staff.
“I’m excited to be moving to the new dining hall,” Brown said. “I will just miss it here, because this is where my heart is.”
Throughout all the changes and adjustments, at least we can still count on Fried Chicken Wednesday.