ARAMARK and Dining Services have many changes planned for UR’s dining program in the 2004-2005 school year. In addition to changes intended for dining plans, the campus will also see a new convenience store in the Pit, a return to ” la carte” meals for lunch at Douglass, and more variety in menu choices. “We are always looking for feedback,” ARAMARK resident district manager Brad Bingaman said in a press release. “The challenge is to come up with improvements from year to year that are financially sustainable as well as attractive to students – it’s an ongoing process of improvement.” Dining plans will probably remain basically the same and only be changed in certain details. “The proposed dining plan is pretty much similar to what we have this year,” Senior Purchasing Manager Jack Noon said. “The main program for freshmen will be the Club 230, and in the second semester they’ll be able to change over to the 170,” he said. “Sophomores’ minimum requirement will be 170, and we’ve added money to that.”A new dining plan with 280 club meals per semester will be offered, which equals roughly 18 meals a week. “It’s based on the fact that in orientation we had parents and kids saying, ‘hey, I eat more than 2 meals a day,'” Noon said. However, some representatives of ARAMARK admitted that the largest dining plan was unpopular. “About 60 percent of this year’s freshmen opted to [switch] to the 170 [from the 230],” Bingaman said. Noon stressed that the value of all dining plans will increase. “For example, if you look at [the 170 plan] and take the current semester price, $1,760, right now a club meal is about $8.23 [even though it’s worth less at the register]. Next semester, the average price per meal will be less than you’d pay at the door,” he said. “The 170 plan will be a better value than it is now.”Bingaman encouraged students to take advantage of the meal plans with more club meals. “The higher buy-in you make, the better value for you as a consumer,” he said. “If you look at declining balance versus club meals, club meals are the best value, because with declining balance you pay full price.”However, the new dining plans and menu prices have not yet been approved by the Board of Trustees. Therefore, they are not finalized and could still be changed. A major upcoming change is a convenience store which will be located in the Pit. At the moment. it is planned for the area by the registers where the sushi bar now is. The sushi bar will probably be moved to the main serving area of the Pit. “It will be a modular store in front of the Pit, and [in addition to meals] it will carry the top 25-50 items available [at the Corner Store],” Bingaman said. Though the store’s design is modular, it is not meant as a temporary measure. “The convenience store will be as permanent as anything around here,” Noon said.



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