ISU Dining Service Policy
The Iowa State University Dining Service is taking advantage of ISU students’
meal plans. What happens when students can’t make a meal? The students are penalized!
Students who purchase meal plans and are not able to make a specific meal are currently
losing that meal and thus losing money. Changing the dining policy to allow students to
use their meals at any time during the week would benefit the students eating habits and
allow students to eat at any time without losing meals or money. All of these adjustments
can be done with minimal change and cost.
The ISU Dining Services begins with students purchasing one of the five
Plan Number of Meals Price
A 20 BLD Mon- $989
Sat; BL Sun
B 15 BLD Mon- $952
C 12 LD Mon-Sat $965
D 10 LD Mon-Fri $921
K 5 Either B,Lor $465
B-Breakfast; L-Lunch; D-Dinner (Figure 2.84)
The dining service also has a policy for snack meals. For breakfast, Monday - Friday,
students can pack a bag with breakfast. For noon or evening meals, every day of the
week, they can pack a brown bag with a choice of cold sandwiches, salads, chips, fruits,
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vegetables and a few other choices. The students must go to the dining services before
9:30 on the day of the meal they are going to miss and pack this bag.
Students are only allowed to eat the specified meals for each plan. When the
student cannot make a meal they lose that meal. Each time a student eats one of their
meals; their ISU card is swiped. The computer then subtracts off that exact meal from
your account. This process prevents students from eating twice. For example, when a
student eats lunch on Wednesday and has their card swiped, the computer reads that this
student ate Wednesday's lunch and will not allow them to eat again until the next meal
they are allowed to eat.
The prices of the meal plans are figured by considering food costs, labor, supplies
and a percentage of missed meals by students. (3) The service also determines the
amount of food to prepare by observing the food consumption. The food service
managers observe food consumption of the previous eight weeks to determine the amount
of food to prepare each week.(2) Currently each student also receives 50 Dining Dollars
to their ISU card account. The $50 can be used at any ISU C-Store or be used to
purchase an extra meal for a friend.
The Iowa State University Dining Service policy should be changed. Students
should be able to utilize all meal they purchase. Each plan should consist of a certain
number of meals. This number can correspond to the current amount of meals as stated
above in the chart (Figure 2.84). Students should not be limited to specific times or
meals to be used. This problem is supposedly addressed in the current plan, although it
isn't a worthy solution. Students do have the option of pre-packing a bag for a meal that
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they are going to miss. This is not a substitute for a hot meal. Students have to eat a
sandwich and do not have the option of three choices like normal dining service does.
Students have to know ahead of time that they will miss one of the day's meals. Also,
students have to get the sack meal before 9:30 that day, which adds to the problem of
having early classes during that time. The major problem with sack meals is that students
find it easier and tastier to buy a quick meal from the Memorial Union food services than
to plan ahead and carry around a dry cold sandwich in a brown paper bag all day.
This policy will not require any change in the students' ISU cards. The computer
will read the current student cards. The computer system will have to be changed slightly.
It will read only the total number of meals each student has and has used. For example, a
student who has a 12 meals per week plan eats lunch on Monday. One meal is then
subtracted from the student's account. The student will then be allowed to eat 11 more
time that week, at his or her discretion, not the Dining Service's. Although, after each
week the students meal plan will be cleared and the meals for next week will be
activated. This will allow students who have not used their meals for that week to go to
the cafeteria and utilize the snack meal policy. Possibly they would like to get juice or
chips for their room. Whatever they choose, they paid for that meal. Each student will
still receive fifty Dining Dollars, which can be used exactly the way they are currently
being used. The amount of food produced will not be affected in this change. The eight-
week observation interval will work just the same. The prices of each meal plan will
have to be raised by a five-dollar amount to reflect the costs of students utilizing more of
their meals. The Dining Service employees’ responsibilities will only change slightly.
The employee who swipes each students card will need to look at the picture to see if it is
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the student using the card. This policy is simple and taken for granted currently. This
will eliminate students, family, friends or any other person who does not have a meal
plan from eating on a current meal plan owner’s card with the discounted student rate that
ISU students receive. These people can still eat, but must purchase a meal by using the
friends Dining Dollars or by cash.
This policy will benefit the students and ease the complications of the computer
system. It will not cause loss to the university only cause adjustments by employees.
Under this policy students will be able to utilize their meal plans. They will not be
paying for meals they aren’t able to use. Students’ schedules vary tremendously and this
plan will give them a better opportunity to get in a healthy meal and make the most of
their money spent on food service.
The dining service computer system will need to be reprogrammed to only read
total amount of meals used. This will not be a complicated change, since the program
actually does that now. ISU dining service will not lose any profits. If each meal plan is
increased by $5 the service will bring in more than enough revenue to make up for the
missed meals that were figured in with the other plan, and the costs of changing the
The ISU dining service policy should be changed. The first step in changing this
policy will be to have this policy approved by the various student and faculty
organizations around campus. New policies have to be approved by the Government of
Student Body and the Dining Service officials. The next step will be to change the
computer system, notify all managers, employees, and students of the change with simple
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memos. These actions are a great start to a simple change that will give students a fair
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