Students expressed their dissatisfaction with Chartwells’ food in a Princeton Review report released in August. The Princeton Review asked students to rate the campus food on a five-point scale. The problem, however, may not be with the food, but with its cost, Director of Dining Services Joseph Tobin said.
For students, like sophomore Francesca Rodriguez and her friends, the Princeton Review’s findings did not come as a surprise.
“For this much money, the food should at least be a little better,” Rodriguez said.
The meal plan at Quinnipiac is different from many other schools. Rather than having a certain amount of meals per week, students are given $1,500 a semester to buy food.
The amount of money students get in a meal plan each semester is based on the average amount a student needs, according to Tobin. The students may have the greatest problem with this type of meal plan, Tobin said.
“The amount of money on the student’s meal card and the price of some individual items on our menu are the two biggest issues that students talk to us about,” Tobin said. “These two issues would not come into play at a school with a traditional all you can eat meal plan.”
Freshman Connor Stevenson is among the students who dislike the meal plan system at Quinnipiac.
“The food is good for college, but it is too expensive,” Stevenson said. “I wish they gave you a certain amount of meals, not a dollar amount.”
Sophomore Mike Beck says the Quinnipiac meal plan makes it harder for students to make healthy choices.
“It is really hard to stay healthy,” Beck said. “If you are getting a fruit cup, it is already nearly $4.”
Chartwells comes up with the food prices by comparing prices at Market Basket and local restaurants, and factoring in the cost of expenses like paying employees, Tobin said.
“The food is only a portion of what your dollar goes to,” Tobin explained. “Out of those dollars that come out of our register, [we] pay our employees. Our labor is just as much as the cost of our food.”
Besides cheaper prices, students are also calling for a greater variety of food options.
“There aren’t enough choices,” freshman Chris Mule said. “They should put some sort of food chain on campus.”
Chartwells has been working with the freshman and junior class cabinets on the Student Government Association and the Student Concerns Committee to make the food services better, Tobin said. Among these improvements are the hot dogs at the BYOB grill and the new Boar’s Head Hot Deli, which replaced the Naked Pear Café.
“We are constantly making suggestions regarding food options, pricing, and hours to Chartwells. They are very receptive to the suggestions and adjust accordingly,” said junior Evangelos Milas, SGA’s vice president of student concerns.
Yet, these changes are not catching the attention of some students.
“It isn’t advertised enough,” freshman Rebecca Stabile said. “I didn’t even know they had hot dogs and [my friend] didn’t know about the hot deli.”
Chartwells pays more attention to the opinions of students over reports from the Princeton Review, Tobin said.
“Students don’t know that they can come to us at any time. Our doors are open,” Tobin said. “We pride ourselves on being one of the better reacting departments on the campus. It makes our job easier to listen to the students because if we don’t, then the complaints get worse and worse. Then we know what to do.”