Meal plan continues to change in revenue, options

Bradley’s meal plan went through an overhaul during summer 2013, and students can expect more changes this semester.

The semester changes are part of the larger meal plan and dining services changes in addition to billing changes, that were implemented beginning in fall 2013. Under the new meal plan, which has left some students upset, students have meals allotted on a per week basis.

Unused meals are not transferred or refunded. Additionally, only up to $100 worth of Dining Dollars rolls over into QuickCash at the end of semester, something that used to have no rollover limit.

University Spokesperson Renee Charles said the changes are aimed at to create a more self-sufficient dining operation, one that still operated at a loss last semester, and are not a means of creating additional revenue.

“The dining changes were not put into place to create a windfall of revenue; the hope is to create a more self-sufficient dining operation and continue to offer a variety of options to students,” Charles said.

Charles said they are still analying the changes that were made and looking for new ways to improve the program.

According to Dining Services Director Gayle Hanson, both food and concept changes have been made at many campus dining locations since fall semester.

“We evaluated the restaurants over the fall term to determine what menu changes and locations enhancements we could offer with minimal redesign costs,” Hanson said.

Center Court is running a whole frozen fruits fruit smoothies pilot program, and by mid-February, an after-hours (7 p.m. – 1 a.m.) appetizer menu will be introduced.

The Provisions on Demand (P.O. D.) now carries Burt’s Bees health and beauty aid products and will carry specialty items such as balloons, stuffed animals and seasonal gift items.

Some students have noted dining hall changes since last semester, including menu changes that include greater variety day to day, but less variety at a single meal.

For example, instead of offering tilapia, crispy chicken, and hamburgers on the main hot station during a dinner, there is now one complimentary meal, such as turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans at a given dinner.

“With our current buffet set up at Geisert and Williams Halls, we are challenged on providing a concept station type environment,” Hanson said of the change. “We work closely with our corporate culinary teams and our dietician at Bradley to set up the menus to provide a complete complimentary meal.”

Offering variety in a residential community can be challenging, but Hanson said with the complete complimentary meal concept, she believes they can create more weekly variety.

Geisert Dining Hall has also started to offer gluten free lean protein options, such as Made Without Gluten Tilapia and Made Without Gluten Meatballs, for lunch and dinner as well.

“Working with our students with diet concerns, we have really tried to develop options that would meet this need but also be well received by all of our guests,” Hanson said.

Aside from offering gluten-free lean protein options, Geisert Cafeteria Action Station will offer a themed meal days including Sunday Wings and Friday Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Tuesday alternating weekly between tacos and tortellini.

“The [theme day] recipes will be based on these themes but will be changing in the way they are prepared weekly in order to keep things fresh,” Vice President of Campus Affairs Emily Corona said. “Many years ago Mac ‘n’ Cheese Fridays were a huge hit and brought many people to the cafeteria; I hope it will be brought back with the same popularity.”

Bradley’s other dining hall, Williams, now has a pizza station, which may also be used for sandwich melts and calzones.

Hanson said many of the changes were brought forth through student suggestions.

“Through various feedback mediums, we collect the information, review the requests and collaborate with the university leadership and our Aramark resources to determine how the requests can be addressed in the existing program and facilities,” Hanson said.