Aramark and University Communications and Marketing (UCM) unveiled new labeling and signage for the Charles White Dining Hall last week. Playing into Harding’s overall brand identity and the Bison theme, Graze in the cafeteria was officially launched Oct. 17.
After conducting surveys and other satisfaction analysis tactics in May, Aramark began planning and implementing changes to Harding’s dining hall. Several new dining options were introduced at the beginning of the semester, with the most obvious change coming with the introduction of the Graze logo.
The cafeteria expanded the salad bar and also included more vegan options on the main line. In addition, students now serve themselves more often, allowing them to customize their plates more easily.
According to Jana Rucker, vice president for University Communications and Enrollment, Graze is based on a restaurant concept to unify the multiple stations and tie into the University’s brand image.
“This was actually not an attempt to rebrand the caf,” Rucker said. “It will always be the caf, but I do believe there is power in creating visual interest and a more polished and unified presentation. This is part of my charge as the brand manager for Harding, and I think it helps provide a better impression and experience for the campus community and our visitors.”
Part of that polished and unified presentation includes the new Graze logo, which Rucker said was drawn by Tim Cox, the artist behind Harding’s newest Bison logo.
Reactions to Graze from the student body have been mixed, though not particularly strong on either end. Senior Zach Orall said he wasn’t specifically impressed by the changes, because he wishes more effort would have put toward pricing and food quality rather than aesthetic appeal.
“I think that this change was put toward an area that wasn’t so immediately needed,” Orall said. “It just kind of felt like maybe it could have been put toward a different area … It just kind of felt like they were repainting cracked walls to me.”
Other students, however, had a different outlook on Graze. According to junior Riane Chavez, some students appreciate the efforts being made. She said, while it may not make a huge difference for everyday student life, it’s a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s cool just to spruce up the caf a little bit,” Chavez said. “It’s not like it was drastic or they remodeled or anything. They just added some nice touches.”
Graze signage and the other changes can be seen in the Charles White Dining Hall and read about at harding.campusdish.com.