Currently, students must trek to the corners of East and West campus to use their meal plan swipes. For greater convenience and use, Tech should look to expand where meal swipes can be used to include the food court, thus giving the students greater options and “bang for their buck.”
In the most basic sense, this additional option would add convenience to busy students who only have an hour break between classes for lunch/dinner. By offering dining hall equivalent meals in a central location, students will have more time to eat and enjoy their breaks, rather than having to rush from end-to-end of campus.
This expansion would also create more variability in meal options. In our experience, by the end of first semester, eating only at the three current dining halls can become both redundant and off putting. But, the other option of paying for every quick meal between classes can become extremely expensive, extremely fast.
Adding meal swipes in the Food Court would also add greater worth to meal plans, especially for freshman. The high percentage of freshman who live on-campus are required to purchase a meal plan, many of which are priced in the thousands of dollars. Currently, if they chose to go to the food court, these students would have to spend extra money for their food. Adding meal blocks would create more incentive for all students to visit the Food Court.
Last, the retail prices across the three dining halls are fixed for each meal. If the meal plan options were changed, Tech could carry that fixed-price through to the food court locations. That way, no matter where a student purchases their meal, they will all be paying an equal amount, which would add even more convenience to meal plan options.
By increasing the options to include the food court locations, meal plans will be more accessible for students.