Campus dining cards expanding to add additional venues

Students swiping their meal cards on the SUNY Buffalo State campus could soon be using their cards at a number of exciting new venues, according to Manny Lezama, Chartwells resident district manager.

New dining additions have sprung up recently, including Argo Tea in E.H. Butler Library, Choc-O-Late in the Technology Building and the partnership with Lloyd Food Truck in M Lot. These have added to Chartwells’ presence on campus and have been met with positive student feedback.

However, Lezama doesn’t see these as end goals.

“Our next destination is to focus on the demand for celiac, vegetarian and for students that are allergic,” Lezama said. “My intention is to create a destination for that group of individuals.”

He went on to say that student demand is driving this idea and that Chartwells tries its best to respond to student needs. Lezama said that Chartwells continues to work with the feedback it receives, specifically feedback from the USG meetings.

Another possible change on campus could take place after renovations are completed in the Houston Gym. Lezama said that there could be an opportunity to place a Subway in the area that currently has a Tim Hortons.

The timeline for such a project, if completed, is “in the next year or so.”

Lezama sees an opportunity for Chartwells to expand into an area not traditionally associated with the dining services company: personal care items.

He envisions a place where students can buy an array of toiletries and other items on campus without having to go to a drugstore or supermarket.

Chartwells also is looking at ways to expand options for students off campus.

Marissa Dinello, director of marketing, said that there are currently 11 venues off campus where students can use their meal cards.

The Buffalo State Dining website lists CVS, Subway and Feel Rite Fresh Market among those locations.

There have been discussions to expand the program to include other vendors, such as Wegmans and Tops. The goal is to allow students freedom of choice with their meal plans.

According to Dinello, the dining areas play a big part in convincing prospective students to come to Buffalo State. She said that changes must be responsive and competitive.

“When you’re living on campus the dining program is so important because you’re going to be living here, you’re going to be eating here everyday,” Dinello said. “It’s Chartwells’ initiative to keep up with the changes in food evolution and technology.”

One future improvement could be the addition of free-to-use iPads in the Spot Coffee line. Lezama said the inspiration for the idea came from an experience at an airport bar and could readily be transported to Buffalo State.

Dinello and Lezama also sought to clear up misconceptions among students regarding the newly purchased televisions featured above venues in the retail dining area.

They said that funding for the televisions did not come from tuition money, like many students believe, but from Chartwells’ own fund to improve the food stations and areas.

Out of every dollar that a student spends through the company, 11 cents is sent back to the college.

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