Case Dining Hall, EKU

EKU's Case Dining Hall, completed in 2018, was financed by Aramark Educational Services LLC and houses a number of restaurants as well as Case Kitchen. Students have begun to see the impact of EKU's growing enrollment on dining services. 

As college enrollment grows, students wonder if Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) has planned and prepared dining services for nearly 3,000 new students expected in the 2022-2023 academic year. 

The Case Food Court, or Lower Case, has struggled to keep up with student needs, noticeably after 8 p.m. during VIP meal rush. Students with VIP meal plans are guaranteed a meal from any of the open Lower Case options; however, during these busier times, many students could be seen leaving lines they had been waiting in for shorter lines at less-preferred restaurants or leaving the food court altogether.

Freshmen Ethan Mutchler, Zach Lippy, and Scott Alexander, all who frequent Lower Case, reported that the portion sizes are smaller than they would like.

“It’s really hit or miss. At Moe’s they only give you one scoop of rice,” said Lippy.

Lower Case has not been the only supply-versus-demand victim on campus. Next door, in Powell Student Center, Starbucks consumers have noticed a limited stock as well. After waiting in line, students can only order currently available items. 

The Starbucks supply issue is not something that can be controlled by the university. Steve Caudill, chief auxiliary services officer for EKU, said that limited items are due to supply chain issues. 

“Starbucks is the busiest it has ever been this year than in the last three years,” said Caudill. “If corporate Starbucks limits an item, then EKU’s Starbucks must also limit that item.”

Some students, like Junior Kim Lutes, said they get food at 2 or 3 p.m. in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. 

Lutes said doing this means she usually doesn’t have to wait longer than 15 minutes compared to the beginning of the year when she waited almost 40 minutes. 

Aramark runs dining services on campus. Caudill said EKU and Aramark have been in a partnership since 1997, but today’s supply issues have become a problem because of the pandemic. 

“In 2019, it was not a conversation about ‘We can’t get that.’ It was more of a conversation of ‘What do you mean we can’t get that?’” said Caudill. 

Caudill said enrollment is not the reason for limited food items on campus. He attributed these problems to COVID-19 supply chain issues.

“From a supply issue it’s really eased off, now it is more about there may be an ingredient or there may be one thing in a dish we are not able to get so we have to substitute it out,” said Caudill

“Trends are showing that EKU student enrollment is going up, which is fantastic. What we are looking at right now is making case residential dining more efficient,” said Caudill. “The reality is that the space we have is what we have, so we must be a little creative.” 

In regards to long wait times and lines, Caudill emphasized that the university is “constantly throwing out ideas,” and he is convinced that as the school year continues, these concerns should ease themselves out. 

There has been some conversation about spreading out high-demand food in Case Kitchen (Upper Case), like the comfort food station. 

There is also a possibility that new seating could be added to “spread out demand across the entirety of the facility,” said Caudill.

While the issues in EKU dining are not yet resolved, Caudill urges that “from a supply issue, it has already eased up,” and “staff is doing everything they can to meet the needs of students.”

If students have personal concerns or dining improvement ideas for EKU,  Caudill urges students to directly contact him or dining staff at any time. 

“I have no heavy concerns about our ability. We will be fine in meeting demand.”

You can reach Caudill through email at

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