West Chester University, along with 13 other colleges and universities, have decided to participate in the Off-Campus Dining Network. This meal plan, or OCDN option, provides flexibility, better budgeting and satisfaction. With more than 1500 menu items OCDN gives students the opportunity to eat what they want where they want and allow them to decide how much they want to spend on their meal. Familiar restaurants such as Subway, Pizza Hut and Dominos are just a few that appear on the list of over 300. In addition to all of these options there is also the option of whether or not you would like to have your food delivered.
Students are given a so-called debit card that has a specific amount of money on it and can be used at any of the participating restaurants for the purchase of food only. Parents or students can add or subtract money from the card using the network’s online services. Parents can also monitor their students’ spending through the same service.
This very popular dining trend is becoming a big success, however, there are those who don’t think it’s the best option.
Jesse Drelick, supervisor of the Ram’s Head Food Court says, “Students are missing out on a lot, the food is better here than off- campus and there are more healthier options offered with the schools’ dining services. A student can spend up to $10.00 eating out as opposed to them spending $3.70 for an all you can eat meal at the cafeteria.”
Ken Schwenke, president, CEO and Founder of OCDN thinks this is the best option. “As a father and former executive of a $5 billion food service company, I’ve studied campus foodservice operations as a consumer and a business-man. I learned that board plans make money from something called the “missed meal factor” – a measure of the percentage of meals paid for but not eaten.”
WCU senior Kofi Danquah says, “the meal plan is a waste of money, no one ever uses all their meals but they have to pay for them anyway, that’s one of the reasons I moved off campus.”
With OCDN becoming quite popular, schools are starting to use this new method of dining out while remaining in school. Students and parents seem to be very pleased with the idea of Mr. Schwenke and his network.