ARA changes on the way
By Lakshmana Rao
A remodeled Networks restaurant opened its doors to the MIT community on Tuesday after more than two months of renovations. The renovations are one of several changes being made to campus dining facilities by ARA, MIT's food service contractor.
The restaurant is "designed to be an eating and a meeting place, and features an attractive menu and an informal atmosphere," according to What's Cookin', a new newsletter published by ARA.
Networks was closed on July 3 for renovations. The restaurant was originally slated to be renamed "Hackers' Haven." This was later shortened to "Hackers" until the decision was made to retain the original name late this summer.
According to Alan Leo, director of housing and food services, "a decision to revert back to the original name was made since we got a negative feedback from some people" about the proposed new name.
"We felt that it was only necessary to change the concept, and not the name. The prices of items are lower, the service is much quicker and the place is now so busy with students," he added. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 11 pm on weekdays and 5 pm to 11 pm on weekends.
Leo said that "many dining areas on campus will be undergoing alterations over the Independent Activities Period [in January] to accommodate some permanent features. We are working on having a full bake shop and a permanent stir fry area at Lobdell, as well as a built-in shop with refrigeration at the sandwich cart in the Infinite Corridor."
The Morss Hall dining facility in Walker Memorial will be renamed "Traditions," in an effort "to reflect the essence of Walker's continued emphasis on traditional menus and services," according to What's Cookin'. The service area will be restored to look like it did in 1916, when Walker first opened.
ARA will be supplying
Dunkin' Donuts doughnuts and coffee to all of its dining areas this year. "We are also planning to introduce yogurt from TCBY in our service areas. We are negotiating contracts with Pizza Ring, Taco Bell and Pizza Romano to facilitate the use of meal plan cards for late night orders with these caterers," Leo reported.
ARA will be conducting surveys throughout this year to determine the most desired menu items and future food service needs on campus. The data from these surveys will be used to develop a long-range plan to sell the right products at the places, prices and times that meet the Institute community's needs, according to What's Cookin'.
ARA unable to win
all Institute contracts
Although ARA was awarded the contract for student dining services, the company failed to get all of the catering contracts from the Institute. For the second consecutive year, ARA did not cater the picnic for new graduate students organized by the Graduate Student Council.
According to Ramnath Subramaniam G, chairman of the GSC orientation committee, "The contract was awarded to S&S Delicatessen because the quality of food offered by them was much superior, and we established very good working relations with S&S from last year."
"The caterer for the GSC orientation picnic is chosen by a special committee after inviting competitive bids from various caterers. It was a consensus decision of the committee this year that the quality of food and the service conditions offered by S&S was far superior than those provided by other caterers," Subramaniam added.
However, ARA did win the contract to cater the freshman picnic this year and receives many contracts from the Alumni office throughout the year, according to Leo.