Rheta’s Market, a dining marketplace housed within Chadbourne Residence Hall, will be utilizing a new dining style this next school year. The marketplace will be going from an à la carte system to an all-you-care-to-eat.
The former à la carte style featured pay-for-what-you-eat, meaning students paid for individual food items. The all-you-care-to-eat style means students pay a flat fee and can eat however much and whatever they want from the market.
The buffet style prices vary by meal; according to the Rheta’s Market website, the resident prices are $3.50 for breakfast, $4.50 for lunch, and $5.50 for dinner. Non-resident prices can be more than double that, with $7.25 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $10.25 for dinner.
Brendon Dybdahl, Director of Marketing & Communications for University Housing, said the change stemmed from student requests.
“During the 2017-18 school year, students on our Dining Advisory Board requested that there be an all-you-care-to-eat location on each side of campus,” Dybdahl said. “The students thought that this would be [a] great addition to our program, to offer some added variety to our à la carte style of dining. We took their proposal . . . and we decided to pilot it at one Dining market.”
Rheta’s Market is located at the intersection of Park Street and University Avenue. The location provides quick access to or from the George L. Mosse Humanities building, Bascom Hill and Library Mall.
Dybdahl said Rheta’s central location and the fact that it was easily accessible to a large number of students made it ideal to test out the new dining style.
Dybdahl added that for students who preferred the previous format, there would still be many options available.
“For those students who don’t want an all-you-care-to-eat experience, we plan to offer more grab-and-go and hot food options sold at the Flamingo Run convenience store inside Rheta’s, so that they can still buy some individual items there,” Dybdahl said. “The Gordon Dining & Event Center is also just a couple blocks away, for students who prefer our usual à la carte dining experience.”
Gordon Dining & Event Center is located by Witte, Sellery and Ogg residence halls, with a longer walk from Chadbourne.
Dybdahl said, however, that he hoped students would like the new format at Rheta’s and would frequent it.
“We hope that students feel they’re getting a good value for what they will pay at the door, and that they are offered a different style of service [than] our other Dining facilities,” he said. “While our residents have the option to eat at any of our dining markets, we hope Rheta’s will become a destination location for some of these students who enjoy the new format.”
Dillon Moore, an incoming junior, lived at Sellery and Smith his first two years. He said that he went to Rheta’s Market four or five times a week, and added it was probably his favorite of the dining halls.
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Moore added, however, that the buffet style might have had one negative impact on him, had it been offered to him.
“When I was eating on campus, I operated on a sort of cost-based system, where I didn’t want to spend that much money. I really looked for the most calories for the least amount of money,” Dillon said. “Now, if it’s the same price, I’m going to get whatever I want. I already gained weight last year. If I’m getting whatever I want, it probably would’ve been even worse.”
Moore said, however, that he thought the “trial” at Rheta’s, with Gordon’s nearby for those who didn’t prefer the buffet style, was a good idea and he thought it “made a lot of sense.”
Moore said generally, Rheta’s had a good reputation amongst his friends.
“I loved Rheta’s,” he said. “I heard people say they liked Rheta’s a lot. With the discount you get from housing, it was a decent price.”
Moore recommended going to grocery stores for certain items he found pricey at the dining halls, such as fresh produce. Overall, however, he said he found dining hall prices to be manageable.
Dybdahl said while the buffet format requires some changes, he hopes it will go over well with students.
“For staff working in Rheta’s, it changes the customer flow a bit, and there will be some retraining of both our employees and our customers,” Dybdahl said. “But overall we’ll be offering the same great service and delicious food as always, and we hope to get a positive response to the changes when students return in the fall.”