Ah Lunch. One of the most favorite time for students and faculty members of Las Positas. A chance for students to take a break from their hectic schedule to dine and socialize with their friends at the cafeteria. It’s one of the most popular hotspots on campus. But wait what happened to the cafeteria students knew and loved? As returning students enter the cafeteria, they are met with bewilderment.
Aside from the total layout makeover of the place, students were left scratching their heads. The Asian food stall has been replaced with a Mexican burrito bar, an unfamiliar menu with higher prices is shown, a staff with unfamiliar faces sans one, a pizzeria that cooks fresh pizza instead of an already prepared tray, a 3-dollar purchase is not required for card payment and finally, the receipt no longer says ‘Fresh N Natural’ but ‘Pacific Dining.’ But why?
As a public school, Las Positas sends out bids to catering companies to provide services to the campus cafeteria. In the spring of 2019, Las Positas issued a bid and two companies adhered the calling; Fresh N Natural, the then current caterers and a new company, Pacific dinners. Both companies sent out their letter of intent as well as their resume of food items to the committee discussing the catering provider.
“They were scored on different criteria, like the strength of the company, what would be on the menu, and what the prices were,” said Diane Brady, Vice President of Administration Services of Las Positas. “We had a committee of about four people to decide which of the two companies would better meet the needs, and price of the item was one of the criteria. And so, both Fresh N Natural and Pacific Dining submitted their proposals, but Pacific Dining scored higher.”
With the win of the bid, Las Positas parted ways with Fresh N Natural after four years of partnership, and Pacific Dining, a company founded in 1989 in Silicon Valley, started with corporate food service management before growing to including catering for government corporation and colleges, began starting cafeteria changes during the summer break.
“We try to provide and present the best food as possible,” said Lalo Apolinar, the new manager of the campus cafeteria regarding the company’s mission for Las Positas. “The first week was extremely hectic, I was happy to see new faces and I’m happy to provide a different kind of service the students were used to.”
However, the new cafeteria has been met with a mixed-reviews with predominantly negative remarks, stemming from the more expensive menu and lack of multiple, diverse cuisine as well as lack of cafeteria microwaves and a policy that students are unfamiliar with compared to last semester.
“I especially don’t like the price change on the foods. It’s just too expensive and frankly just not worth it. Sure the food is average and it’s tasty but overall there is no way this will end well, so many students simply walk in and walk out, “said Alexis Holmes, a former women’s basketball team player. “It’s already enough to pay for much for this school so I decide to bring food from home here, however the loss of one of the microwaves, making us pay extra for utensils and such is just another inconvenience. “
On the other hand, the new cafeteria has also gained appraisal for their menu plans. Offering a meal deal including a total of food with drinks, special meal of the days and a weekly menu offer.
“It’s different and unique. Its absolutely something special. It has a lot of new options I absolutely love and it gives a greater variety of food,” said Shahaf Dan, a member of the student government and Director of events. “
Changes can be hard and daunting for some; especially when the consumers were so attached to the things, places and people we knew. Yet as the school is going through drastic changes the cafeteria cannot resist the change.