September 29, 2022

Opinion: Examining state of Capital’s dining experience

Capital currently is using Aladdin Campus Dining to make food for students with meal plans, but let’s take a look at the overall dining experience. 

Aladdin currently runs both One Main and MDR, and students can use their meal plans to redeem meals from either location.

First, let’s talk about One Main. One of the best things about One Main is the atmosphere and the longer hours of operation. It always feels like a nice gathering place to go get lunch with your friends. The employees are often quite friendly, as well. The taste and quality of food is usually consistent, but it can depend on what you get.

One of the most popular items on the menu is the chicken finger combo. It comes with 3 chicken fingers and a soft drink, as well as your choice of fries, tater tots, fruits, or chips. It typically doesn’t take very long to be made, either.

This brings me to an issue that I and many other students have had with One Main: the way you use the fountain drink machine.

Previously, if you wanted to use the Pepsi Spire, all you would have to do is ask for a cup. Now, you do not get a cup until your combo comes out.

This is frustrating because now you can’t even have cups of water without buying a combo. Although there is no law in the U.S. requiring restaurants to serve water, a lot of them still do because it’s cheap. 

The new practice is also a pain because the soft drinks are only available through combos and are otherwise unavailable. I even tried printing out my receipt that showed my purchase of the combo, but even then I was told to wait until my meal came out. 

Other than the cup thing, I like One Main.

The MDR experience is pretty different all around.

You have to use a meal swipe from your meal plan to enter. Depending on what time you arrive, there could be a lot of people or almost nobody there.

Time of day tends to be the biggest factor in your experience because the MDR menu can change a lot, depending on what time you arrive. If you get there around dinner hours, then they normally have a pretty interesting daily meal to try. 

However, if you get there, let’s say in between lunch and dinner, your options are more limited. Overall, the atmosphere always feels welcoming and the circular booths really add a lot to the experience.

Aladdin seems to be doing a good job providing food for Capital’s students, but there is still much room for improvement in other areas.

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