Editorial: Rider considers new food provider

After 10 years together, Rider University’s contract with food service provider Aramark is about to run out. The university can either stick with Aramark or bring in another vendor to give students more of a range in their everyday meals.

Between Daly’s and Cranberry’s, students on campus prefer to eat at Cranberry’s, even though the food at both locations is from Aramark. If Rider decides to keep Aramark, it should consider making changes to Daly’s to better satisfy students, or make sure that the new food service provider can give us something Aramark can’t. There are several reasons why students prefer one over the other, but the main gripe is variety. Students are fine with the food, but just need more choices.

The first step to take at Daly’s would be to look at what foods students eat the most of and what students avoid. For example, chicken nuggets, cheeseburger wraps and Mongolian Grill are popular choices. The university should look into ordering more of these options. Having dishes that many students don’t look at twice, such as creamed spinach or sweet-and-sour tofu, isn’t really helpful for those looking for variety in their meals. For healthy foods, a yogurt bar has been suggested, or even something as basic as offering different fruits besides the apples and bananas that are available every day.

What makes Cranberry’s work so well is the fact that students can order whatever food they want, and it is prepared right then and there for them. Nothing is left sitting out for hours at a time, and everyone gets exactly what he or she wants. At Daly’s, there are a few permanent offerings: cereal, salad, sandwiches, cheeseburgers, pizza and some sort of French fries.  Besides that, students will search for something that they might enjoy, circling all of the stations and looking at everything there is. Otherwise, they will have to settle for a slice of pizza and some fries, the same meal they may have had two days before.

Rider is comparing eight vendors — seven new companies and Aramark — to see what would be the best fit for the school. First, all eight will come up with proposals about what they want to bring to Rider if selected. Then, that group will be narrowed down to two or three, and that final group will come up with meal plans, a sample of their food and a new design for Daly’s.

The deadline to establish a food provider is July 1. If Aramark wants to be brought back on, it will have to develop new menus that will catch students’ interest, and offer a greater assortment of food as well. Students are tired of having the same thing offered every day, week after week.

Rider’s concerns with the food service company it eventually chooses will be keeping students satisfied with their dining hall, as well as the cost of the program. Depending on what is picked for next year, the cost we pay for our food may or may not increase, and that’s definitely a factor.

Rider still has time to make its decision. This is no matter to be taken lightly. But Rider has made it a point to listen to what students say that they want through various surveys. We can rest assured that Rider is going through all of its options and considering student desires before picking someone to serve us our meals next year.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.

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