Do students prefer to eat three meals a day in the Bean, prefer to gravitate around to one of the other several eating options on campus or prefer to avoid campus meal plans altogether in favor of self-service options?
There are students sitting in all three camps, and there are probably several who don’t have strong opinions on the subject. There are also many who float between the extremes, eating in different venues as the mood strikes them.
But what do students have to say about the quality of food available to us on campus? Particularly, we wanted to find out how different students evaluated the experience of eating in the Bean.
Kennedy Morrison, a sophomore social work major from Irving, was one student who had praise for the Bean. She cited the Bean’s many options, giving the salad bar as an example that “encourages me to eat better.” Compared to her perception of other schools’ offerings, Morrison was satisfied that the Bean places a good level of priority on student health, encouraging them to try a variety of different cuisines.
Logan Smith, a junior kinesiology major from Houston, has a seven-day meal plan and frequents the Bean though he also enjoys the Food Court’s offerings. He often purchases smoothies from the Oasis after exercising, and likes the library’s inclusion of a Starbucks. He called his current plan convenient.
“The variety (at the Bean) is desirable; I can get something different every time I eat there. It’s pretty easy to eat relatively healthy in the Bean, and the food has improved since we were freshmen.”
He also said it’s really generous of ACU to offer so many options for students.
Still, a number of students appreciate the convenience and variety of foods around campus.
Jacob Drake, a sophomore digital entertainment technology major from Pomaria, South Carolina, mainly eats at the Bean, but has a five-day plan. Pizza Hut or Quiznos are his usual stops, as they offer more convenience. He calls the Food Court offerings “something I can grab and go,” and he often prepares his own food while living in off-campus housing.
A few students added that food-serving staff members are not always particularly friendly to the students. Additionally, it was mentioned that the quality of options like Pizza Hut and Chick-Fil-A do not always measure up to their off-campus counterparts.
However, as somebody who has worked in the food and retail industry, I can also see the other side of these issues.
Many of my coworkers would agree with me that customers are not always considerate of the difficulties and stresses of working in food, particularly when guests’ needs and desires are pitted against the workers’ abilities to effectively carry out their other tasks. The job of a food worker is a delicate balance of customer service and obligation to an employer to effectively carry out many different tasks.
To summarize the responses we heard: generally, students appreciate and are happy with the quality and variety of foods offered on campus. The Bean offers numerous healthy options, while the Food Court has convenience to its credit.
While there were a few concerns over the servers’ behavior and the quality of the fast food options, the overall response was strongly positive.
It looks like our much-discussed Bean has stood up to the test of student scrutiny.