By Betsy Craig
The legal system is getting more involved in the University food space through reviewing and dictating what the rules are for accommodating diners. These new policies help to muddle an otherwise clear understanding into how the industry works. On campuses all across the country meal plans and dining services are a money maker for other departments throughout the institution. Letting students opt out of meal plans is not a simple “go to” for student accommodation. That answer has proven to be a hard-fought fight for many who have life threatening food allergies.
Looking at the most recent settlement between the United States and Rider University has me ready to be very specific about what I believe are three levels of accommodations possible in any dining facility today. I’ll let you decide the level you want to be known for on your campus.
It is easiest to unpack the levels and what is included in each one building upon the next to visit the 3 categories I call:
1. Routine Accommodations
2. Reasonable Modifications
3. RockSTAR Accommodations
In the Rider case, Reasonable Accommodations were mandated. In modern dining, guests are asking more and more questions about what is in their food and where it comes from making accommodations almost a necessity. When deciding which column, you want to strive for, think about how important each bullet point is for students dining with allergens and how you can really impact the food industry. For those students, the more you go above and beyond, the more likely they are to choose your University.