Chartwells quietly closes Resnik lunch options

As of Monday, April 4, Taste of India will be the only food vendor open for lunch in Resnik Servery, the main Resnik House dining room. Urban Revolution and Fresh52 will join Rooted as options offered exclusively from 5 to 9 p.m. The Egg Shoppe will absorb Wild Blue Sushi, and Cucina and Tahini will remain open during their normal hours.

The change came after the Undergraduate Student Senate released results from their dining survey. The sample, comprised of 14 percent of students, was split evenly between graduate and undergraduates. Only 23 percent of respondents agreed with the sentiment that, “Yes, I feel that I can make healthy choices when eating on campus.” Respondents wanted to see more plant-based, low-grease, culturally diverse, affordable, and Halal options.

Urban Revolution and Fresh52 are being replaced by an “all-you-care-to-eat” pilot program in Schatz, according to Chartwells Director of Operations Mike Tokarek. In an interview with The Tartan, he said that the new dining option will operate on a “trial-run basis.” Hamburgers, chicken tenders, french fries, and the salad bar will no longer be open for lunch in Resnik.

The all-you-care-to-eat program is the traditional dining style at Schatz for weekend brunch and weekday dinner. Opening the space for lunch was a response to Senate survey results, according to Tokarek. Survey data showed that requests for more vegetables and salads were over six times more common than requests for buffet dining.

Chartwells employees who have staffed the Resnik lunch space for years will be sent to new locations across campus. Some have not been told what their new responsibilities entail, one service worker explained to The Tartan. When asked if the employees would be relocated to another dining location, she said she did not know. Her attempt to stay at Resnik, expecting that the two The Egg Shoppe employees will be “bombarded,” was unsuccessful.

The service worker, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed the difficulty of having to reorient to a new space, job, and group of people. “This is like family,” she said of her Resnik coworkers. “When you’ve worked with someone for more than four years it’s more than just work … I have to look at it like a job, but this is like my family — four years!” She will also miss the students. “Some of the kids that come here — I’m like their nana,” she said.

Senate data reflected that the majority of students are not satisfied with the quality or affordability of food at Carnegie Mellon. The Red Plan is 145 percent more expensive than the average college meal plan. According to Tokarek, who helps decide pricing, Entropy+ prices are 15 to 50 percent higher than the amount Chartwells pays for inventory.

Seventy seven percent of non-first-year undergraduates said they were not on a meal plan, while 76 percent of first-years said they were on the Red Plan, the cheapest option available to all first-years.

Undergraduates’ favorite dining locations are Au Bon Pain, The Exchange, Hunan Express, and La Prima (Wean), which respectively received 533, 449, 445, and 359 votes. Students could select multiple locations for this question.

The Senate hopes to improve meal plans, Entropy+’s produce supply, and off-campus DineX options. In 2017, student leadership led an unsuccessful campaign to include Chipotle as a DineX vendor. In 2021, the Senate fell short on efforts to pair DineX with Roots, Piada, and Choolah, all of which are included on Pitt dining dollars.

Chartwells’ contract with Carnegie Mellon will expire in 2024, at which point the university will either decide to renew the partnership or choose a new dining vendor.