The 2013 school year has come with many changes. New teachers have been added to the faculty and the chapel has been renovated.
More importantly for the student body, the long awaited change in the cafeteria catering service has occurred.
Effective this year, Sage Dining has replaced the old and long-complained-about ECI Catering.
One of the major changes between this year’s lunch program and last year’s is that the school owns and handles all of the risk involved with the new lunch program.
“With the new lunch, St. Thomas takes all income and expenses, and pays a management fee to Sage Dining,” Vice President of Finance Eve Grubb said. “St. Thomas has no desire to make any money, and prices will be set in order to simply break even.”
This being said, it is still uncertain whether the current prices will go down.
“The food is better, but it comes with higher prices and longer lines,” junior Jack Brady said.
Brady was an important part of getting the new lunch program.
He along with several other student council members were part of a group that went to Strake Jesuit to test out Sage’s food toward the end of last year.
Upon testing the food, the decision was made to switch to Sage Dining as our on-campus food provider.
“The school decided that the former lunch provider wasn’t adequate enough,” Sage’s District Manger Joseph Jackson said. “We try to have a program that is based on variety, balance and moderation. We have kid friendly items, but we also have more healthy items to give you a balance of that variety.”
With all the excitement over the new lunch program, more students are buying lunch this year.
Therefore, the lunch lines have been quite long. They were so bad the first day of school that both lunch periods had to be extended.
However, many believe that once seniors get off-campus lunch, the lines will run smoother and should become more relaxed.
Athletic coach and lunch room supervisor Rich McGuire has doubts that the seniors getting off campus lunch will have much of an impact on lunch lines.
“Will the long lines improve? Yes, though I do not think they will improve drastically,” McGuire said.
There is a possibility of prices going down in the future depending on the fiscal performance of the new program.
Another issue that seems to be a problem with many students is the new breakfast foods.
“The new breakfast tastes like sadness in my mouth,” junior Austin Longoria said. “I want my breakfast tacos and Tommy’s fresh cooked eggs, bacon and hash browns back.”
Tommy’s eggs certainly were hard to beat, and Sage’s misbalanced tortilla to egg and bacon ratio has not lived up to ECI’s previous offering.
“I would like to see them switch to homemade tortillas to make the breakfast tacos better,” Director of Student Activities Joe O’Brien said.
On a positive note, lunch foods offered by Sage have proved to be much better in quality, taste and freshness compared to ECI’s food.
“I am pleased with the quality and freshness of the lunch meals,” O’Brien said.
The quick-grab lunches offer a wider selection of food to students. In addition, the meats are fresh and cooked individually unlike last year’s. Students have noticed an improvement in the quality of the lunch foods.
“The food has gotten much better than last year. The food I ate with my shadow was terrible,” freshman Max Winter said.
Looking past the minor issues with the breakfast and long lines, the new lunch program seems to be a better option than last year’s program.
The foods are better, fresher and higher in quality, and the new program is a welcome and positive addition.