December 5, 2021

Issues with meal plan technology lead to inconvenience

Some issues surrounding Capital’s meal plans had led to inconvenience for both students and some local businesses.

As a first-year student here at Capital, one is required to choose a meal plan. For first years, they have no option but to choose the Ultimate Plus meal plan which allows for more flexible dining, allowing one to eat as little or as much as possible. 

With this meal plan, one gets $200 Capbucks that they can spend per semester. You can add to this through your student account if you ever run out. Anyone who attends Capital can add these funds to their accounts as well. 

Perks of having Capbucks is if you do not want to go to MDR, you can use Capbucks at One Main and Cap Grounds for other diverse drink and food options. This is all done simply by scanning one’s student ID. 

However, this has become a hassle for some students who may not have Capbucks or meal swipes, and just simply want to grab a drink or a quick snack. In MDR, Cap Grounds, and One Main, they do not accept cash. They only accept cards but when asked for your card, you are required to manually enter your information every time. 

The reason that students must enter their card manually every time is an issue with the POS software that dining services uses, called Appetize.

Daniel Parton, district manager for Aladdin food services, says that this is an issue that they have been working on with Appetize for quite some time now. 

Parton said, “They can’t seem to pinpoint the underlying issue. Basically, when a credit card is swiped, the transactions go through, but it causes the POS system to freeze. We then have to restart the system to make it work properly again. We continue to work with Appetize to find a solution. I have found that using Apple Pay (the Android version as well) works and does not cause the system to freeze.” 

As far as dining services not accepting cash, this began with the early stages of COVID. 

“Many businesses stopped accepting cash to limit the touch points with customers and we felt it was a good practice to help keep our staff and customers from possible exposure. A couple months later began the shortage of coins…”, Parton said. 

Parton, on behalf of dining services, suggests that students, staff and faculty add funds to their ID cards to make purchases easier at One Main, MDR and Cap Grounds. 

The good thing is, if you do not just want to be isolated to the dining options on campus, there are other options. 

There are four restaurants on Main Street where students can use their Capbucks for food: Jersey Mike’s, Moshi Sushi, New Fangled Kitchen, and Jimmy Johns.

These are good options for students if they want to switch it up and try something new. The workers at Moshi love the business and have had no personal issues with dealing with Capbucks. 

Jimmy John’s manager agrees that having Capbucks increases business. The only issues that they ever run into is if a student’s balance is low and they must wait to reload money to their accounts. 

As for New Fangled Kitchen, a newer Capbuck-friendly restaurant, they have some other slight issues. Per a New-Fangled employee, they run into issues when it’s summer and there are classes because they are issues with student accounts during that time. Many times, the accounts do not yet have the Capbucks loaded, and students are forced to use another means of payment. 

“I mean, I feel bad when a student has to use their own charge card or cash, when they should just be able to access their funds on their student ID,” a Newfangled worker said. 

As for Jersey Mike’s, we were unable to get a comment on any issues or non-issues they face dealing with Capital. 

The great thing about Capital’s location is that students have various cheap dining options outside of Capbucks. 

Piada, quick street Italian food, offers a student special for high school and college students Monday-Sunday from 2-5 p.m. where they can get any entrée with protein and a large drink for only $8, and all day on Wednesdays. All you need is to show your student ID. 

Another quick, cheap option is Anthony’s Pizzeria on the corner of Pleasant Ridge Ave and Main Street. You can get 3 slices and a drink for $7.99 or 2 slices and a drink for $6.50. After 8pm, slices are $1.50 slices, and they also sell some 14-inch pizzas for only $7.50.

  • Bianca is a triple major in sociology, criminology, and Spanish, treasurer of the Criminology and Sociology club, America Reads tutor, along with her position as a reporter for the Chimes.

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