SHARE
Stu­dents sit around a table in the dining hall, located in the Grewcock Student Union. | External Affairs

Hillsdale College will have a new food service this fall, the first time it has changed in eight years. Metz Culinary Man­agement will replace Bon Appétit, according to a July 18  announcement from the college.

In 2014, Hillsdale switched food providers from Saga Inc. to Bon Appétit. The college planned to renew its con­tract with Bon Appétit, but Tim Wells, Hilldale’s asso­ciate vice pres­ident for Admin­is­trative Affairs, said the college had con­cerns about Bon Appétit’s trajectory. 

“We came to the con­clusion that changing would be a good and wise decision,” Wells said.

The Penn­syl­vania-based company pro­vides food to busi­nesses, healthcare facil­ities, and edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions, according to its website. Metz serves 58 col­leges, including Albion College and the Uni­versity of Detroit Mercy. 

Wells said he is con­fident in the college’s decision to switch to the family-operated company. 

“The goal is to come in and have you guys [the stu­dents and guests] be happy,” said Maureen Metz, exec­utive vice pres­ident of Metz Culinary Management.

Metz said her team hopes to support the mission and values of the college through its dining ser­vices. Metz employees hope “to foster an atmos­phere and attitude that pro­motes a strong sense of com­munity and family,” Metz said.

 Wells said he agrees food plays an important role in the Hillsdale community. 

“What food pro­vides at Hillsdale College is integral to what we do, specif­i­cally regarding stu­dents and out­reach,” Wells said.

Many stu­dents said they are opti­mistic about the change. 

 “If they have gluten-free food in Saga and can keep the A.J.’s kitchen open, I will be a fan,” sophomore and A.J.’s Cafe employee Kenda Showalter said. 

Stu­dents with dietary restric­tions will be taken care of, Metz said, as her company uses a recipe database called Nutritics to help prepare meals. The website will also have a section where stu­dents can see the daily menu. The menu will include details on the dietary guide­lines for all of the food offered. 

“We also have an allergen dec­la­ration form on our website,” Metz said in an announcement from the college. “This form con­nects our guests with our chef, who will reach out to talk about their con­cerns and, if needed, make special accommodations.”

The company will also accom­modate stu­dents by serving food at A.J.‘s and Jitters.

“At A.J.‘s Café 1844, stu­dents can enjoy made-to-order sand­wiches, burgers, steaks, and chicken sand­wiches, pizzas, smoothies, and a full line of grab-and-go and heat-and-eat Chef Fresh meals,” Metz said.

Chef Fresh meals are a new addition to the cafe, including sand­wiches, salads, fruit cups, and par­faits, as well as meals that include an entree and sides that can be heated up to eat at a later time, Metz said. Jitters will con­tinue to offer coffee, as well as Chef Fresh meals, snacks, drinks, and live well fuel options – foods which are low in calories, sodium, and sat­u­rated fats. Metz said stu­dents can use Charger Change and meal swipes to pur­chase grab-and-go items.

Senior Justin Nater said he is relieved about the new options.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Metz has to offer for ath­letes and gym-goers,” he said.

The Metz website also out­lines that the company plans to “tran­sition approx­i­mately 35% of meat-based meals to plant-based alter­na­tives by 2025.” 

This should not concern stu­dents, Wells said. 

The 35%, that is not a mandatory com­ponent or requirement of the Metz food service program,” Wells said. “We will partner with Metz to provide an offering that pri­or­i­tizes the college and student body.” 

Metz agreed. 

“Your campus is not going to be 35% plant-based,” she said.

Sophomore Emily Griffith said she will con­tinue to call the dining hall “Saga.”

“It’s just muscle memory now, and I’m sure new stu­dents will simply pick up on what’s repeated all around them,” she said. 

Junior Brooke Hillis said that though much is changing at the dining hall, what stu­dents call it will never change.

“I am looking forward to a new food company and I am hopeful it will be better,” junior Brooke Hillis said. “I will still call the cafe­teria Saga regardless.”

The Metz team is making a plan to take student feedback into account through text, con­ver­sa­tions, its website, and feedback cards. Metz’ website, hillsdalemetz.com, will provide menus, hours of oper­ation, and more, according to Metz.