New Campus Center to change meal plans
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New Campus Center to change meal plans

Taylor’s new dining options to operate on “Dining Dollar” system

By Cassidy Grom | Echo 

“You wanna grab some noodles at LaRita’s?” said every future Taylor University student ever.

Tuesday, as students continued to deliberate about the nickname of the new Campus Center (“LaRita’s” is currently winning in the online Echo poll), Food Service Director Matt Riley handed out colorful leaflets explaining the new meal plan system.

Here are the basics:

Students can now swipe guests into the DC.

Well, sort of. “Dining Dollars” are added on to students’ current meal plans. They are intended to be used at the Campus Center, but if Grandma really wants some lasagna from the DC, you can swipe her in using Dining Dollars.

The new program will start right away.

Each student will receive Dining Dollars in proportion to their current meal plan. For example, students with a 20 meals-per-week plan will receive 25 Dining Dollars to use when they return from spring break until the end of the semester.

Students will be able to choose between using "Dining Dollars" or meal swipes.

Students will be able to choose between using “Dining Dollars” or meal swipes. Photo by: Hannah Bolds

Meal transfers still exist.

Students who currently have Grille transfers will be able to use meal swipes at the Campus Center. One transfer meal swipe can get you six dollars worth of food at the Center. Here’s the formula: Multiply your number of current Grille transfers a week by the seven remaining weeks in the semester. Multiply that by six, and add the base amount of dining dollars you already receive.So, if a student has a 20 meal plan and currently gets one grill transfer a week, she will have 67 dining dollars credited to her account for the rest of the spring semester. (1 weekly transfer x 7 remaining weeks x 6 Dining Dollars + 25 regular Dining Dollars).

This transfer will count toward a “value meal,” a set food combination at each station. Any additions or changes to this grouping will come from the student’s Dining Dollars. For instance, a $6 Chick-fil-A value meal may include a sandwich, fries and a drink, all included in the transfer. Tacking on another sandwich will shave off a few more Dining Dollars. Seniors can use their swipes toward value meals at any time.

Price of meal plans will go up.

Currently, a 20 meal plan costs $4,035. Next year, a 19 meal will cost $4,184. According to Riley, the added Dining Dollars, Chick-fil-A royalties and general inflation caused this approximately four percent increase. The DC will still be open for 20 meals a week, but students with the largest meal plan can only eat there 19 times a week. Riley assumed they will use Dining Dollars to eat the remaining meals at the Campus Center.

Hours of operation are extended.

Want fruit on Friday or a salad on Saturday? Head to FreshExpress. FreshExpress, along with the Dashi Noodle Bowl and Emma & Charlie’s Pizza, will be open till midnight seven days a week. “We wanted to create this freedom of choice,” said Riley. “Students aren’t pigeonholed to eat at a specific time.” Want Chick-Fil-A after church? Too bad—it is still closed all day Sunday. Riley said he is also considering keeping the DC open till 7:30 p.m. This extension would accommodate athletes who may not finish practice until 7 p.m.

Don’t go all at once.

The capacity is about 1,200 people per day, according to Riley. “If there’s a line, and you’re not willing to wait, you have to make that decision,” he said. Riley hopes the long lines will eventually regulate themselves. The DC is still intended to be the primary place to dine.

A lot of planning went into this.

The idea is “Destination Dining.” If you want a slice of pizza, there is only one place you can go. There is no crossover in food options between the DC and the Center. The entire food transition process was supposed to take 3-5 years, but once the Campus Center project started moving quickly, Riley had to jump straight into reconfiguring the dining process and hiring triple the amount of dining staff.

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