J&H dining undergoes aesthetic refresh, menu changes

In the span of the past two months, Esposito Dining Center debuted a new look and menu changes, brought back reusable dishware, faced water damage and reinforced its meal swipe policy.

The Esposito Dining Center at J&H has recently undergone renovations, with several newly restyled food stations and counters now available for students. | WALI JONES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Entering the newly renovated Esposito Dining Center in Johnson and Hardwick Hall on Jan. 15, students had their first look at new decorative signs, colorful food service bars and several new televisions displaying online menus at each bar.

At the same time as the cosmetic changes, Aramark, the company responsible for culinary services at Temple, took action to successfully return to reusable dishware, a section of the seating area flooded and the dining center started to enforce a policy prohibiting meal plan holders from swiping in other people to access the hall.

Here’s what’s new at the J&H dining hall.


The university made the changes to the food service bars during Winter Break in an effort to improve the atmosphere of the dining hall and make the daily menu easier to understand for the Spring 2024 semester. 

The service bars, which used to look similar, now have distinct colors and decals giving students an idea of the food being served, with bright green leaves painted on the salad bar and pink neon signs of treats at the dessert bar.

“Aramark completed a dining hall refresh over winter break with the aim of creating a more vibrant and modern dining space that includes improvements designed to elevate the overall atmosphere and functionality of the facility including enhanced station branding, better utilization of the space and a more efficient and welcoming environment,” wrote Michael Scales, associate vice president of business services, in an email to The Temple News.

Camilla Sphabmixay found the more cohesive design helpful in navigating the dining hall.

“I really like it,” said Sphabmixay, a sophomore human resource management major. “I think it’s a good eye-catcher for students, especially the freshmen. We also liked how they added little LED signs and they made it more like a home for kids to just come in and feel comfortable.”

Seating areas did not receive upgrades, but a floor-to-ceiling plastic sheet is preventing access to a water-damaged section of the hall that experienced flooding during winter break. A sign in front of the tarp asks students to “excuse our appearance” as the damage is resolved.

Temple cannot provide specific details of the incident or the timeline of addressing the issue, Scales wrote.

The university also modified the dining hall’s water supply line during winter break to install a new dishwasher, which allowed a return to reusable dishware after more than a year of using disposable paper and plasticware.

The dining hall’s reintroduction to reusable dishware aligns with Temple’s commitment to reducing environmental impact, Scales wrote. 


Aramark has enhanced the variety of food options at the dining hall, including the addition of an all-day pasta bar and expanded dessert and drink bar.

“The refresh has allowed Aramark to enhance its menu offerings, introducing daily specials, engaging theme meals and culinary pop-ups,” Scales wrote. “This comprehensive approach, combining technology with sustainability and innovative menu options, ensures a more dynamic and engaging dining experience for everyone on campus.”

Brandon Van Vuuren appreciates the development because he’s been seeing variations in the food served. 

“I think they’re doing a pretty good job right now,” said Van Vuuren, a senior psychology major. “The menu seems to be different every time we come here. So that’s pretty nice. I think just a continuous rollout of different food, and a little bit of variety is good, which is what they’re doing.”


On Feb. 2, a sign was placed at the front desk, instructing students and staff to only use their meal plan swipes for themselves.

Aramark saw a recent uptick in students with unlimited meal plans swiping in multiple friends to the dining hall, leading to the sign’s postage, Scales wrote.

Aramark has maintained the meal swipe rule for years, encouraging students to use Diamond Dollars to pay for others. However, with Diamond Dollars expiring on May 25 and some students swiping in friends and family, several meal-swipe holders found this reinforcement disappointing.

“The meal plan policy is messed up because it’s the meal plan that the students and their family decided to pay for,” said Chinaza Amagwula, a freshman theater major. “They want to use it to help another person. What’s the problem? The school is still getting money from that, so what’s the issue? Taking one more swipe from themselves and using it on another [person], that doesn’t affect the school at all. In fact, they should be happy about that. It just feels like unnecessary strictness for no reason.”

Temple Culinary Services had previously attempted a 15-minute waiting period between meal swipes before the 2022-23 school year but removed the policy before the fall semester began.

“That right there cripples the fact that being a student here in Temple, I expect the best in all the resources,” said Sabir Abdusshaheed, a senior journalism major. “If my friends can’t even eat here because maybe they can’t afford a meal plan and how’s that helping me become a better student and better person?”


Despite seeing positive change in J&H, some students still miss Morgan Dining Hall, which permanently closed at the start of the academic year. The closure made Esposito Dining Center, located on the north side of campus, Temple’s sole dining hall.

Many meal plan holders would have found Morgan Hall more accessible and convenient based on their location on campus. Some students have also found Esposito to be overcrowded at certain times of day following Morgan Dining Hall’s closure. 

“I like the renovations, it’s more updated than last semester,” said Abdusshaheed, who often has to walk 20 minutes to reach the remaining dining hall. “It’s very up to speed. But with one dining hall, I expect the best for coming all the way here.”

As the remaining “all-you-can-eat” dining hall, students have higher expectations for Esposito to fulfill the demand for two dining halls.

“It’s really just an aesthetic change,” Van Vuuren said. “I don’t think much of the food has changed. I guess it’s a nice thing, considering it’s the only dining hall we have. But I think it’s a little disappointing that we only have one dining hall open right now.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.