Benjamin Krimmel: Make J Street all-you-can-eat

Campus dining officials seem more worried about promoting J Street’s Metro Diner via social media than actually making improvements to its food options.

Clogging a student’s Twitter feed with photos of scrambled eggs and french fries might be a decent way to momentarily steal some attention, but pictures of expensive food won’t increase satisfaction with J Street. And it won’t make the food any cheaper.

Until J Street finds a way to differentiate itself from other venues on and near campus, it will continue to struggle.

Give students an “all-you-can-eat” meal plan so they can load up on as much food as they want without draining their GWorld money.

J Street is caught in a vicious cycle: It has to fight to compete with local grocery stores, restaurants and food trucks. But unless it offers something the rest of the venues can’t – like more food for the same price – students will continue to bypass it.

Allowing students to pay per meal as opposed to paying by the weight of their plates would make J Street a more affordable º– and thus more attractive – dining option.

J Street could adopt Boston University’s model, which offers an “all-you-can-eat” meal plan, in addition to dollars similar to Colonial Cash, in which points can be used at various restaurants on and off campus.

There’s already evidence to suggest this kind of meal plan would be popular here. The Annual Freshman Feast, an all-you-can-eat special at J Street, has been extremely popular with students over the years and could be used as a blueprint for a new plan. Approximately 900 students attended the event last year, a record turnout, The Hatchet reported Sept. 17.

Last year’s dramatic dining overhaul swapped out the majority of venues and physically transformed the dining hall, but it failed to actually increase sales.

But if students felt they were getting more food for the same price, they might reconsider stopping at Whole Foods Market after class and instead fill their plates at J Street.

In the food and restaurant industry, reputation matters. The bad taste left in students’ mouths from an expensive and sub par dining experience will not go away unless you give it a reason to.

Benjamin Krimmel, a junior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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