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HFS bringing changes to UW dining

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Local Point

Housing & Food Services is rolling out changes for next year's residential dining plan holders. The changes include free drinks at the dining halls and extended hours.

In response to student needs, UW Housing & Food Services (HFS) has decided to roll out some major changes to its dining halls in the 2016-17 school year.

The changes are centered on tailoring the dining halls and food services to better fit the needs of more students.

One of the biggest changes is increased hours of operation. Both Local Point, located in Lander Hall, and The 8, in McMahon Hall, will be open until 1 a.m. By adding several additional hours of service, HFS hopes to make the dining halls more convenient for students. 

“This is in response to what some other schools have done,” dining director Gary Goldberg said. “We look at it as a safe haven for students who want to study or hangout. The dining halls have a lot of seating. [Students] don’t have to eat or drink, but if they want to they can. It’s a place to socialize as well.”

In response to student comments, HFS has decided to take a more traditional, all-you-can-eat approach to beverages. Starting next year, all drinks will be free in the dining halls for students with meal plans. 

“If you’re there and you want to get a soft drink, you want to get a juice, or a milk, we are making provisions for you to do that at our expense,” Goldberg said. “We think it’s a nice value for students to have.”

According to HFS, the cost of the free drinks will not be added to the prices of food. HFS hopes to counteract the lowered revenue by increasing efficiency and making better purchases. 

“It’s going to cost us a certain amount of money, but we are going to absorb that,” Goldberg said. 

Due to cost increases, such as a higher minimum wage, the cost of food for students will be going up by 5 percent. The total cost increase to HFS will be around 7.9 percent, but according to HFS, the remaining 2.9 percent will be recovered by changing temporary worker positions into student positions, among other measures to increase efficiency.

HFS is also rolling out a new “Husky Meal” value meal. Every location in the dining halls will have some type of a meal bundle. These bundles will include wholesome full-course meals, priced with value in mind. 

According to Goldberg, these meals will be priced 10 percent lower than a similar meal found off campus.

“You don’t have to choose these meals, but when you do there is a little extra value,” Goldberg said. 

HFS is looking to update the UW dining services as technology and student needs evolve. According to Goldberg, HFS is considering a loyalty program in the future, which would track student purchases across campus and provide rewards. The technology is not currently in place to track purchases in this manner, so the project is still in its early stages. 

“We hope that these [changes] will be well received,” Goldberg said. “If the students find more value in it, to us that is the only measure that matters.”

 

Reach reporter Spencer Kelty at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @spencer_kelty 

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