Students Give New CMU-Q Cafeteria High Marks

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Students Give New CMU-Q Cafeteria High Marks

By Nayab Malik

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Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

Students at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar returned from winter break in January to find their building’s cafeteria area completely redone—mosaic tiles had replaced white walls, a sleek freezer had taken over for the older refrigerators and a red carpet welcomed students to a new buffet lunch set-up.

The new cafeteria includes a full buffet that consists of salad, soup, a main course, a selection of fruits and other snacks for a total of approximately 26 riyals for a full meal.

Al-Dana catering, a catering company which already serves cafeterias in Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, the students residence halls, and the Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Centre, replaced Carnegie Mellon’s previous caterer, The Deli Express.

The catering service was replaced because students had allegedly complained about the quality of food being served, said students. However, nobody in Qatar Foundation was able to comment on this.
The new caterer’s glossy menus, condiment racks and uniformed staff left most students saying they were impressed with the change.

“I’m actually really happy with the change in cafeterias. Most people are really making a big deal out of it, because maybe they have to budget more carefully, or save up more for food, but they’ve a lot more options available too,” said Mounir Sheikh, a freshman at CMU-Q.

“But I live off campus so maybe that’s why I can’t really relate to people who live on campus who eat here. I’d have to plan accordingly and budget but I’m happy with the quality of food,” he added.

The better food quality was a key component of students’ positive reactions toward the new cafeteria.
Khalid Allouba, a senior at CMU-Q, said that the food in the new cafeteria was really good and the prices were fair.

“I think I appreciate the quality enough that I wouldn’t have a problem paying more for it,” he said.

But prices still seemed to be an issue to some as many other students said they wouldn’t mind getting their old cafeteria back because the food was cheaper.

“I like the change in the cafeteria. It looks more professional; they bring you the tray and everything. But the only problem I have is that it’s expensive. Most items are double the price as last time. For example, pasta with toppings is 27 Qatari riyals,” said Sharjeel Khan, a freshman at CMU-Q.

“And I think for people living in the dorms, this is a difficult change. Most of them are international students and have to earn for themselves. They shouldn’t have to pay this much for food everyday,” he said. Many students are employed around campus to be able to pay for daily expenses such as food.

Rosel Ragasa, the supervisor for the cafeteria in CMU-Q, said that Qatar Foundation agreed upon the prices and gave the Al-Dana company a contract to run the cafeteria.

“We know we have the highest prices among the other canteens, but you have to consider the good quality of food, the service that we’re giving, and the atmosphere we have created,” said Ragasa.

The cafeteria is open from 6 am until 7pm on weekdays and closed on the weekend.

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