After five months of waiting for the reintroduction of the round-shaped breakfast food to VCU’s meal plan, students who were originally told Einstein Bros. Bagels would open in the fall of 2010 were still thrilled despite the delay.
With the opening of the breakfast food chain, students once again anticipated having a delicious bagel breakfast courtesy of the Meal Exchange Program.
“Alpine used to swipe in the morning when it’s breakfast time,” said sophomore Ekta Patel. “I’d rather have swipes during breakfast time than during dinner time.”
However, Einstein Bros. Bagels do not accept swipes in the morning. Dining Sales and Services manager Tamara Highsmith explained that swipes are not offered at Einstein Bros. Bagels in the morning to allow customers paying with cash or credit to purchase a bagel at that time as well.
Highsmith added that only 25 percent of VCU students have a meal plan, so Dining Services must find a way to meet the needs of all students.
“We’ve seen it at Quiznos and we see it at Nao and Zen,” said Dan McDonald, assistant director of Business Services. “During those swipe periods, the line gets so long that if I’m one of those 75 percent of folks that want to make a purchase, I can’t or I won’t because the line is so long.”
Although swipes encourage more people with meal plans to participate in the Meal Exchange Program, students with cash or meal plans flock to VCU dining areas at fairly normal meal times, and students with meal plans are demanding more choices.
For breakfast, VCU offers the Meal Exchange Program at Subway and Pizza Hut. Shafer also offers breakfast, but many students prefer the ease of grabbing breakfast at Market 810-2-Go.
“I think the food at Einstein is much better than Subway breakfast,” said freshman Janie Milliron. “It’s just personal preference I would say.”
The prospects of adding Einstein Bagels to the morning Meal Exchange Program may be grim, but the future of breakfast at VCU is a bright one.
“We are looking at whether it would be too competitive with Einstein to bring a bagel product into Market 810-2-Go that students could use a block at that location,” Highsmith said. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to happen or not, but we’re looking into it.”
VCU also plans to add more breakfast options for students next semester with IHOP, Raising Cane’s and Croutons. Each of these food outlets will be included in the Meal Exchange Program that allows students to use swipes at certain times of the day.
As for the future plans for VCU dining, Highsmith said, “We are just encouraged and excited about the upcoming locations and the increased flexibility for students to continue to use dining plans in our new locations.”