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Meal Plans

wilde1969wilde1969 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
edited September 2013 in Florida State University
Hi

I'm a bit confused about the meal plans offered at FSU. Can anyone tell me if there is a meal plan I should steer away from?

I really don't want to waste any money on something that will be TOO much for me.
Normally, I eat 4 times a day. Not a whole lot in proportion but I like to eat 4 or 5 times through out the day.

would the 7 Day All Access Plus meal plan be the best?

Also, this meal plan is per semester right? So a $2000 meal plan would only cover one semester? or does it cover both fall and spring? I read that it's a 2 semester contract... So would I have to again pay $2000 for the following semester?
Post edited by wilde1969 on
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Replies to: Meal Plans

  • Matt125Matt125 Registered User Posts: 762 Member
    You should steer away from all of them. Aramark's meal plans are a ripoff, and they increase the magnitude of ripoff at a pace faster than that of inflation.

    For prior analysis on Aramark's ripoff meal plans, check out my thread from last year: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/florida-state-university/1140468-new-meal-plan-prices-released-buyer-beware.html

    This year, they've gotten rid of all the cheaper meal plans. I guess the figured while they have 6 residence halls worth of college kids by the ****, might as well milk them for all they're worth?

    Unlimited meal plans are expensive, you will get very sick of the low quality food, and you will want to eat elsewhere but will feel guilty because you paid a ton.

    In reality, you won't want more than 10 meals per week from the unlimited places, and the other 4 meals, either one of the other on campus places or off campus.
  • NoletteNolette Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    I didn't think it was possible, but the prices this year are even worse.

    There are now 3 variations of unlimited plans, and 2 block choices.

    The least expensive unlimited plan, at $1999, includes $150 FlexBucks. The only "discount" I see is that the "7 Day All Access Plus" saves you $49 by charging you only $151 more for $200 extra FlexBucks. I'm guessing that's why they refer to the "Plus" plan as the "Most Economical Membership".

    The absolute worse deal of all time has to be the "7 Day All Access Premium" which gives you unlimited meals plus $500 FlexBucks for $2350, an upgrade of the "7 Day All Access Plus" which is unlimited meals but with only $350 FlexBucks for $2150.

    If you do the math, you will see that they are charging $200 more for the same meal plan with only $150 more FlexBucks included. That has to be the ultimate ripoff! You would think someone from FSU administration would be approving these meal plan prices to make sure they make sense. THEY SHOULD AT LEAST MAKE SENSE, AND NOT INSULT OUR INTELLIGENCE!

    Scroll down to the middle of the page to see all the plans.

    Welcome to CampusDish at Florida State University!

    Here's their updated marketing tool:

    http://www.seminolediningmobile.com/mpinfo/2012-mpinfo.pdf
  • SweetheartCrocSweetheartCroc Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    I have never heard anyone say anything good about the meal plans.
  • Matt125Matt125 Registered User Posts: 762 Member
    I noticed that as well Nolette. I think they have that meal plan in place such that if you purchase it, they force you to take remedial math classes. No way you're ready for even college algebra if you can't realize that you shouldn't pay $200 for $150 dollars worth of something that expires in a year.

    And nobody says anything good about meal plans because people usually don't take kindly to scams... which Aramark's meal plans are.
  • wtztuwtztu Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    don't buy one if you don't have to. My son hated the meals and there were huge lines to get sandwiches. he ended up eating pizza there a lot. If you have to buy one buy the cheapest.
  • PasbalPasbal Registered User Posts: 1,963 Senior Member
    I had a meal plan for the first two years I was at FSU. The food isn't great- and it is EXTREMELY repetitive, especially if you tend to only go to one of the two buffet-style places in Fresh Food and Suwannee Room.

    Now, what is amazing to me is that meal plans then weren't anywhere near as expensive as they are now. This is mostly because Aramark completely redid their meal plans last year, and the least expensive one was nearly $2000 a semester- whereas the two years before, even the most expensive meal plans were right around $2000/semester.

    If you're not required to buy a meal plan, I highly recommend not doing so. Unless they changed the prices of meals (and they very well could have, since it's been almost 15 months since I was in one of the two main dining facilities), it actually might be cheaper to just pay per meal than it is to get a meal plan- and I'm not kidding there.

    The biggest drawback, in my opinion, to the meal plans isn't necessarily the price, but more that if you get a meal plan for Fall, you also have to buy one in Spring. If you find that the meal plan sucks, you're still locked in to spending almost $2000 in Spring. It's a better idea to NOT get a meal plan in Fall, figure out whether you want one in Spring instead, and go from there. Price though is definitely the second biggest drawback to them, in my opinion.
  • wilde1969wilde1969 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Thank you guys for your inputs! I looked into the link that Matt125 posted. From what I've read, Garnet bucks are the way to go? Since they give you a 50 cent discount, no?

