Runner Café replaces buffet with food court style dining

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Runner Café replaces buffet with food court style dining

Sam Underwood, Editor-in-Chief

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The Runner Café has been overhaul for the start of the 2019 Fall semester.  Last year the café changed to a buffet style restaurant that was not very popular among the student body.  This year, under the direction of a new food service director, the café will be returning to a more restaurant style venue where students can buy what they want, rather than paying for an entire buffet and have a dining area to relax and enjoy.

Owen Smith is the new food service director of the Runner Café.  Smith came to CSU Bakersfield three months ago from Arizona State University.  Since then, the café has undergone major changes to better serve the campus.   The café will be returning to an all retail system rather than the buffet system.

One of the problems with the buffet style last year was that students who didn’t want to purchase a buffet meal couldn’t use the dining room to sit with friends, study, or just hang out.  The retail system will stop students from being excluded from the dining room.

“The new changes will reopen the dining room to anyone who wants to come in” explains Scott.  “A group can sit in here and have a soda, or nothing at all, while one friend has a bite to eat.”

Another big change to the café will be the quality of food.  Smith explains that the café will be moving towards more quality restaurant style food.

“For example, the burger station is upgrading their burgers from a quick fast-food style quarter pound patty to a 1/3-pound patty with a dinner role style bun” says Smith.

Smith is also bringing in Bento Sushi to replace the sandwich corner, but it will not be ready for the first day of school.

“The sushi station will take a few months to get everything approved through the health department” says Smith.

The pizza station will now serve individual pizzas made to order.  The burger station and the pizza station will use pagers to notify customers when their food is ready.  The soup and salad bar will still be available with two different sizes to choose from.  Breakfast time will see the addition of breakfast burritos during the week and an omelet station on the weekends.

Smith is also in the process of finding a chef to run the Chef’s station that offers a rotating menu of home-style foods.

All these new additions will be served on plates and a la carte boxes that are more compostable and environmentally friendly.

“The compostable plates will take some time to find the best fit as some material doesn’t hold up to heat well.  It’s a work in progress” says Smith.

The student meal plans will work more like a prepaid account now that will be based on a declining balance of what they purchase instead of the meal blocks that were with the old plan.  Resident plans are $2,142, while $99 plans can be purchased by off-campus students and faculty.

Customers with a meal plan will receive a 10% discount.