Along with all of the recent changes to campus dining options, student meals may also include some unexpected costs. Customers at Summerfields and WesWings will now notice small fees for items that used to be free perks.
At Summerfields, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream were previously set out for customers to scoop themselves, but they are now only available in pre-portioned cups from behind the counter. The newly organized menu requires customers to purchase the condiments as sides if their meal does not include them.
Nicki Softness ’14 said she was angry about the changes because other dining spots like Usdan still offer condiments for free for the same meal swipe.
“I’m using a meal swipe just like Usdan, and you get unlimited toppings at Usdan,” she said. “I understand Summerfields is a different experience, but toppings should still be free. I’m paying the same amount for much less food. Why charge for a tiny thing of guacamole when people grab entire bowlfuls at Usdan?”
While some students were displeased with the changes, others remain unconcerned.
“I didn’t even realize that they’re charging for the condiments. I just went up and took some,” said Jon Lubeck ’14.
However, the inclusion of these condiments on the “sides” menu will not affect those ordering from the new Taqueria menu, as they are included along with Taqueria entrees for no extra charge.
“There is a side option where people can purchase a side of guacamole, sour cream, salsas, and this comes in a three and a half ounce container,” said Bon Appétit Resident District Manager Michael Strumpf. “If anyone who orders from the Taqueria menu wants extra guacamole, extra salsa, extra sour cream, we dispense that in a one ounce portion. The three and a half ounce serving is [more expensive], and that’s meant for someone who wants a good amount.”
According to Strumpf, the decision to include the condiments as a side option was largely financial.
“Sour cream and guacamole are not cheap,” he said. “Guacamole is not cheap to make, it’s labor intensive and avocados are expensive, so that’s why we do upcharge for the three and a half-ounce size. But anybody who wants extra, all they have to do is come up and they can get [the one ounce portion] without charge.”
By removing the self-serve condiment bowls, Bon Appetit hopes to cut down on waste.
“We’re just trying to control [the distribution of guacamole, salsa, and sour cream], whereas last year it was self-serve and there was a lot of waste and abuse,” Strumpf said.
Co-owners of WesWings Ed Thorndike ’89 and Karen Kaffen cited a similar concern about wastefulness as the motivation behind the restaurant’s 25 cent charge for plastic water cups. The charge was originally implemented after spring break last March.
“We were probably going through upwards of 1000 plastic cups a day because people would take multiple cups at a time and sometimes not even use them,” Thorndike said. “[They’d] fill them, leave them on the condiment stand or they’d leave them on tables. It just seemed to be very wasteful and expensive for free water.”
The owners said that though the policy hasn’t seem to encourage more customers to use refillable water bottles as they had hoped, it has reduced the amount of waste.
“People think twice before they take three or four cups,” Kaffen said. “They think ‘do I really want a water cup?’ and I’ll see people re-using water cups, which is good as well.”
Some students expressed annoyance with the new fee, and offered suggestions for alternative solutions.
“They should either get real glasses, or my friend had this idea where you buy your plastic cup and you write your name on it and pin it up to the bulletin board, and then take it down the next time you go there,” said Noah Rush ’14. “People may not necessarily carry water bottles around with them and they might just decide to go to WesWings.”
Thorndike said that WesWings did not add the water cup fee for financial reasons.
“Some people get the impression that we did this to make money, and we didn’t,” he said. “We don’t charge for to-go containers, we don’t charge if you needed extra dressing. We’re very willing to give.”
Photo by: Andy Ribner/Photo Editor