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College dining trending: Universities in four states to reopen this fall; the impact of coronavirus on college dining services

A study from Datassential shows that college food service sales ‘have dropped off a cliff’, major universities offer a variety of approaches to adjusting meal plans in response to coronavirus shutdowns and more from Food Management.

After being shuttered for most of the spring term due to the coronavirus crisis, universities in at least four states—Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas—have announced plans for reopening to in-person classes this fall. The impact on the respective schools’ dining services has not yet been detailed but are expected to conform with general ongoing policies designed to minimize the risk of passing the coronavirus, such as social distancing, extensive cleaning/sanitizing and elimination of multiple-contact platforms like self-serve stations.

In addition, college dining took a big financial hit over the spring with near shutdowns of its operations on most campuses, combined with refunds of significant portions of already banked meal plan revenues, and is likely to take another modest one as summer classes and camps will, at best, generate only a fraction of the monies originally anticipated. For college dining programs, the outlook calls for fewer onsite customers but more pressure to promote the college experience.

Also, new data shows nearly half C&U operators’ sales have essentially gone to zero, a quarter are doing just 10% of usual volume. For those still open, C&U dining services has ‘flipped on its head,’ with streamlining, downsizing and portability according to Dasassential’s latest survey on the coronavirus crisis on campus.

See what else was trending in college dining trending this month on Food Management.



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