Buffet offers choices

The University Dining Services has made several changes this year, including an all-you-can-eat buffet at Commons Dining Center.

Dining Services made this addition after surveying students last spring. They received feedback from students saying they would like this option available on campus.

“With their recommendation we decided to do this in Commons because it was the easiest facility to turn into an all-you-can-eat dining hall,” Perry Franketti, Commons manager, said.

The buffet is available Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner. The cost is $6.95 for lunch and $7.95 for dinner. Commons’ menu has been re-worked, but with a similar service as last year.

“Instead of an eight-week cycle menu, which is what we had last year, this year we’ve gone to four-week seasonal menus.

Depending on the time of year, you’ll see more grill items in fall and spring, and more casserole items in the cooler months,” Franketti said. “We’re on our summer menu cycle right now. That’ll run through the beginning of October, then we’ll go to our fall menu.”

Dining Services determined buffet prices after checking costs other menus. They researched how much value meals are in Bowling Green, and the past check averages at Commons.

Commons is evaluating their sales and costs to determine how much the buffet will hurt or help the University. Right now they are making the same revenue, with less labor. Two full time employees were cut, and less student employees are on payroll since Commons no longer serves breakfast.

Overall, the buffet seems to have mixed reviews from students. Julie Thibault, sophomore, liked the buffet idea but thought the food selection could have been better.

“My overall opinion was that I can see the benefit for some people, but I prefer regular dining. I noticed that there was not a large variety of vegetarian foods,” Thibault said. “While I’m not a vegetarian, I did not like the fact that practically everything hot was covered in breaded coating. This was not appetizing to me.”

Although Thibault was unhappy with the food selection, she said she did like the service.

“The staff was nice, the lady at the cash register took time to explain the process to me and my friends, but I would have liked to have seen paper cups so I could have at least taken a drink with me for my $8,” Thibault said.

David Schlicher, sophomore, had similar thoughts about the food selection.

“The buffet is a good idea, but maybe they need to get some more options at the salad bar,” Schlicher said.

According to Franketti, however, the buffet has benefited students in that it allows them budget their money and eat as much as they like.

“Students have loved it. We have a lot of repeat business. They don’t ever walk out of my facility hungry. This has been great for the athletic department because they’re encouraging their athletes to eat at this facility, because they can get a full meal at a good rate,” Franketti said.

“We’re calling the Commons buffet a test run. If it is successful, we’d open it up to another facility, if we feel it warrants another facility. One option would be the towers end of McDonald Hall.

Dining Services plans to make more additions to keep students happy.

“We’ve added the all-you-can-eat, and we’re planning on adding a Subway early spring semester. So we’ve taken some things away through flex funds, but added some. And the Subway won’t be limited to flex funds,” Franketti said. “We’re trying to include some of those services at the dining halls.”