Biola students walk fine line between snacking and stealing
A container full of milk. A gallon-sized zip-close baggie full of Captain Crunch. An entire pizza. These are some items you should not leave the Caf with.
Two cookies. A piece of fruit. An ice cream cone. These are the items you are technically allowed to leave with after a meal.
But so many Biolans leave the Caf with their hands full of more than just an apple and some lollipops. And while there are often Bon Appetit employees sitting right at the front watching, they don’t say anything.
Maintaining a positive atmosphere
“If we approach students when they are technically breaking one of our rules, all of the sudden we’re police,” said Biola Bon Appetit general manager Steve Rall. “We don’t wanna be police. We want to keep this a positive atmosphere.”
According to Rall, the Bon Appetit staff sets out to provide a positive experience for Biola students. Whether students think about it or not, the positive vibes created in the Caf are intentional.
Where to find the rules
Currently, Bon Appetit’s policies about proper Caf conduct are made evident in a tactful manner, with notices in the table centerpieces and in the fine print on contracts all students have signed. Bon Appetit officials believed that putting a large poster up with cafeteria policies is a negative contribution, however Rall admits that without posted rules, many students claim they cannot be held responsible for breaking the agreement.
“Students [who take more than they should] might not know they’re stealing because it’s been so lax around here,” Rall said. “Then again, I’m sure there’re people who know exactly what they’re doing. But your generation says, ‘No one told me. You didn’t make that clear.’ Your generation needs a lot of information and if you weren’t given that information to make your decisions, then how can you be held liable? So our responsibility is to spell things out more and more.”
When too much is too much
Rall’s main concern is when students treat the Caf like a grocery store — filling up gallon containers with milk, taking entire loaves of bread and countless servings of cereal. He has seen students wrapping sandwiches or snagging a few slices of pizza and taking them out of the Caf instead of paying for a to-go box.
“I may have made a P.B. and J to save for later here and there,” sophomore Brad Miersma said.
Many Biola students will do this kind of thing when they are on the run and need to quickly snag lunch between classes. Regarding taking larger amounts, sophomore Kylie Jones explained that she always thought it was kind of smart of the students who brought in Tupperware and huge zip-close baggies.
“I have wondered if you’re technically allowed to take certain food out,” Jones said. “But then I remember how much we are paying and I think we should be allowed to take food out, especially because we can eat as much as we want when we’re actually in the Caf. If people want to take a few things to go, I think that’s fine.”
Then again, there are those who stretch their 10 meal plan by taking additional meals to their dorms. In those cases, they technically haven’t paid for that extra food that won’t be consumed inside the cafeteria.
Making the rules clear
The Caf will be experiencing some changes next year, but nothing too dramatic. Rall explained that the Caf’s policies will be posted more noticeably. Because food costs are rising rapidly, they will need to be stricter on how much food is wasted, and how much food is consumed that isn’t really paid for.
The clearer notifications that will be posted next year may worry those who frequently sneak food out of the cafeteria, but what many don’t know is that the Caf used to have an even stricter atmosphere. Rall admitted that currently, it is extremely relaxed.
“We are working off a lot of trust in the Biola students,” Rall said. “The client wants that and the client is Biola University. That’s why we avoid making this place like a prison. We know that there are going to be bad apples, but we can’t let those bad apples ruin things for everyone else.”
What the rules used to be like
Previously, cubby holes were available for students to leave their backpacks in before entering the dining hall, but backpacks would pile up too high and create a fire hazard. During the cafeteria remodel, the cubby system was discarded and now students are allowed to bring their purses and backpacks inside.
Rall has been working for Bon Appetit for 17 years now and says the yearly changes keeps things interesting. He has only good things to say about his experience at Biola.
“I think it’s great working in the Biola bubble,” Rall said. “I think that’s what God intended — for you to live here. If you all could duplicate this in your life elsewhere, that’d be ideal.”