Limited Options Mean Longer Lines for Food


Photo Illustration by Ram Reyes

Story By: Samantha Domingo, News Editor

Since the Pacific Cafe closed at the end of the spring 2017 semester, students are more limited to their dining options on the Fresno City College campus.

Currently, the only places to get food are the cafeteria, bookstore, the cart by the fountain and vending machines on campus. Administration is also considering having food trucks on campus in the future.

In the cafeteria, staff noticed long lines at the beginning of the semester because of the influx of students coming in since the Pacific Cafe closed, said Rudy Rangel, a chef at the Fresh Seasons Cafe in the cafeteria.

“Since this is the only place to eat, they come,” he said. “We added two more employees and an extra person on the line during rush hours.”

The cafeteria serves about 1,200 students a day, according to food services director Anita Handy.

Despite the addition of more employees, during rush hours, the line can still take up to 30 minutes according to some students.

“I don’t get food on campus a lot this semester, but I have a couple times,” said Sydney Glenn, a student majoring in pre-law at FCC. “The cafeteria just always seems crowded now. Last semester I would chill in there and it didn’t seem as crowded.”

Even though it’s crowded, Glenn says she would rather get food from the cafeteria because of the affordable prices and “actual food cooked right there.”

Another student, Marianna Lemieux, said she often goes to the cafeteria for lunch on the days she has classes.

“I get food on campus two to four times a week because it’s convenient,” said Lemieux. “The waiting time in the cafeteria is bearable, but I feel we need more cashiers and more selection of food in the cafeteria.”

In an effort to fix the problem of long lines, the cash registers were updated in mid October and a third register was added, according to Rangel.

“What was taking longer was swiping cards,” Rangel said. “Now we’re up to date.”

There are signs at the new touchscreen registers that say cards can’t be swiped for purchases of less than $2. The new program charges 40 cents per swipe, Handy said, and the company loses money if cards are used for less than that.

As for adding more food options for students, Rangel said the cafe brought out a new Chinese bar for the fall semester, adding to the Mexican bar and lunch and breakfast menus.

Rangel also said the cafe might start making to-go dinners for the cart near the fountain, which is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

He said that adding extra cafeteria hours wouldn’t be feasible for Taher, the food services management company. Rangel said in prior years, they tried to stay open until 6 p.m., “but there weren’t many people coming.”

For now, the cafeteria operates Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday until 2 p.m.

“We added extra staff,”  Rangel said, “so hopefully, that’s going to work out.

To avoid the long lines in the cafeteria, some students opt to load up on snacks from the bookstore.

“I get in and out of the bookstore fairly quickly,” said Adam Hernandez, a student at FCC. “It beats waiting in line at the cafeteria.”

Hernandez very rarely purchases food on campus, he doesn’t mind spending a little extra money at the bookstore for food to avoid the long lines at the cafeteria.

“I know it’s a little more expensive, but I usually don’t get food on campus too much anyway so it’s alright, ” said Hernandez.

The bookstore, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday through Thursday and until 3 p.m. on Friday, sells a wide variety of snack foods including granola bars, candy, chips, and bottled beverages.

Even though food options on campus are limited now, students can look forward to more variety in the near future.

“We are in the last stages of finalizing a process to have food trucks on campus,” said Cheryl Sullivan, Vice President of Administrative Services. “The initial plan is to have two on campus that rotate.”

The two food trucks will be located by both the Health Services Building and near the small fountain and are anticipated to be open Tuesday through Thursdays, according to Sullivan.

“We are hoping for a soft open in mid-November for the Ram Pantry, but that assumes we don’t have any other unforeseen construction delays,” said Sullivan. “Once these two items are more fully launched, we will begin discussion with the student body, faculty and staff about what type of food option will be available in the former Pacific Cafe area.”

Editor-in-chief Ashleigh Panoo contributed to this story.