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Dining Services introduces mini meal plan and nighttime eating options

An employee prepares food at one of WSU's dining areas.
The mini meal plan can be used in the dining centers and retail locations on the Pullman campus (photo by Ryan Butschli, Division of Student Affairs).

Dining Services at Washington State University Pullman has unveiled a new meal plan option and after-hours dining at Southside Café. It has also brought back a popular nighttime delivery service under a new name.

The services are intended to enhance the dining experience and meet the needs of a WSU community that is active during the day and at night. 

Sarah Larson, director of Dining Services, said many of the plans for these services were in the works before the pandemic and Dining Services felt it was important to put them in motion this semester, even though it’s currently experiencing a staffing shortage.

“The pandemic provided us inspiration to think about ways we can serve the WSU community differently,” Larson said. “I am very excited we have launched these new initiatives and think the time is right to try some new things.”

Mini meal plan

Among the new offerings is a mini meal plan for faculty, staff, and students living off-campus. Similar to the resident meal plan, the mini meal plan allows the WSU community to purchase dining dollars and pay for meals using their CougarCard. The plan costs $250 and can be purchased on the Dining Services website. More than 200 mini meal plans have already been sold.

“It’s a good value and it doesn’t require a huge buy-in,” said Larson. “We have great food at all our locations, and this plan encourages people to explore what we have available.”

In addition to the convenience of not needing cash or a credit card to pay for meals, the mini-meal plan provides a 25% discount on food purchased at the Northside, Southside, and Hillside Cafés and a smaller discount at Dining Services retail locations. More details and a complete list of locations covered by the mini meal plan can be found online.

Nighttime dining options

A recently revamped service lets students have many of their favorite foods delivered to their residence hall after the dining centers close.

Coug Eats is a new version of Flix Express, which was put on pause during the pandemic.

With Coug Eats, students can order food using the GetFood app between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Deliveries are made between 8 and 10 p.m. to on-campus living locations. 

“Students really like having food delivered to them and appreciate being able to use their dining dollars for this kind of service,” Larson said.

Coug Eats Associate Manager Allyssa Sheppard said customers are often surprised by how quickly their food is delivered and the friendliness of the student workers making the deliveries.

“My staff is having fun preparing and delivering food for their fellow Cougs,” Sheppard said. “Our customers often say they are excited to order from us again.”

Larson is hoping Coug Eats can expand its days of delivery later in the semester if staffing levels increase.

Students can also take advantage of Southside After Hours from 8 to 10 p.m., when a couple of food stations at the Southside Café reopen after dinner hours to accommodate those needing a late meal. It is open for all students regardless of where they usually dine.  

“Coug Eats and Southside After Hours are particularly useful for students that have late classes, labs, or meetings,” she said. “We wanted to add some later evening options for students on the south side of campus.”

A Change of Taste

All three dining centers will serve up special dishes throughout the semester as part of the Change of Taste Program. Staff prepare menu items not ordinarily offered in the centers to celebrate holidays, events, and traditions.

As part of Change of Taste, Hillside Café will celebrate National Noodle Day on Oct. 6, for both lunch and dinner, and Northside Café will provide a special dinner for Halloween. Visit the Dining Services website to see what each dining center has planned.

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