Imagine strolling through Kingsmen Park. It’s a beautiful sunny day on campus, and suddenly you become enveloped by the mouth-watering scent of freshly grilled burgers.
California Lutheran University is getting The Habit Burger Grill here on campus, opening in spring 2020. That’s right everyone, if you haven’t already heard then get excited, because coming soon is a place to get actual food on this campus. No more soggy Centrum Cafe burgers for these hungry college kids!
Well, let me shatter that dream for you, because The Habit Grill will not be accepting any form of meal plan in the first semester of operation.
Currently, students can use their meal plan at any food establishment on campus.
When I heard about The Habit being built, I was pumped to swipe my student ID and get a meal that was actually satisfying. Not surprisingly, most students I spoke to were aware of the construction of the new restaurant, but were unaware of their inability to use their pre-purchased plans.
“We already pay so much for meal plans, we can’t afford to be spending extra for dining options that are available on campus,” said Alina Marshall, a junior resident.
According to the Cal Lutheran website, the meal plans for students in standard residence halls range from $6,040-$6,510, and the cheapest commuter plan is still $300.
It is common for college campuses to have chain establishments on their grounds. According to the California Baptist University website, there is both The Habit Burger Grill and Chick-Fil-A on their campus. Both of these locations also accept meal swipes and their version of bonus dollars.
“I understand that it’s an independent restaurant, but why would the school let them on campus if they couldn’t reach an agreement on financials?” Marshall said.
This is just one example of the multitude of both private and public universities that have chain restaurants on their campus, with a majority of these schools allowing students to use pre-paid meal plans at any of these restaurants.
After hearing about the situation, some students even longed to stay in the Centrum Cafe days.
“Centrum wasn’t the greatest, but at least it was a different option than both Ullman Dining and To-Go, and as a commuter, Centrum was the main place I spent my bonus dollars,” said senior Logan Anderson.
When I am tired of bland Ullman To-Go sandwiches and dry chicken tenders from the dining hall, Centrum Cafe was my go-to place for dinner.
Although Centrum also sold burgers, you could get a variety of different entrees. For example there were flatbreads and taco salad bowls, and they would even do special dish nights occasionally. On top of the variety, students could use both meal swipes or bonus dollars to purchase food there.
According to an email from Associate Vice President of Facilities Ryan Van Ommeren to the Cal Lutheran community, The Habit Burger Grill will not be accepting meal plans in the spring, but meal plan options might be considered in fall 2020.
I think Cal Lutheran has failed its students by not allowing them to use their meal swipes at this new campus dining location right away.
This article was updated on September 18, 2019 to address erroneous information regarding Sodexo’s rating from the health department. The source claiming that Sodexo received an F rating from the health department was not referring to its health department rating, but to the quality of its food as reviewed by ‘Is it bad for you.com.’ While food services on the Cal Lutheran campus operated by Sodexo have been cited for health code violations by inspectors in the Ventura County Food Protection Program, the information as originally presented was incorrect and improperly attributed and thus has been removed.