Dining Services restructures meal plans

Two weeks after the town hall meeting, Dining Services updates the points system. Prices are now posted for items at the Heritage Market as well as Paws-n-Go, marketing terminology is different and some food prices are changed

Junior finance major Charlie Layton was an advocate at the meeting for changes to the dining point system.

“I suggested that they change how they market the system and lose the ’50 percent off’ phrase that they were using because a lot of students thought that was deceptive,” Layton said. “We also suggested that they post prices of things in the Paws-n-Go. That way, students know exactly how much something is going to cost before they get it.”

Dining Services has made changes following a Sept. 16 town hall with APU students to hear opinions and feedback regarding the new dining points system and get suggestions on how to fix the problems students have with it. Dining Services staffers said that during the meeting, it became clear one of the biggest issues students had was the marketing of food at 50 percent off.

“We don’t look back every year and ask, ‘How much money did we make?’ We look back at the end of the year and ask if our community was satisfied with the service,” said James Nasipak, the director of university services. “If not, what is it that is interrupting that?”

The other big issue the student body said it had regarding the new points system was seemingly exorbitant rates for food, including side orders. In previous years, students were able to get a food combo. At the beginning of this year, all entrees and sides were sold separately. Dining Services has responded to complaints and suggestions to improve costs for students.

“We revisited our meal prices, and we even implemented a new combination policy where students can get sides and a drink for $2.25,” said Jim Cacciatore, the assistant director of Dining Services. “We just revisited some of our prices, and a lot of people seem happier now that we implemented this cheaper combo option.”

While these changes do not eliminate all of the confusion, they are a first step in updating the dining plan, some students say. Layton, for one, is happy his voice was heard in the process.

“I was really impressed that they actually listened to what I had to say, but the speed at which they made the changes and improvements was really impressive and encouraging to me,” Layton said. “I kind of figured they would adopt some changes in how the dining points system was marketed, especially regarding the rumored 50 percent off of food.”

While Nasipak does not believe the system is perfect yet, he assured that it will improve over time and encouraged students to step forward and suggest ideas to keep improving the points system.

For the article detailing the town hall meeting, click here.