For the 2011-2012 academic year, Campus Dining plans to make some significant changes to its services and the food it provides to students.
Students will see an increase in Plu$ Dollars added to their dining plans and the addition of two new dining plan options, changes to preexisting restaurants including Ciao! (formerly BackStage Pizza) and 19 Metro Station, and a new Subway franchise on campus this fall.
Cal Poly will continue to offer four dining plans for students living in residence halls: the Value, Flexibility, Freedom and Apartment Life (only for students living in Cerro Vista and Poly Canyon Village) plans. The plans offer 12, 10 or eight meal credits a week accordingly, with varying Plu$ Dollar amounts that can be spent at any participating restaurants on campus.
Forestry and natural resources junior Dean Chapman said he always ran out of meals with the Freedom Plan and suggests students choose a plan to suit his or her eating habits.
“If you eat a lot, I recommend going with the Flexibility (or Value) Plan,” he said. “If you snack more, you’d probably like the Freedom Plan.”
On the other hand, Chapman said he liked being able to use Plu$ Dollars at locations such as Jamba Juice and Starbucks.
Students may use their Plu$ Dollars at other locations on campus including Campus Market, Village Market, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, VG Cafe, Sage, The Avenue, Ciao!, The Sandwich Factory, Lucy’s Juice, Curbside Grill, Tacos To-Go, Julian’s Patisserie and 19 Metro Station.
Freshmen start each quarter with an allocated amount of Plu$ Dollars for each quarter. Unused Plu$ Dollars from a previous quarter roll over to the next quarter. However, Plu$ Dollars expire at the end of spring quarter.
For this academic school year, freshmen with meal plans will see more Plu$ Dollars added to each of the four dining plans.
This increase coincides with a 5 percent price increase for food offered on campus due to rising food costs, marketing and public relations manager Yukie Nishinaga said.
To add to the four dining plans already provided for freshmen who live on campus, Campus Dining will now provide “commuter blocks” and lunch passes for faculty, staff, upperclassmen and freshmen who may want more meal credits than what their plans provide, Nishinaga said.
Commuter blocks provide 40 to 120 meals and up to $100 in Plu$ Dollars. Staff, faculty and students can purchase up to 20 lunch passes, and save up to 44 percent of what the meals would have normally cost, Nishinaga said.
“We wanted to create a program for upperclassmen and faculty and staff who aren’t freshmen and eating on campus all the time and are commuters and living off campus, but they just want something for lunch or they want smaller plans,” Nishinaga said. “So our plans start at $35 and they’re really affordable.”
“Fast passes,” the commuter blocks, provide both meals and Plu$ Dollars, while the lunch passes provide a small number of meal credits. Both the commuter blocks and lunch passes can be loaded onto a Poly Card, Nishinaga said. Those who purchase lunch passes also have an option of print tickets to share with others.
The fast passes’ meal credits are only redeemable at 19 Metro Station, but the Plu$ Dollars can still be used at any Plu$ Dollar-accepting location on campus.
“The nice thing about fast pass is that these meals do not expire until the end of the year,” Nishinaga said. “So they can stay on your card — they don’t expire at the end of the week.”
Another benefit to the fast pass is how more than one meal credit can be used at the same time, Nishinaga said.
“You could literally treat all of your friends to lunch,” Nishinaga said.
Tweaking the menus and options wasn’t the only change made during the summer. 19 Metro Station, located in the University Union plaza, also received a makeover.
In order to alleviate food waste, the restaurant is now an “all-you-care-to-eat” restaurant. The themed stations remain, including fusion foods, comfort foods, the grill and Italian station, but 19 Metro Station now has two salad bars with six soup receptacles and a hot food section. The restaurant also has a frozen yogurt bar, two pastry bars and a cereal bar featuring more than a dozen cereals, Nishinaga said.
To futher alleviate food waste, all the scraps at 19 Metro Station will be composted. In the past, Campus Dining has diverted more than 300 tons of food scrap waste, Nishinaga said.
To eliminate plastic waste, no bottled drinks or disposable cups will be used at this dining facility.
19 Metro Station instead has new china dishware and plastic clear cups. Trays will no longer be used; instead, wait staff will bus tables.
19 Metro Station’s interior underwent changes too. Approximately 20 dividers, new table arrangements and a few planters were added to “grow the place up,” Campus Dining director Mike Thornton said.
Included in the new table arrangements are bistro-styled tables, an 18-foot-long bar table to account for larger groups of people and 16 standard bar tables, Thornton said. Campus Dining was also able to retain the same capacity with the new seating arrangements.
Other new dining changes and additions to Campus Dining include Ciao! and Subway.
Ciao! will feature a larger variety of Italian dishes on its menu to accompany its new “casually sophisticated vibe,” Thornton said. Its environment has changed from stark coloring to “soft palettes,” he said.
Nishinaga said with its comfortable furniture updates and changing menu, Ciao! is “trying to instill a warm sense of hospitality.”
Ciao! also has a larger capacity because of the removal of its stage.
The new Subway on campus, in Dexter’s Subs’ former location, has a larger capacity than other Subway franchises in order to accommodate for the large volume of students Campus Dining expects it to receive.
Thornton said once Subway settles in, students will be able to use Plu$ Dollars at the location.
Another future possibility is the placement of another Starbucks as a kiosk in Campus Market, Thornton said.
“That kind of is the other side of campus for us and a lot of those folks don’t have a lot of opportunity to (go to the other Starbucks) because of all the construction going on on campus,” Thornton said.
Thornton said plans to proceed with the new location depend on when Cal Poly and Starbucks come to an agreement on budgeting and the model of the location.