June 23, 2024

Consequences of swiping in One Main Cafe

Students are no longer able to manually input their student ID numbers in One Main Cafe nor Capital Grounds. If students have lived-in ID cards, such as having a cut in the sliding strip, they are no longer able to purchase a meal. 

After Residential and Commuter Life received multiple complaints about students’ ID numbers being used without their consent, One Main Café was instructed to change to only swiping ID cards instead of allowing students to input their ID numbers.

Grabbing food without paying occurred frequently, even when the kiosk was functioning properly. Stealing others’ meal plans, block meals and CapBucks was reason enough for the management processes of Dining Services to change.

Swiping student ID cards at the counter. Current damage to ID cards may not let orders to go through. Photo by Megan Martinez.

“At first, we could write down your number, whatever you ordered and your name; take it to the cooks in the back; the cooks make it and then later on my managers will pay for it. They’d take care of the order. We can’t do that anymore because there’s only swipes,” an anonymous employee said.

Some students have had trouble getting their food because of the new swipe-only policy. 

”A young lady, just like two minutes ago, had a little scratch on her barcode. So I couldn’t swipe her card. It wouldn’t work. Yes, she couldn’t get any food so I had to turn her away. I felt horrible for doing so. I mean, she came here to eat, let her eat. I can’t type her number in because it’s swipe only. I should at least be able to do that,” an anonymous worker said.

Ms. T, the only worker behind the counter of CapGrounds, finds swiping difficult because she has nothing to do with meal plans.

“All I deal with is Cap [Bucks], cash or credit [cards]…now I gotta have contact.” said Ms. T, who now has to swipe students’ IDs.

According to Food Service Director Liz Hernandez, only allowing swiping benefits the university and protects students’ CapBucks and meal swipes. 

Although some students aren’t able to complete their orders at One Main or Capital Grounds, they are able to go to restaurants like Newfangled Kitchen and scan their IDs to use their CapBucks.

Getting a new ID card requires going to Student Accounts in Yochum Hall to pay $15 for a receipt, then heading over to Blackmore Library to hand IT that receipt and have them print out a new ID. 

“COVID wasn’t as bad as this. We had signs on the floor, it was one way in and one way out. You know we closed at 10 o’clock. We used to have to run orders out to the students. No one was allowed in here to eat. No one could sit in here and it still wasn’t as inconveniencing as swipes only, personally,” an anonymous worker said.

New workers needed to learn the two refined and distinct systems of the kiosk and the computer behind the counter. 

Ordering at the counter is for “the Grab n’ go,” barista Mikaela Williams said, and the kiosk is for “the real meals,” where students self-swipe. While it is possible to order real meals at the counter, “it’s best to do it on the Kiosk,” Williams said.

The implementation of swipe-only ordering kiosks presents itself as a learning curve for students and staff alike, but it is necessary to prevent theft, protecting students’ accounts.


  • Megan Martinez

    Megan is a second-year Political Science, History, and Spanish major. She is the President of Students Latinx of Affinities, the Humanities Representatives in Student Government, a Smooth Transitions mentor and a member of the Capital University Dance Team. In her free time, she loves to watch movies.

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