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Food Court Quality

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Commander's Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander. 

QUESTION 
Good morning,
I would like to comment on the service and quality of food at the BX food court. On Dec 20th I went to the BX food court for lunch, I was with my husband and two kids. We got there at 11:15, got in line at Burger King. There was about 5-6 people in front of us, we waited for 10 minutes and still had not got to place our order. There was an individual running the cash register that was totally lost and had no idea what they were doing. There were two people in the back making sandwiches and a lot of people waiting to get their food. So we got out of line and got in line at Charley's, thinking this would be faster. There was only 3 people in front of us there. Right away I notice the cook was trying to clean the crud and old food off the grill. The lady in front of me said the wait here is just as bad, the cook is in training. Finally the grill is cleaned off and she attempts to cook. The lady running the cash register is trying to take orders, take money and train the new cook. After about 10 minutes I place my order and watch the cook attempt to cook my food, half of my meat is burned up and stuck to the nasty grill. The sandwich was not good at all, but I took it and didn't complain because I knew it wouldn't do any good. My husband and one kid got tired of waiting in the line at Charlie's, so they decide to go get a slice of pizza. How hard can that be! Again a wait because the lady can't run the cash register. He gets two slices of pizza, both are half cold and nasty. My kid ate 2 bites and said it tasted terrible. At 11:50 we were done with lunch and still hungry and mad at the bad experience. Other people were talking about how bad it is at the food court. By this time there is about 15 people in the Burger King line, I hope those people had more than 30 minutes for lunch.
With the Dining Facility being closed and more people having to eat at these places you would think they could do better. Hire more workers or something. The Airman that I work with are always complaining about the slow service and lack of competent workers at these places. I invite you to take your uniform off put on civilian clothes and go there for lunch. I realize there are other places to eat, I do go to those places. I always get excellent and fast service at the bowling alley.
Thanks for listening.

Col. Mark Weatherington
Col. Mark
Weatherington
  RESPONSE
I have been to the food court, in uniform as well as civilian clothes, during duty hours and after duty hours. I have also become concerned with the level of service provided, and I brought my concerns to the attention of AAFES management.
Unfortunately, several workers left in the fall, and the food court has been understaffed, resulting in long wait times. AAFES hired 11 new workers in the last 2 weeks to provide better coverage during the day (half of the workforce required to fully staff the food operation). They intend to train these new employees quickly, to help relieve the long lines and to improve the quality of the product they offer.
Interestingly, the opening of three new restaurants in Rapid City, while expanding the options available in the local area, have cut into the pool of eligible workers.
Your concerns on cleanliness of the grills and proper food temperature, and the overall quality, concern me more - I have asked my support group to continue to work with AAFES in this area.
Please continue to provide feedback on how AAFES is doing. Exchange services are here to serve military members and their families and they want to do a great job. They also understand that customers will choose to go elsewhere they cannot provide an appropriate level of service and quality.