Food plan leaves dining halls open
By Chris Schechter
Last Wednesday, Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56 accepted a final food service plan for MIT that includes keeping the dining halls in Baker, MacGregor, McCormick and Next Houses open for dinner. Students in dormitories without dining halls will not be required to purchase a meal plan.
The Institute will accept a final bid for next year's contractor by July 1991.
Dickson decided that students residing in dormitories with dining halls will have to purchase
a $1000 declining-balance meal plan. However, these students will be free to spend this money at any dining area on campus. Dormitory dining facilities will most likely be closed for breakfast and lunch.
Lawrence E. Maguire, director of housing and food services, said that a new food service plan was needed for two reasons. "We can't afford to be losing $1.5 million a year," he said. Additionally, "it was found that only 12 percent of the students ate breakfast at their houses and 14 percent ate lunch."
Dickson said that as a result of the changes next year, "We are expecting an extra 250 people at lunch in Lobdell." In order to handle this lunchtime overload, MIT may add a food station in Lobby 13, make use of more areas of the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center, or open Baker or McCormick for lunch.
Maguire and a committee that included students met with the housemasters of the dormitories with dining halls, who made a strong case for leaving the dining halls open.
The option of having each house oversee its own dining hall was proposed, but this would have required students to spend $1000 in their respective dining halls. Students in the dormitories with dining halls rejected this alternative.
The Undergraduate Association's Food Service Committee conducted a survey and held forums to try to gather student opinion. The UA made recommendations to Maguire, who included them in the final recommendation he submitted to Dickson for approval.
Several catering services
Several catering services have been invited to bid for the MIT dining services. The largest caterers are ARA, Marriott and Creative Gourmet. This Friday, each of them will be invited for a "preliminary walk around," according to Maguire. By April 1, Maguire will submit to each of them a "full package" of what MIT requires.
"MIT will still be responsible for the quality of the food," Maguire said. The new plan will be a profit-loss contract, unlike this year's plan, which is a management-free contract. MIT will receive a percentage of the sales, and the caterer will have to take any losses.
The Institute will still be able to set the prices of the products. "We are mainly looking for quality," Maguire said. "The price value will be fair and we will pay particular attention to the marketing abilities of the different candidates."
Maguire formed a search committee in order to find the best bidders. It is comprised of three undergraduate students, one graduate student, three staff members, a faculty member, Maguire and John T. Mc Neill, associate director of food services.
Dickson said, "The most difficult part of the process is over." The completion of the plan was hindered by the variety of dormitories at MIT. "East Campus, with kitchens on every floor, cannot be treated the same way that Baker is," Maguire said. " Our driving principle is to try to maintain MIT's unique diversity."