A Cafeteria to Think About

More often than not, cafeteria food at most colleges do not warrant serious thinking over from students, faculty or staff. Bronx Community College’s new food service contractor Healthy Choices has made B.C.C.’s cafeteria food for thought.

Healthy Choices has chosen Au Bon Pain to cater to all those who visit the college and are looking to grab something to eat. With over 50 locations in the state of New York, it is well known and liked by most state residents. In actuality, its inclusion as the vendor left some surprised in delight.

Miguel A. Gil, a tutor at the B.C.C. writing center, recalled stating, in shock, “Oh really? I have to stop by there,” right after he was informed about Au Bon Pain’s arrival by a coworker who finished wolfing down one of its iced cinnamon roll.

Into the bargain, it has the experience of servicing educational institutions, including Auburn University, Hofstra University and Rutgers University. Those who have visited the new cafeteria have noticed, as they compare it to the old one.

“Their customer service is good so far. Their employees look friendlier to me, and they appear to have higher levels of hygiene in the area where they sell the food,” shared Jose L. Reyes, another staff member at the college who experienced both Au Bon Pain and the cafeteria’s previous vendor.

Previous Cafeteria, Now Closed

CulinArt was the college’s food service contractor for the previous 18 years until the end of this past February. Because Healthy Choices was the new food service contractor, employees who worked the old cafeteria did not have to be reappointed since they were not B.C.C. employees but rather CulinArt employees. On that account, they were not, and, on March 1st, they protested a few feet away from the cafeteria for reappointment.

The protest was not successful, for they had no grounds. Muhammad Jalloh, a writer for B.C.C.’s newspaper, The Communicator, reported that, “… calls for bids for operating the cafeteria went out at the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester, but that CulinArt … made it known that it was not interested in placing a bid, which, if won, would have made it possible for it to renew its contract to continue offering food catering services to the college community.”

Still, the former employees will not be missed a lot. Over their years at the cafeteria, many accumulated the reputation as hostile towards customers. Carmen Ovalle, who was one CulinArt’s employees and worked as a cashier at the cafeteria for 15 years, was one of the few exceptions.

Echoing Reyes’s sentiment, Au Bon Pain’s employees display a far greater pleasant manner.  To boot, the menu is more favorable as well.

Au Bon Pain has offered the college community most of what could be found at any of its larger franchise locations, including the popular variety of soups and baked goods.

The cafeteria’s area is compact as of right now, as construction to expand the cafeteria to an even larger size than CulinArt’s.

Overall, the Au Bon Pain has given all those on campus with growling stomachs something to think over.


This entry was posted in Food. Bookmark the permalink.