Our New-Look Cafeteria

The school year of 2017-18 has brought a few drastic changes to J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate, but none are as dramatic as the fully transformed cafeteria that greeted students in September.

The familiar kiosks were all closed while a side room was under construction. However, this side room was soon revealed to be the new café that would be serving students lunches from now on.

Traditionally, the lunches have been mainly prepared and served by our school’s hospitality students. They would volunteer lunch time to do this and spent classes doing prep work such as packing salads and making wraps.  J. Clarke Richardson decided to halt this practise.

Here is where the new cafeteria ‘café’ comes in. This new café is run by a catering service and serves a variety of menu items including, fries, poutine, soups, and a special of the day.

Pretty standard.

But it seems as if the students don’t find this new arrangement quite so agreeable as a recent sample survey indicated

Of the students surveyed, only 8.1% stated that they enjoyed the cafeteria food.  The remaining 91.9% of students either did not like the food offered or found it ‘Meh.’ These numbers clearly indicate that something is wrong with this new system. It isn’t providing the school community with food that the students like.

As a result, a high percentage of students do not purchase food from the café and may not be getting proper nourishment. Over 30% of students surveyed stated that they may just eat nothing for lunch.

So what do the students have to say? (as well as some teachers, don’t worry we got you too)

There is one major complaint: price.

Sixty per cent  of students surveyed indicated that the food is just too expensive and they simply cannot afford to purchase lunch on multiple days per week. For most non-working students, the amount of money required to buy a full meal every day is impossible.

As one student put it, “Lower the prices please, oh god, my wallet is screaming.” Very astute.

Another popular issue being brought up is the lack of menu options. Many students have commented on the limited choices available for both vegetarians and there are virtually no Halal options.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like eating a chicken burger every day,” one Muslim student told me when I asked why she didn’t purchase her lunches at the cafeteria. She mentioned that in the past, there had been many more options that she could choose from.

Another complaint focused on the line that seems to stretch for miles. The wait is simply too long for most students. The already short lunch is cut even shorter due to the long wait. It doesn’t seem like the fairest trade off.

Of students who do purchase lunch on a regular basis, the leading reason as to why is its convenience. It makes sense, considering our previously 50-minute break has been cut to just 40 minutes.  The feat of being able to get to Tims (without a car) and back seems quite commendable and heroic.

So what does our new café have going for it?

It’s appearance. People seem to really enjoy the more shop-like demeanor it has.

In conclusion, the school body is dissatisfied with the new cafeteria as a whole. This widespread dissatisfaction is one that should be addressed.

I leave you now with some student quotes:

“Get rid of the extremely overpriced catering, and actually provide some proper food.”  (Grade 11 student)

 “1. Bring down price, we’re all broke. 2. Have fresh food. 3. Change the menu!”  (Grade 12 student)

“Lower your prices (I spend too much money on this okay food.)”  (Grade 10 student)

And the most popular: “Bring the old caf back!” From all grades (except 9 for obvious reasons).

It is unclear how these problems may be resolved, but it is evident that changes should be made. As students, we have the right to be heard and this is what we are saying.