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Sodexo says "Reward Yourself"

By Megan Carey
On March 5, 2010

Sodexo dining services began offering the semi-monthly Reward Yourself program at the beginning of February to students who wanted to eat something a little different.

"We wanted to offer the students a monotony breaker, something a little more premium," Sodexo General Manager John Offerle said.

The meal includes a vegetable and a protein, meat, of some kind. Accommodations can be made for students who are vegetarians. Sometimes a vegetarian-friendly meal will be offered at the same time as the other meal featuring a meat product.

"I'd pay the cost for a nicely-made vegetarian meal," freshman speech communications major Jessica Miller said.

The premium entrée plate is served on catering china. It is prepared in a way similar to a restaurant line, where the meal is ordered and it makes its way down a line with each item added then passed along until it's delivered to the student who ordered it.

Students pay the extra cost for the one time meal, but still have their pick of the other food in the cafeteria. The costs of the meals will vary depending on what type of meat is being served, the highest thus far being a steak meal costing $5.

"It won't always cost $5," Offerle said. "It's more expensive because of the steak. The vegetarian meal may cost $3.00, but it'll always be a round number. We're not trying to make money, we're just trying to break even and not lose any money."

The first Reward Yourself meal in February was a success with approximately 35-40 meals sold; however, the second meal in February sold only about 20 meals.

"Students didn't have as much disposable income," Offerle said. "I was disappointed with the second one, because we had the advertisement out there."

The advertisement for the Reward Yourself program was successful, and many students were aware of its existence.

"I went to the cafeteria when they had it one time, and they offered it to me," sophomore design communication major Kevin James said.

The monetary aspect, however, plagues students.

"Well I would [pay for it] if I ever had the money when they do it. I love steak!" James said.

Sodexo's program is in place to please students and offer them a choice out of the ordinary.

"If [students] don't have the money, I can't fault them on that," Offerle said.

The program is a part of the Sodexo experience at Texas A&M University-Commerce as well as other schools. The next Reward Yourself program opportunity is Tuesday, March 23.

"We don't want to disrupt the students, because there are some [students] who don't like it when we try to change things up and take away the pizza," Offerle said. "We don't want to take away their creature comforts."

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