Progress Made on Campus DiningThe latest proposal for next year’s dining plan includes strictly voluntary participation and a greater degree of competition among on-campus venues.
“I think it’s a good plan,” said Jennifer M. Farver G, a member of the Campus Dining Board.
Campus Activities Complex Director Phillip J. Walsh said he thinks “people will be pleased with where things ended up.”
Under the latest proposal, “participation will be completely voluntary,” said Vikash K. Mansinghka ’04, another member of the board.
“Competition will be introduced by seeking more than one contractor, [effectively] dividing one existing Aramark into as many as three,” said Kirk D. Kolenbrander, chair of the Campus Dining Board. The current proposal was created by Campus Activities Complex Director Phillip J. Walsh and Director of Campus Dining Richard D. Berlin III, based on a set of recommendations released by the Campus Dining Board in December.
The board will incorporate recommendations from Walsh and Berlin into a new proposal, which will then be made available to the community and discussed at a town hall meeting in mid-February.
Aramark cuts evening hours
The board’s recommendations last December also included “[moving] toward operations that are financially self-sustaining,” Kolenbrander said. Aramark operations lost over $2 million during the 2001 fiscal year.
Accordingly, this term both Walker Memorial Dining Hall and Lobdell Food Court will close at 3 p.m., a drastic reduction of hours. Walker and Lobdell were “losing a lot of money,” Berlin said. He said Lobdell averaged between 50 and 70 patrons each evening, not nearly enough to make the food court profitable.
Both Courses, in the Student Center, and Pritchett, in Walker Memorial, will still be open during dinner hours. Walsh noted that an added benefit to closing Walker and Lobdell for dinner was the possibility of using the large spaces for other activities.
Arrow Street CrÊpes May Come to MIT
Arrow Street CrÊpes may be moving into the Toscanini’s Ice Cream store in the Student Center.
Brady C. Pisha, manager of the MIT Toscanini’s store, said that there had been negotiations but no official decision. Owner Gus Rancatore could not be reached for comment.
Vikash K. Mansinghka ’04, a member of the Campus Dining Board, said having Arrow Street CrÊpes on campus would be beneficial because it would provide “more breakfast and lunch options.”
Arrow Street CrÊpes serves both dessert crÊpes and meal-style crÊpes, with ingredients such as cheese and eggs. Representatives of Arrow Street CrÊpes could not be reached for comment.
Campus Activities Complex Director Phillip J. Walsh declined to comment specifically about Arrow Street CrÊpes, but did say “there have been very substantive discussions about ... ways to achieve our goals,” including promoting the well-being of current vendors while “[making] things more competitive.”
Walsh said the CAC and dining vendors involved in the negotiations were “close to having something people will be happy about.”
Tosci’s to stay out of Transitions
Last fall, Walsh said negotiations were underway concerning the possibility of moving Toscanini’s into the Transitions lounge abutting LaVerde’s.
Pisha said such a move will almost certainly not occur. Tosci’s requires a large supply of water, he said, and Transitions does not have any plumbing. Since the Student Center is “one big block of concrete, ... we’d have to rip up too much cement to make it cost-effective,” Pisha said.
“The Transitions space was never fully built to have plumbing,” Walsh said. “It becomes far more expensive” than originally imagined to relocate Toscanini’s.