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Dining changes to save $200,000

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In an April 1 e-mail that turned out not to be another April Fools joke, Director of Dining Services Matthew Biette announced plans to close the Juice Bar during the academic year and further reduce hours and some offerings at the Grille and MiddXpress.

The McCullough retail operations have been losing money since their inception, and this latest round of cuts aims to reduce those losses.

Chief Financial Officer of the College Patrick Norton expects Middlebury to save $200,000 per year with these cuts, with a small operating deficit remaining.

Reduction in staffing levels across the College is one way Old Chapel has been attempting to reduce costs and move towards a “new fiscal reality.” Dining Services has eliminated 30 positions through the College’s Voluntary Separation Plan since its launch, and five spaces became vacant March 31. These spaces were eliminated from the Grille, Biette wrote in an e-mail.

“We need to look at the way business happens across campus — what services are offered, what should no longer be offered,” he wrote. “We need to make the best decisions, concentrate on our key businesses and run all businesses effectively.”

In addition to reducing staffing, some menu items will be eliminated, such as the Tuscan Grilled Cheese. Favorites, such as the Love Me Tender and Dr. Feelgood, remain.

Despite reductions in hours and the entire operation of the Juice Bar, however, the Juice Bar will continue to act as a meeting space, and will open weekday mornings at 8 a.m.

Though the Juice Bar will be closed for regular services, it will reopen for special events and summer Language Schools.

Few students seem disappointed by the cuts, as many use the Grille only during the evening hours when it will remain open.

As for the Juice Bar, some see it as more of an overlap to the Wilson Library Café than a necessary individual entity.

“The only reason I’d go to the Juice Bar would to be to get coffee, so you can get that at the dining hall or the library,” said Claire McIlvennie ’12. “[What’s important is that] The Grille is still open, and I’d rather they closed the Juice Bar than take something else away.”

Biette expects this latest round of cuts to end the major changes to the hours and services in McCullough “for the time being.”

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Dining changes to save $200,000”

  1. Patch on April 8th, 2010 10:13 am

    R.I.P. Black and Blue and Red Ape smoothies

    [Reply]

  2. George Altshuler on April 8th, 2010 10:53 am

    R.I.P. Swatters!

    [Reply]

  3. SarahdeK on April 11th, 2010 11:56 am

    the disappointment in the college’s cuts are far more in the food choices than for juice. How sad that a college that was noted for it’s nutritional choices have decided to serve more fried foods in lieu of nutritionally good local choices.

    [Reply]

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Dining changes to save $200,000