Google Analytics Tracking Code

Monday, February 14, 2011

Food for Thought

Last night ARAMARK management and Association of Student Representatives members held a town hall meeting to further introduce changes in dining services as previously reported in the Trinitonian. For those who missed the town hall, click here to see a video presentation. As the interim VP for Student Affairs I oversee campus dining services, which we contract out to ARAMARK.

Over the past year ARAMARK, the administration, and ASR have worked closely to evaluate dining services and make recommendations for improvements. While ongoing assessment revealed generally satisfied student customers, complaints have lingered about value, variety, quality, and nutritious options. The plan that was presented by ARAMARK, and approved by the University, addresses those issues and more.

There had not been a major overhaul of dining services for over 20 years. The new all-you-care-to-eat plan brings Trinity in line with most other campuses. The flex dollars offer other choices for students around campus. An additional option for juniors and seniors allows more flexibility for those who are in their third and fourth years on campus. For employees, the planned new Science Cafe, possible upgrades to Java City in the library and the Skyline Room in the Coates University Center, as well as a planned renovation of theCommons and the installation of an Einstein Brothers Bagels this summer should create exciting and affordable meal choices.

The new door rate in Mabee Hall may also entice employees to lower campus and a special faculty/staff plan is being considered. The ARAMARK improvements, at their expense, will allow them to make drastic changes. Those changes will be assessed and the dining program will be reviewed again in five years. In the meantime, the Chapman POD will allow the University to examine its impact on Java City and to be able to plan for a Science Cafe. That Cafe may become part of a hub of campus life in what will be a remarkable new facility. The video presentation does not address it, but there will be a conceptual redevelopment of the snack bar in Prassel residence hall.

Please use this blog post to offer feedback and pose questions.

Update on March 29, 2011: A Guide to Choosing the Meal Plan

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

For the to go eater, looking for a meal and not a snack, will the new all-you-care-to-eat plan still allow for food to go?

David Tuttle said...

AYCTE programs do not allow for to-go options. This is the standard on college campuses for obvious reasons. Having the convenience store in Mabee, the POD in Chapman, Einsteins in Coates, and the new Science Cafe should result in plenty of such options. It will be a bit of a shift for those wanting to take food back to the dorm. I think Mabee will become an important hub of social life on lower campus. It will be a dawn to late night operation. Thanks for the question.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the college campuses that I know of with this all you can eat option have limited meal times and worse quality food now than we do at Trinity. Why are people who want to take food to go, or those who don't eat as much (lite plan vs. heavy) being punished for their choices? It seems like we have the better plan now and that changing over to this all-you-can eat will result in more unhappy customers than before. Mabee and Coates don't need to become hubs of social activity, there are other places for that on campus that are encourage more food for thought, than thoughts on food.

David Tuttle said...

Great questions. We won 't accept a reduction in quality under the new plan. Variety, quality, health - we are committed to these. Value should improve for all. I agree re big eatrers subsidizing smaller ones. The levels of the plan give students some flexibility in lowering the meals in Mabee and increasing the flex bucks. Re hubs, we will see. The more the better and Mabee sits unused all night. Also, they will serve all day rather than closing at 2 pm as they do now.

Anonymous said...

Last semester I had $1000 of unused meal plan money. I spent the majority of this on bulk items from C3 that I could take home. With this plan I'm not only spending more money but I will not be able to spend the money on any bulk items. If we are being limited to spending most of our meal plan money in Maybee I think it's only fair that there is a lighter meal plan offered. Bigger schools that use the same buffet system have meal plans that are about half the price of our meal plans. Is there any way to have a cheaper meal plan.

David Tuttle said...

Usually people have used the high balance/C3 argument against us. A good dining service shouldn't leave students with a high balance like that. Left over money will be rolled from fall to spring, but not the meal points. Those are allotted by the semester though, not the week. I will let you do the research and post it here, but I think you need to back up your claim about cheaper dining plans. We could go a little cheaper maybe but there would be a decline in quality. We would get ding-ed either way. Thanks for the comments. I aoppreciate havin a chance to respond.

Anonymous said...

I am a little confused as to how the meal plan will work for those of us living off campus next year. Will we get a declining debit (if we want) that can be used at Einstein's and Java City? Will we also be able to use this declining debit at Mabee and Coates if we want a meal on campus? Or is there no option for eating meals on campus if you're an off-campus student?

David Tuttle said...

Sorry for the confusion. It's probably because we are still sorting it out. There will be some declining balance commuter plans and those can be used everywhere, as can Tiger Bucks. At Mabee, there will be a door rate of $6.50 (breakfast), $7.50 (unch), and $8.50 dinner. Anyone not living on campus cn pay declining balance, Tiger Bucks, cash, etc. We are working on a plan for employees and off-campus students that will offer meals that are less than the door rate. Something like 25 meals at $6 each, for example. (Just making up those numbers.) Let me know if that doesn't help...

Anonymous said...

"At Mabee, there will be a door rate of $6.50 (breakfast), $7.50 (unch), and $8.50 dinner."

I'm a little confused by this. Often for breakfast, I'll get something like cereal or a parfait (which costs about $4). For lunch I'll get a sandwich (which is about $5, though I often get a vegetarian one which costs even less), and for dinner I'll go to Home Zone, pasta line, or something similar and generally spend no more than 5 or 6 dollars (often less). Does this mean that I'll have to pay the door rate, which is more expensive, for these items? Or will I be able to use the declining balance and pay per item instead? I'm trying to figure out which meal plan I should get, and I'm hoping I don't have to get a more expensive one because I have to pay more per meal without actually getting more...

Thanks for your time!

David said...

So the door rate is for those who are not on one of the plans that operates off of the meal credit system. In your case, I think, having one of those plans will make the rate per meal pretty reasonable. Those rates are lower than the door rates. You can call me at my office at 999-8844 or on my cell at 861-6422 if you have more questions. Also check the new link I have added to the main post for additional information.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, the link is helping to clear a few things out.