Food services struggle to meet student needs with flex dollars


Graphic by Casey French
 

Dawnessa Johnson
Staff Reporter

Food service is one of the number one complaints across campuses among many college students. 

At Briar Cliff, the food service and meal plans are looked over, using the survey distributed through Survey Monkey for students and commuters who have meal plans. These surveys help BCU’s food providers, Aramark, understand which meal plan best fit a student’s needs.  

“It is really helpful when people speak up,” says Sinan Supergeci, food service director, “Do not tell your friends, tell us. We want to help the students.” 

The recent survey only had 71 students and commuters respond to the survey. With so little response to the survey Supergeci says making changes to the meal plans and the food service is hard when only a small amount of students respond. 

“It is hard to find a good balance of meal plans that work for everybody,” says Supergeci.

Supergeci says they are looking into making changes to the meal plans for 2014. One of the changes includes flexibility with flex dollars because of the increased usage at Java City.

“I would love to give everybody $500 in flex dollars,” says Supergeci. “But for every student that does not have enough, there is always the student that does not spend [any] at all.” 

Through statistics and usage reports, Supergeci says this year many students are running out of their flex dollars and have requested to add more flex dollars onto their accounts. 

“It is really easy if you have a [card] to slide through…  and at week eight, hear the cashier say. ‘I am sorry your card has been declined,’” says Dave Arens director of campus life. “This generation and the value of the dollar is different than my generation. They do not realize that a piece of plastic has to have money on the other side of it.” 

An all-flex or retail plan has been brought into consideration. Supergeci says many students are not educated enough when deciding which meal plan is best suited for them. A retail plan could suit many students but brings many uncertainties when preparing the food within the cafeteria. 

Supergeci says the cafeteria was originally set up to be a retail location but there was a larger demand for an all you can eat cafeteria. Because there are only two retail locations on campus this also complicates the decision of bringing up an all flex meal plan for those students who use more flex dollars than individual meals. 

“It could be brought up to the university and be discussed,” says Supergeci. “It is not out of the question.”

When considering changes to the meal plans, Supergeci must take into consideration how students will react to the change, how they will use their new plans and if there will be a good balance for all of the students and commuters. The surveys and complaints food services receive are all taken into account be they good or bad. Supergeci would like for all students and commuters’ to participate and bring forth comment, concerns and any remark so he may make a decision to benefit everyone.

 

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Submitted by braunschweigc on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 18:05

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