UMass dining drawing criticism for being too good

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AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The award-winning food at UMass Amherst is putting them in direct competition with the restaurant industry.

UMass Dining Services told us their world class campus food program is loved by most of the students, but not everybody in the Amherst restaurant business.

Students are taking a bite out of the profits of Amherst restaurants.

Sophomore Sara Grazinai said, “It’s really good, and I’m usually on campus because I can swipe and I don’t really have any need to go off campus.”

Registered Dietitian Dianne Sutherland from UMass Dining Services told 22News, “Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus. They are already paying for the food; why should they off campus to eat? If they are living on campus, the meal plan is a requirement.”

The award-winning dining program at UMass has earned praise from the Princeton Review and even the White House.

UMass Chef Bob Bankert told 22News, “Mostly successful because we provide great food. Restaurant quality food to our students on a daily basis.”

Wednesday, students lined up for lunch at the Hampshire Dining Common, where they can fill their plate and stomachs with a wide variety of fresh, local, sustainable foods.

Meanwhile, in downtown Amherst, a more subdued lunch rush at The Lone Wolf. They told 22News they accept the off-campus meal plan and are always thinking of ways to attract students from UMass. The Lone Wolf’s Emily Shepard told 22News, “It’s a great program, but it’s also super expensive and it’s not accessible to a lot of students who tend to opt out of it, especially once they’ve moved off campus during their junior and senior years.”

Meal plans at UMass range from about $2,500 to $3,000 a semester.

The Lone Wolf told 22News they rely heavily on students from all five of the local colleges. Students make up about half of their business on weekends.

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