BY SHAFAQ PARWEZ
It is not unusual to find that most students end up perplexed every time they feel hungry at Conestoga. While some said they did not know of any healthy food options on campus, others were concerned about the food choices available at school. Some were not even sure how many cafes are on campus.
There are many questions unanswered when it comes to Chartwells, the food provider at all Conestoga campuses. The company is part of Compass Group Canada which has its headquarters in the UK.
There is a variety of food options available at Doon in connection with Chartwells. Pizza Pizza and Subway are two of the most popular destinations since they have quick service and better food portions. However, there is a variety of reasons why students don’t eat on campus.
It is difficult for halal food consumers to know what they can eat because there is no signage indicating what conforms to the Muslim faith. Halal food is meat which is prepared according to Muslim law and pertains to the cutting of poultry, cows and goats through the jugular vein.
Another reason some students don’t dine on campus is the price.
Jennifer Bruder, manager of Chartwells at Conestoga College, said the prices offered here on campus are similar to those in the grocery store. She said the price difference is not large and students are getting a good variety and healthy mix of food at good prices.
“The big breakfast is $5 and you can get an entrée for $8.99 which is made to order. We would like to think that we are in line with the marketplace.”
Chartwells offers a lot of promotions such as OneCard Wednesday where students get 10 per cent off of non-branded items.
Bruder said there are all kinds of promotions happening at Chartwells but there is a lack of awareness.
When asked about healthy options available on campus, Bruder said Chartwells offers entrée salads, fruits and greens at grocery store prices, but students are not opting to eat healthier.
The company is trying to promote healthy eating and has changed its motto to “Where Hungry Minds Gather.” Some new additions include muscle milk and high-protein bars. There is also a large variety of salads available in The Venue.
“You are getting to choose healthy options but quite frankly, we’re not finding it busy,” Bruder said.
Another reservation on part of some students was they were required to pay for the cutlery. The company maintains cutlery charges are included if students are dining in.
Bruder said one of the biggest challenges for the company is the location of the main cafeteria. This is the main reason for the lack of awareness about promotions.
“We want to be engaged with the students but we are located in the basement and it’s not a high-volume area. We are on the Monday bulletin board and we do a lot of posters,” said Bruder.
To be engaged in constant dialogue with their consumers, the company has a “Be heard’ section on their website. They also provide full-time and part-time employment opportunities to students and alumni.