This term, Sayles Café has introduced two new components: snack packs that can be bought with dining dollars or Schillers, and the GET app, which can be used to order food online for pickup at Sayles. The app can also be used to access all OneCard information, such as meal swipes and dining dollar balances.
Katie McKenna, Dining Services manager, said the snack packs were created to supplement the meals of students on campus over winter break, as well as those in quarantine or isolation. The packs are also intended to limit the need for students to travel off campus to the grocery store.
If in quarantine, students can still buy a snack pack and it will be delivered to them with their first meal.
To McKenna’s knowledge, the college has never offered anything like the snack packs before. Thus far, the offering has seen little success. McKenna admitted that they “really haven’t sold any yet.”
According to the Bon Appétit website, there are three options for the snack packs, with varying ingredients and foods so as to be sensitive to dietary restrictions. There is a vegan option, an allergy-sensitive option and an option for people with no dietary restrictions.
The vegan option is the most limited, but includes fresh fruit, sun butter and bagels. The other two options include more variety. The allergy-sensitive option adds in veggie straws and a cereal bowl. The option for people with no dietary restrictions builds on the aforementioned foods, and adds string cheese and microwave popcorn.
The GET app is an app that enables students to place an order online and then pick it up at Sayles, removing the need to stand in line. Currently, only grill and fryer items are available through the app – like turkey burgers and curly fries. By the end of the term, Bon Appétit staff are hoping to add cold items, like salads, according to Ella Hein ’23, a Bon Appétit Student Sustainability Ambassador.
Hein said that getting the app running has been an ongoing project for three or four years, but they haven’t had enough momentum to launch it until now. McKenna echoed this, saying, “we planned on implementing it, [but] COVID prompted us to make it available in a shorter amount of time.”
McKenna emphasized that the biggest benefit so far has been “no longer having to wait in line to order and then wait for your food,” which has helped greatly with physical distancing in Sayles, especially during rush times like lunch.
Orders from the app have not changed much about how Sayles is run, according to McKenna. She said the only difference is that when picking up an order, the number will not appear on the number board; students are expected to walk to the pick-up table and show the staff their order confirmation and name in order to receive their food.
Felix Lion ’23 recently used the app and said of his experience, “It was pretty easy, [but] I wish I could use my meal plan.” He noted that the major benefits of using it were skipping the line and that the food was ready within the 15 minutes promised by the app.
However, Lion is not sure if he will use it again. He said, “planning 15 minutes into the future is an awkward amount of time” and that “it’s easier to tell a human what I want”.
As most students are on either the 15 or 20 meals per week plan at the dining halls, being able to use a meal swipe through the app would be appreciated. Instead of having to use their dining dollars, money assigned only for use at Sayles, students would be substituting a meal from Sayles for one from the dining hall.
With COVID-19, the rules about how many meal swipes per week students can use at Sayles have become a little more flexible. Rather than just one or two a week, students are allowed to use up to five.
Further down the line, using a meal swipe through the app might become possible. McKenna said, “We are starting out with what we feel we can be successful at right away and will add in other options as we move forward.”
Hein agreed, saying that the app is still in its preliminary stages and the food options are pretty limited, but she thinks “it’ll be good to see how it works out.”