New lunch policy balances waste and convenience

Burke changed its lunch policy to limit the amount of wasted food, making a trimester pass the only option. 

Last year, students had an option to pay six dollars daily, to pay $275 to sign up for lunch every day of a trimester, or to pay $30 for a punch card which included 5 lunches. The change to only using the trimester passes occurred because of the amount of food that was being wasted

“So the way the plan works is that we have to actually buy a number of lunches every day from the catering service. If we don’t sell them, the food gets wasted, but Burke has to take on those losses from the food we can’t sell,” said Matt Seiler, Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations. 

During the summer, Seiler felt that as a result of wasted food, a new lunch policy was necessary. “Number one, what’s currently in play [last year] no longer works,” he said, “So either Burke is going to do no lunch or we’re going to try and do something along these lines.”

Some students find flaws in the new lunch policy, however. “I don’t really agree with it; I think you should be able to buy lunch,” said Will Mellen ‘24. “[A trimester pass] makes it easier for some people but some people have to get lunch on certain days and not on other days.”

Seiler said he has not seen widespread issues arising as a result of the change. “The concept is highly problematic, but the reality is actually not problematic, at least from what I’m hearing,” he said. 

Seiler also realizes the potential for individual problems, but felt this was manageable compared to the major problem of wasted food. “Rather than have fifty unsold lunches, I would rather take the risk of having three people who needed lunch that day to try and figure that out,” he explained.  

The trimester pass system is also intended to be more efficient, because it is simply a list of names for an adult to check off. However, some students have encountered a minor problem. “It’s nice being able to just go down and just say my name, but they never remember my name, sadly,” said Mellen.