Bringing back Marketplace

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September 8, 2014

11:41 PM

Last week, the Department of Auxiliary Services announced that Marketplace — one of the College of William and Mary’s three major dining halls — would return to the meal swipe system Friday, Sept. 5.

Since the school year began, students have funneled primarily into the Sadler Center and the Commons Dining Hall for their meals, as Marketplace only accepted Express and Dining Dollars.

The move to just two dining halls accepting meal swipes — as opposed to three in previous years — was the source of blame for long lines, both to get into the buildings and at various stations within the dining halls. For many students, the lines proved overwhelming and time-consuming.

“I only have an hour between classes,” Eric Hinkle ’16 said. “I don’t want to spend 20 minutes waiting in line.”

Auxiliary Services received a number of complaints, coming in the form of Text N Tell messages and responses through the feedback link on their website and through emails. Two frequent complaints were the long lines at the other dining halls and the absence of Chick-fil-A, which operated at Marketplace until this academic year.

Partly in response to the comments, Dining Services reinstated meal swipes at Marketplace and created a grilled chicken sandwich option at their grill station.

“We’ve definitely heard the students,” Director of Auxiliary Services Cindy Glavas said.

After meal swipes became an option at Marketplace again Friday, the dining hall saw a marked increase in patronization, Glavas said. Despite the dining hall closing at 2 p.m., over 500 students came in for meals. Glavas said she hopes this is an indication for the rest of the year.

“We were happy to see that traffic. We’ll continue to monitor it,” Glavas said.

The reinstatement of meal swipes is not the only change to come to Marketplace. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 9, Marketplace will also serve Qdoba during lunch and dinner time, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Qdoba will be purchasable with Dining Dollars and Express, as well as cash and credit.

Students wishing to use meal swipes at Marketplace will be able to get fare from the “Simply to Go” area, the grill, and the sandwich station. While the payment method options have increased, some students said the food itself remains more limited than it was last year. There is no meal swipe option for Mexican food, pizza, or pasta.

“[The meal options are] not back to where [they] should be,” Hinkle said. “It’s not a perfect solution.”

Hinkle is not the only student who feels that Marketplace still does not have enough options. Octavia Goodman ’16 said she predicts students will not visit Marketplace as often because it is out of the way of many of their classes, and because it no longer offers a Mexican food station or Chick-fil-A.

“People aren’t going to walk all the way over there for a sandwich and a burger,” Goodman said.

Although the dining system has been through quite a few changes in this relatively short period of time, Glavas said Auxiliary Services will continue to listen and respond to students’ feedback. She hopes that the meal swipe option will increase student traffic at Marketplace for the remainder of the year.

“Marketplace is a valid part of the dining program,” Glavas said. “Hopefully, [students will] see it as a valuable part of the dining experience.”

The reinstatement of meal swipes is not the only change to come to Marketplace. Starting yesterday Marketplace will also serve Qdoba during lunch and dinner time, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Qdoba will be purchasable with Dining Dollars and Express, as well as cash and credit.

Students wishing to use meal swipes at Marketplace will be able to get fare from the “Simply to Go” area, the grill and the sandwich station. While the payment method options have increased, some students said the food itself remains more limited than it was last year. There is no meal swipe option for Mexican food, pizza or pasta.

“[The meal options are] not back to where [they] should be,” Hinkle said. “It’s not a perfect solution.”

Hinkle is not the only student who feels that Marketplace still does not have enough options. Octavia Goodman ’16 said she predicts students will not visit Marketplace as often because it is out of the way of many of their classes, and because it no longer offers a Mexican food station or Chick-fil-A.

“People aren’t going to walk all the way over there for a sandwich and a burger,” Goodman said.

Although the dining system has been through quite a few changes in this relatively short period of time, Glavas said Auxiliary Services will continue to listen and respond to students’ feedback. She said she hopes that the meal swipe option will increase student traffic at Marketplace for the remainder of the year.

“Marketplace is a valid part of the dining program,” Glavas said. “Hopefully, [students will] see it as a valuable part of the dining experience.”

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  • Eleanor Lamb

Senior Staff Writer Eleanor Lamb '16 is an English Major. She previously served as Associate News Editor.

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