An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

New sauce in town; Airmen revitalize DFAC

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cory W. Bush
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The La Dolce Vita, Aviano Air Base dining facility, recently made improvements to provide healthier options and enhance the quality of food for Airmen and Soldiers stationed here.

The dining facility made the changes after receiving negative comment cards regarding the selection of food. With the welfare of Airmen and Soldiers as a top priority for the 31st Force Support Squadron, the dining facilities cutting-edge chefs went straight to the drawing board to consider new options.

“These changes were necessary to bring life back to the DFAC,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Smith, 31st FSS dining facility manager. “We had a rare opportunity where the majority of our team was fairly new to Aviano and were seeing things through fresh eyes.”

The Air Force is constantly looking for new ways to be innovative in order to save money, be more efficient, and to make life easier for its Airmen. No change is too big or too small, but the changes made directly reflect what Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said concerning Airmen revitalizing their squadrons.

The most noteworthy improvements that directly reflect Goldfein’s vision were changes the dining facilities team made to the salad bar increasing from 13 to 21 options, addition of a fresh fruit bar, never-before-seen Grab-N-Go options and the return of specials such as Wings Wednesday just to name a few.

Since the changes were implemented, the overall reaction and feedback is positive, just what the dining facility staff wanted to hear.

“The impact has been overwhelming and our headcount has grown by 15 percent,” said Master Sgt. Carlos Sauceda, 31st FSS dining facility superintendent. “When we first made the changes we received more than 43 positive comment cards in two weeks.”

Satisfactory comment cards aren’t the only thing Sauceda and Smith hope to see from the changes. They are pleased to know the dining facility is doing its part to fuel Airmen, Soldiers and the mission. The warfighters that visit the DFAC for breakfast, lunch or dinner are now provided with healthier options making Team Aviano even more fit to fight.

“We give the warfighters the fuel they need to take care of our mission. By serving our hardworking men and women of the 31st Fighter Wing with healthier meals, we are optimizing their performance and morale. Providing them with plenty of great nutritional options is a huge boom to the fitness and readiness of our customers.”

Fueling a force is no easy task and it takes more than just Sauceda and Smith. According to Sauceda, the changes made to the food provided is great, but it’s the team coming together with a common goal in mind that’s the most important change.

“My favorite change is our military members and local nationals coming together as one team,” said Sauceda. “They have all overcome obstacles over the past months and made a difference by providing better quality and customer service.”

Making these necessary changes are the first challenges of many for the dining facility team. Sauceda and Smith’s high expectations and goals for the DFAC and its staff have the team starting from scratch.

To stay ahead of the challenges, the team is constantly fighting to go from down a few yards to winning the superbowl.

“We are constantly striving to improve day after day,” said Sauceda. “Our goal is to take it up another level and compete for the Air Force Hennessey Award next year, showcasing that we are the best dining facility in the Air Force.”

That empowerment is what Goldfein resonates in his a letter to all Airmen, “The squadron is the beating heart of the United States Air Force; our most essential team.”

Since that letter, Golfein has given his squadron commanders the authority needed to empower their teams and revitalize their squadron.

“When we empower even our most junior leaders to take a critical look at our operations, they tend to come up with surprising and often great results,” said Lt. Col Thomas Haas, 31st FSS commander. “When Sauceda arrived at the dining facility, he had a knack for turning the goals of the staff into a reality, and he was fortunate to have a group of committed NCOs, Airmen, and local nationals who were eager to put an extra shine on the facility. By creatively thinking about customer demand, the use of our own manpower, and the Air Force's best practices for food ops, the team has made some incredible changes.”

Editor’s note: Starting every Wednesday a different ethnic meal will be available at the dining facility. On June, 28, the dining facility will serve a Mongolian BBQ.

The La Dolce Vita dining facility hours are:
Monday - Sunday
Breakfast, 6-8 a.m.
Lunch, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Dinner, 5-7 p.m.