Campus News

Students react to new menu at Sufficient Grounds

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Upon entering Bethel College’s Sufficient Grounds coffee house for the first time in the 2012-2013 school year, students were greeted with a new menu. The new menu—which now offers more vegetarian options but now lacks old favorites like baked spaghetti and Caesar dressing—immediately had students talking. Some had good things to talk about; some certainly did not. "Why did you take out the Feil Good???? I would always get one! Please bring it back so I can feel good again” reads one of many posted comment cards at Sufficient Grounds, in reference to the late “Feil Good Creamsicle” milkshake. While for most students the changes do not stop them from feeling good on a daily basis, they have certainly altered campus life. Junior Allison Baker believes that the new menu has been a negative change. “It’s very limited,” Baker said. “And they took away a lot of people’s favorite things.” The Sufficient Grounds menu removed baked spaghetti, Caesar dressing, chicken Caesar salads, and Feil Good Milkshakes from their menu and has drastically altered many items that made the cut. Students can no longer order pizzas for lunch, the hummus platters are now without cheese cubes, and made-to-order sandwiches on multigrain bread have been replaced with pre-made wraps. The wraps allow for easier serving, but eliminate the students’ option to veto condiments from their meals. The comment card box on the wall of Sufficient Grounds, once merely recognized as a wall decoration, has now become the focus of Bethel’s coffeehouse-goers—and especially the coffeehouse workers. Senior Sufficient Grounds employee Kelsey Bucknam has certainly noticed. “Whenever you get rid of stuff, there are going to be people that will complain and be upset,” Bucknam said. “I do hear more complaints than complements, but that just tends to be human nature. A lot of people, when asked, will say that there are things they like about the new menu; they’re just more vocal about the things they don’t like.” It also should be noted that Sufficient Grounds has not merely taken without giving. A vegetarian meal option is now available, as well as an extra side option in the form of a fresh fruit cup. The breakfast menu has also undergone changes, now including an egg and cheese bagel and miniature scones for sides. Junior Tim Sipe expressed his approval of the breakfast menu. “I like how you can have a scone as a side for breakfast,” Sipe said. “The egg and cheese bagel is really good; I wanted a second one.” As Bucknam pointed out, what appears to be the vast majority of students may just be a very vocal minority. Senior Chelsea Render is also in favor of the menu changes. “I like the wraps a lot more than I used to like sandwiches,” Render said. It’s all a matter of taste, of course. Some students love the wraps; others miss the home-style flavor of sandwiches on multigrain bread. As for the workers, there is no comparison. “It absolutely makes our job easier,” Bucknam said. “We had to spend a lot of time prepping food…we would pre-make sandwiches, pizzas, and spaghettis every morning, and it just took a while. Plus the stuff is now just easier to make.” Sufficient Grounds also no longer toasts sandwiches, which means the line of students moves through more swiftly than it did previously. For the coffeehouse, that’s a very good thing. It means they can serve more people in a shorter amount of time, which certainly helps during the notoriously busy lunch hours. Some students would still prefer the wait if it ensured a toasted sandwich. It used to be that if students wanted to get a wrap, their only option was the Acorn. Now that Sufficient Grounds has pre-made wraps instead of made-to-order sandwiches, their options are less unique. Plus the Acorn still toasts their wraps; so if a student wants a warmed sandwich, he or she will likely be hitting up the Acorn instead. But has Sufficient Grounds seen less business as a result of the menu change? Bucknam says that with the line moving through so quickly, it’s harder to tell. But Baker says that the menu change has caused her to be eating more meals at the Dining Commons than Sufficient Grounds, which is highly irregular for her. “I used to eat at least two meals a day at Sufficient Grounds—no lie—except for Sundays because they’re closed,” Baker said. “But now I go around once every other day. For me, that’s drastic.” There may, however, be hope on the horizon. The comment card box has seen a lot of feedback in the month since students’ return to campus, and student voices have not been silenced. Just last week, Sufficient Grounds began posting signs announcing the return of certain items to their menu. They will not be eliminating anything else, but starting this week students may once again enjoy pizzas for lunch and Caesar dressing. Campus food services encourage students to fill out comment cards with their opinions, and students are refreshed to see that Bethel is listening. With a bit more time, perhaps more students will be “feeling good” about their food service options at Sufficient Grounds.
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