It’s another hectic lunchtime and the cafeteria is buzzing with the sound of loud chatter and noisy blenders mixing drinks in Jamba Juice’s corner.
The crowded room is filled with lines made up of hungry students, faculty members and even local high school students who want a smoothie or hamburger.
These lines never end up being too long as the people behind the counter work quickly. Behind them, the doors are constantly swinging open as other workers come to add more food.
However, there is a lot more going on than the average person in the cafeteria looking for something to eat might notice. The people behind those counters and doors would agree with that.
“People don’t realize how much effort we actually put into keeping everything looking good,” said Dee Martinez, a Jamba Juice employee.
There is more than what meets the eye when it comes to the cafeteria, specifically Sodexo. Sodexo is FC’s food service provider and is in charge of the different food stations in the cafeteria and the Stinger’s Cafe.
Because of this, workers do not belong to just one work-station. They are moved around freely and can be prepping the food in the kitchen one day and preparing smoothies the next.
“I’m not just a part of Jamba Juice…sometimes I even have to cook,” Martinez said. “We all actually work for Sodexo but we do have the brand on us to franchise Jamba Juice.”
Sodexo upholds a strict set of safety regulations that is enforced in all parts of the kitchen and the restaurants. According to Martinez, because Jamba Juice is under Sodexo’s ownership, it is held to higher expectations than other locations.
Martinez mentioned that managers from other Jamba Juice locations come in pretending to be regular customers in order to evaluate how this particular Jamba Juice is doing.
Christopher Zaldivar, a closing supervisor for Sodexo who would be one of those higher-ups said, “It’s a chain. There are people that I need to be on top of but then I have my boss above me and then they are on top of me,” Zaldivar said. “There are definitely consequences to things that go wrong so that’s why these regulations are enforced pretty hard.”
Zaldivar emphasizes good communication as the key for maintaining a comfortable work environment.
“At the end of the day we all work together so we need really good communication between all of us,” said Zaldivar. “That way if someone needs help they need to know that someone can handle it.”
“Communication between us is very good. It’s very open. We don’t mind reminding others that they forgot to do something. It’s not embarrassing to tell each other. We just do it,” Martinez said.
Martinez noted that their good communication also stemmed from just working in such a close space.
“As time went on, we started knowing where people would be. We started to know how our co-workers work in this environment and your bodies sort of just get adjusted,” Martinez said. “After a while we got used to how each of us work.”
As a result, they have created close bonds between each other. Most people work seven to eight hours a day, Monday through Friday.
“Not only is the environment here open but you can interact with your colleagues and have fun with them too,” Martinez said. “We actually hang out outside of work.”
However, what makes Sodexo’s work environment different from others is that it has people of all ages, backgrounds and lives coming together.
“I work eight hours a day but this is normal for me. I have a young son so my husband and I both have to work,” said Norma Valdez, who works at The Grille. “I have a really good relationship with everyone. You get to talk to people and get to know them. The day doesn’t end up being too much.”