Chico State serves rotten dining options


Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

In recent years, colleges have spent millions of dollars to improve campus life. These expenditures include new recreation centers, state of the art learning facilities and high-quality dining experiences.

Chico State has followed suit with most of these trends but is seriously lacking when it comes to dining on campus. In short, Chico State’s food just isn’t good. All of the facilities are owned and operated by the Associated Students, and I think that needs to change.

When I was touring colleges several years ago, I noticed that most of them had huge food courts with different franchises, chains and local restaurants to choose from. At Chico State, we are left with a small selection of off-brand restaurants like Sub Street Deli and Grill It!

The food AS provides isn’t always bad, but it is usually underwhelming, overpriced and only available for limited hours of the day. The Marketplace closes at 3 p.m. and the coffee shops and convenience stores close at 7 p.m. Sutter Cafe, with their one star Yelp review, is the only place open in the evening.

I think Chico State needs to contract out its dining services to third-party businesses. Other schools have done this and the results have been very impressive.

The University of Kentucky recently privatized its dining facilities. As a result, U of K was able to get millions of dollars in investments to put toward building new food courts and eating areas.

One thing AS does a good job at in their dining services is using local and sustainable ingredients. However, high-quality ingredients can only do so much if the food is poorly prepared and doesn’t taste good.

If the bad taste and the limited availability aren’t enough, the price for food on campus is outrageous. Items in the Marketplace and Butte/Holt Station can be bought for much less at businesses downtown.

Although Chico State is close to downtown restaurants and stores, it would still be nice to have good food available on campus. If you only have a half hour to grab food between classes, you aren’t going to want to walk downtown.

Chico State seems to flourish in areas like recreation, academics and learning infrastructure, but it falls short with its campus dining. I think that if AS privatized the food services on campus, we could potentially have top-notch dining experiences.

Instead of off-brand restaurants, we could have places like T. Bar, Burgers and Brew, Panda Express, etc. By having restaurants like these, we could get nicer dining facilities with more options. Also, AS could still make a profit by charging rent and commission.

Chico State should take notes from schools like U of K, Cal Poly, Sac State and hundreds of others. By opening up their campus to third-party vendors, they were able to create high-quality, low-cost, great tasting food from restaurants people actually enjoy.

Carson Predovich can be reached at [email protected] or @cpredo120 on Twitter.