Chartwells brings change heading into their second year as Boise State’s dining provider 

Photo by Taya Power-Thornton

Chartwells Higher Ed is entering their second year with Boise State dining as the campus food provider.

After 16 years with Aramark, Boise State announced on Jan. 28, 2022 they would be partnering with Chartwells to provide food on campus, and made the official transition on July 1.

Chartwells came into their partnership with high ambitions to make food more accessible to students and make the dining experience much easier. 

Some of the most notable changes to campus dining are the food establishment changes and rebranding. The Interactive Learning Center (ILC) branded their dining location the “208 Market and Kitchen”.

Inside the 208 Market and Kitchen, Meraki Greek Street Food was added and Papa John’s was replaced by Sizzlin’ Stone Pizza. Although Boise State Dining originally planned to add Meraki Greek Street Food, they did not originally plan on replacing Papa John’s. 

The Arbiter previously reported in August 2022 that Boise State Dining intended to keep Einstein Bagels, Papa John’s and Panda Express in the ILC.

Boise State Dining also made changes in the Student Union Building (SUB), adding Hissho Sushi and replacing Moe’s Southwest Grill with La Tapatia.

Unlike Papa John’s, Boise State Dining planned to replace Moe’s Southwest Grill, but in August 2022 they said it would be replaced with Sous Vide Kitchen and not La Tapatia.

The SUB also changed its dining hall’s name from “Boise River Cafe” to “Buster’s Kitchen” and their market’s name to “Market at Boise State University”.

One of Boise State Dining’s biggest goals last year was to make dining digital and more convenient throughout campus. 

“In our minds, technology equals convenience,” former Boise State Dining director Ben Southard said. “Students, faculty and staff alike have busy schedules and many demands on their time … If we can ease a little stress in your day, or free up even 10 minutes to eat with a new friend, we’re successful.”

Because of this, Boise State Dining added ordering kiosks and vending machines around campus. 

The ordering kiosks are located in both the ILC and the SUB. The kiosks in the ILC are used to place orders for Panda Express, Meraki Greek Street Food and Sizzlin’ Stone Pizza, and the SUB kiosks are for Tree City Juice & Smoothie Cafe, Subway and Hissho Sushi. 

The plan to add vending machines did not pan out as well as they expected, however.

The vending machines were supposed to be placed around campus to eliminate “food deserts”— areas on campus with limited food options. The vending machines would dispense fresh salads, sandwiches, sushi and wraps while another machine would heat and serve a variety of hot entrees. 

One of the aforementioned “food deserts” that added a vending machine was Towers Hall.

“I did not use the vending machine with sandwiches often because they were stale and sometimes the cheese in the snack boxes tasted expired or weird,” said sophomore Bella Whetstone.

Whetstone lived in Towers Hall her freshman year.

The Towers Hall vending machine contents have not been an issue this year because they are empty, according to freshman Rachael Madden. Madden currently lives in Towers Hall.

The vending machines were supposed to eliminate any inconveniences students may have acquiring food in certain locations, but some students do not believe Boise State Dining has done a great job at this.

“Chaffee Hall has a market that has stuff like mac and cheese and burgers,” Madden said. “I think they should open something like that near Towers because we don’t have anything like that.”

Madden continued to talk about how her meal plan includes meal swipes, but there are no convenient and easily accessible places for her to use her meal swipes.

“You can’t use your Bronco card for the vending machine so you have to use your own money,” Madden said. “I think the market or the vending machines should include meal swipes but I know it would be tough to figure out the details our for that.”

Boise State Dining and Chartwells still intends to make changes to improve the dining experience this school year.

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