Dining services in need of franchising

What is one of the hottest topics being tossed around Baxter Hall these days? It is something close to our hearts – and our stomachs. It is clear that there is a high level of dissatisfaction with the quality of the food served in the dining hall.

But for all you first years out there, take it from us seniors – we did not always have such a vast array of pizza boxes, take-out menus, or Pepperidge Farm cookies (purchased with dinner points) cluttering our common rooms. We used to eat many more meals in the dining hall with a lot less grumbling.

There was a time when one not merely wished for, but expected, a good meal at the dining hall.

Despite recent changes to the full board plan, such as unlimited entry from 7am to 2pm and late-night pizza, we find ourselves struggling to use even ten of our respective meals a week and spending more of our evening hours in the snack bar line trying to use points than we do studying.

While most people have resigned themselves to a life of Aunt Vickie’s Beef Brisket, spinach pancakes, and Hoppin’ John, we are here to offer a solution for all you poor, malnourished souls, which can be summed up in one word — franchising.

If you have ever visited a friend at another college or university you have probably noticed, as we have, that your friends can grab a Whopper on their way to class or sip a Frappuccino while studying their PoliSci, all without leaving the comforts of their very own dining hall. Shocking, you say? Well, it’s true, and it can happen here.

It’s hard to imagine walking into Baxter and seeing McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and various other fast-food staples of most college students’ diets, but it does happen in campuses around the United States and we feel that we should be afforded the same privilege here at Williams.

For those of you who turn your noses up at the mention of the words “fast food,” let us remind you that Williams’ dining halls have recently been ranked among the poorest in terms of both healthfulness and quality of the food served, while schools who have franchising as viable options to the regular dining hall food have consistently ranked higher than we have.

We realize that Williams is a small school, but it is not too small to prevent franchising.

Wherever there is a high demand, the fast food restaurants will come (did you know there is a McDonald’s in Siberia?) and clearly, because of the lackluster performance of the dining hall, there would be a great response to any kind of alternative to dining hall food or the snack bar, both of which are moderately to ridiculously overpriced.

To go along with the new franchising alternative, we advocate a “pay for what you get” system. Right now, it is simply absurd that while we pay $8.75 for dinner, way too much if one just eats pasta, we only get $4.95 compensation in the snack bar if we choose not to eat what is being served that evening which is, simply put, robbery. If we had franchising, we would only pay for what we purchased; a Whopper meal would cost $2.99, not $8.75.

This amount could be deducted from dinner points, snack bar points, and the like.

Not only would we not be wasting money by eating only what we wanted with our dining hall points, but we would also not be wasting nearly as much food as we do now because we would only buy what we wanted and know that it tastes good, rather than having to throw away endless amounts of Shepherd’s Pie because it was not quite as tasty as the kind our mommies make.

We realize that sometimes it is still possible to get a good meal in the dining halls (suggestion – more chicken tenders), so we are in no way advocating a replacement of the current system.

What we are suggesting is a supplement, an improved variety of options for us, the student body.

If dining services did not force all on-campus, non-co-op dwelling students to be on a meal plan, then we would not have this problem. But since they refuse to let us fend for ourselves for all of our meals, it is clear that we need a better variety of options, both in terms of the food and its price.

What better way to do this than through a variety of restaurants we have all come to know and love? And in the enduring words of Scarlett O’Hara, as God is our witness, if we have franchising at Williams, we’ll never be hungry again.

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