DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
After months of construction and renovations, the Patterson Dining Facility on Dover AFB, Delaware, was reopened with a host of improvements to the facility, menu items and overall customer service.
The dining facility temporarily closed its doors April 1, 2015, to undergo improvements as part of the Air Force Food Transformation Initiative (FTI). FTI first launched in 2010 at six different Air Force bases and is an effort to increase overall customer satisfaction when compared to traditional dining facilities.
Maj. Jake Wygant, 436th Force Support Squadron operations officer, said FTI brings a better dining experience to Dover AFB and to those who use the dining facility.
"The whole point of FTI is to increase food availability, nutritional content and the variety of food on base," said Wygant. "We are doing that by offering healthier food, increasing the hours of operation and by offering grab-n-go items."
These grab-n-go items are available in-between normal hours of operations, offering more opportunities for Airmen to grab a healthy lunch. Some grab-n-go items include prepared salads and sandwiches, snack items, fruit, yogurt and a variety of drinks.
The menu has also experienced a healthier overhaul. Many fried food options have been replaced by fresher and healthier choices. A new salad bar and a Mongolian style grill are just some of the improvements to the menu.
To help transition from the old items to the new menu, Airmen working in the dining facility have received world-class training from professional chefs. Staff Sgt. Jessica Williams, 436th FSS food service supervisor, said FTI benefits both the customers and the Airmen in the career field.
"I think FTI is very exciting," said Williams. "One of the biggest benefits of getting trained by a culinary chef is that it enhances our capabilities and exposes us to new ways to offer a quality meal."
The dining facility held a soft opening Nov. 17, 2015, for Airmen living in the dormitories. These Airmen were the first ones to experience the new facility and try out the new menu items.
Airman 1st Class Jorge Rijo, 436th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineer, said the improvements to the facility and food was immediately noticeable.
"The whole place looks completely different, it looks modern and looks like a place I would want to eat at," said Rijo. "The food is also much better than before. There is a bigger menu variety and I really like that they added a smoothie bar."
Other improvements include opening the dining facility for use by civilians and retirees. Also as part of FTI, Air Force Essential Station Messing (ESM), or meal card customers, can use their ESM entitlements at other force support squadron's non-appropriated fund morale, welfare, and recreation food and beverage outlets on base, including the King Pin Café, located inside the Eagle Lanes Bowling Center, and Mulligans Sports Bar and Grill, located at the Eagle Creek Golf Course.
The last improvement of FTI will be a flightline food kiosk opening in building 794 in the coming months. This will offer another outlet for Airmen to grab a quality meal.
The Patterson Dining Facility's hours of operations are from Monday through Friday are 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. for breakfast, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for dinner, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. for midnight meal and from Saturday to Sunday and holidays 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for breakfast, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for dinner, and 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. for midnight meal. For more information about Air Force food service operations and other quality of life programs, visit www.usafservices.com