The Canteen Competition Is on: University College Zealand (UCSJ) Invites RUC Students Inside

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Several students at RUC are unsatisfied with RUC´s only canteen, and instead they choose the one at UCSJ, which gladly welcomes its neighbour´s costumers.

Karoline Graulund Nøhr is co-author of this article.

Hvad RUC-kantinens salatbar (tv) mangler i æstetik i forhold UCSJ's (th) gør den op for med udvalg. Foto: Marcel Fard og karoline Graulund Nøhr

What RUC´s canteen lacks in aesthetics (left) in comparison to UCSJ (right), it gains in selection Photo: Marcel Mirzaei-Fard and Karoline Graulund Nøhr

“Too expensive, “poor selection”, “bad quality” and “too far to go” are just some of the reasons that RUC students give as to why they do not buy their food at the Green Café, which has run the only canteen at RUC since spring 2012.

Despite four empty plates, four students at the cafeteria´s tables have some points of criticism for the canteen.

“It is a bit expensive and a bit dull,” a male student says.

“I think that it is the price that matters to me. If I were to eat here every day, I wouldn’t be able to afford dinner,” he continues.

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The payment is based on trust in the new and modern UCSJ canteen. You pay at a touch screen at the exit. Photo: Karoline Graulund Nørh and Marcel Mirzaei-Fard.

All four students say that both price and quality are important factors as to why they often choose not to buy their food in the canteen and instead prefer to bring a packed lunch or another alternative.

And the price is not the only problem: If you have forgotten your packed lunch and would like to use the canteen, many people experience that they have to give up getting a meal because the queue is too long:

“During rush hour the canteen is packed. You really have to want it in order to get anything there,” a female canteen visitor says.

The long lines are due to the fact that the Green Café is the only canteen at campus, and thus has to service about 8,000 students and the staff of RUC. Alternatively, the hungry and poor students have to leave RUC and take the long walk to Brugsen, go to a café or a pizza place.

We do nothing – absolutely nothing – to attract RUC students. First and foremost, we are here for our own students. But maybe it is the smell that attracts the students from RUC.

There is, however, a new alternative which seems to entice more and more RUC students: University College Zealand´s (UCSJ) canteen.

Heretical RUC Students?

Sofie Kock, master student in Social Entrepreneurship and Management, believes that RUC´s canteen is too crowded and too expensive considering the quality. Consequently, she has visited the nearby canteen at UCSJ:

“It seemed more delicious, and there weren’t that many people, so you weren’t standing on each other´s feet,” she says about the canteen at the school next door.

Member of the canteen staff at UCSJ Lis Daugaard and her colleagues welcome Sofie Kock and other students of RUC:

“It is a business, so everybody can shop here,” she stresses and says that she services an increasing number of RUC students every day.

“We do nothing  –  absolutely nothing  –  to attract RUC students. First and foremost, we are here for our own students. But maybe it is the smell that attracts the students from RUC,” says a laughing Lis Daugaard.

Green Café: It Cannot Be Compared

Canteen coordinator Cepo Pusat is aware of his competitor, but dismisses the criticism of the price level:

“UCSJ supports their canteen by 25 Danish kroner a month per student. We don´t get any subsidiaries,” he says.

He has not experienced that RUC has less hungry students. On the contrary, it teems with students around the canteen´s latest addition: The salad bar. Nor is he worried that the Green Café should be denied their request of continuing as a canteen at RUC in the next bidding round in 2015. He even thinks about expanding the canteen with an extra section if everything goes well.

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The RUC canteen beats the UCSJ canteen by a long run when it comes to the selection of candy. And then there is beer. Photo: Karoline Graulund Nørh and Marcel Mirzaei-Fard.

The Canteen Is About More Than Food

The canteen is about more than price, selection and quality for the four students. The canteen should be a social gathering place, and that is in danger if UCSJ attracts more and more RUC students:

“It is too bad if RUC students go to UCSJ, because the canteen is a place where you meet. In the canteen you can meet up and discuss a difficult Habermas text or just have a beer,” he says.

And beer you can search high and low for in the canteen at UCSJ, because there, no alcohol is served.

FACT BOKS: Price Comparison 

RUC UCSJ
Mineral water (still) 13 kr. 11 kr.
Medium coffee 10 kr. 6 kr.
Coca Cola (50 cl.) 21,50 kr. 18 kr.
Sandwich 38 kr. (1/1 sandwich) 25 kr. (Make-Your-Own-sandwich)
Mathilde kakao (50 cl.) 14 kr. 15 kr.
Salad and buffet 8 kr. (pr. 100 gram) 25 kr. (Medium), 30 kr. (Large)

 

 

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