    And fortunately I don't have to get a meal plan cause I have to dorm at Rogers hall
  • NoletteNolette Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    If you look at the meal plan brochure, this is what they say about the value:

    Breakfast Lunch Dinner
    with cash $6.99 $7.99 $10.99
    with pass $5.21 $5.21 $5.21

    Look how much you can save!
    Three meals a day for one semester w/o: $3000
    Three meals a day for one semester with: $1800

    See the second link in my post (#3) above.

    I have no idea how they can justify this.
  • Matt125Matt125 Registered User Posts: 762 Member
    wilde, for the past three years, there has been a 50 cent discount at the dining halls when paying with garnet or flex bucks. My advice is that garnet bucks is the way to go. If you go to the mealplan place 10 times per week (five lunches, five dinners), you will pay (7.50+10.50)*16 Weeks*5 Days = $1440. If I am not mistaken, they also usually offer a buy so many flexbucks, get 10 percent free at the beginning of the year. At the end of the semester, expect some form of discount at the meal plan places as well (last year they had $5 meals which really screwed over the mealplan people).

    The way Aramark justfies the $5.21 per day is by dividing 1800 by three times the number of days between the opening and closing of the residence halls (115 days). The main fault in this analysis is that the plans also come with flexbucks (which are in addition to the $1800), meaning you are not eating at the dining halls every meal. If you did eat at the dining halls every meal (which you won't), you would have no way to use your flexbucks, they would expire at the end of the year, though you still paid full or premium price for them.

    Other faults:

    1. Are you going to eat at the dining halls 3 times a week during opening week?
    2. It assumes you never go home. Thanksgiving break?
    3. Not just when you use flexbucks, but you will want to go to off-campus places with friends. Are you really going to say "sorry, I have a mealplan?"

    My favorite is the premium on flexbucks. LOL. That's a new low, even for Aramark... the company that forces you to throw away unopened water bottles at football games.
  • PasbalPasbal Registered User Posts: 1,963 Senior Member
    If you're living in Rogers, there's a "kitchen" in every apartment. You can cook your own food. It's not like the freshman dorms where you might only have two kitchens in the entire building (or, if you're lucky, have one on each floor).
    For about $200-250 a month, you can go to any local grocery store (Publix, Winn-Dixie, Save-A-Lot, Walmart, etc) and get your food to prepare in your apartment. If you aren't going to cook all the time (and really, who wants to?) then you could buy the meals as you need them at either of the two locations on campus.

    I highly recommend NOT buying a meal plan, and just buying Garnet Bucks like you thought. Not only do you get the 50 cent discount (and I believe, you don't pay tax, so it would be a straight up $X.49 price, not $X.99 + tax), but you avoid the hassle of having to get a meal plan, and you free yourself to cook as well. There are buses that have stops right across the street from both Winn-Dixie and Publix (if you don't have a car). It's really easy.

    Plus, they do offer Garnet Buck promotions all the time- at least once a semester. Sometime between now and September, there will most likely be a promotion that if you buy $300 in Garnet Bucks, you get at least 10% extra.

    No one mentioned the hours of the dining facilities. What if you have a hankering for something at the just downright awfully late hour of midnight? The only places that will be open on campus will be the Starbucks in Strozier (a 10-15 minute walk from Rogers) and Denny's (a 10-15 minute walk). The latest either buffet style place is open is like 10 or 10:30 at night- and don't dare trying to go there later than about 7 on a Friday or Saturday, because they'll be closing down (they aren't open except till like 7:30). Or if you want an "early" breakfast at 9:30am on Saturday, they aren't open either.

    So unless you're planning on eating 3 hours between 10:30am and 7:30pm on Saturday, you're not going to be taking full advantage of your Unlimited meal plan.
  • Matt125Matt125 Registered User Posts: 762 Member
    ^Another great point.

    I'm writing an email to Seminole Dining now actually. I want to see how they respond to my claims that their plans are deceiving and/or scammish.
  • FSUDAD1FSUDAD1 Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    My son, who actually somewhat likes the dining hall fare (especially lunches at the Figg), chose a freshman dorm (Wildwood) that didn't require a meal plan. He utilized Garnett Bucks exclusively for on-campus meals and it worked out great for him. With his housing this year at Traditions he plans to take advantage of the in-unit kitchen, especially for breakfasts and some lunches, and to again use Garnett Bucks for on-campus meals.
  • wilde1969wilde1969 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Garnet bucks it is then :-) Thank you all again. I'm very glad I thought about asking here about the meal plans first rather than buying it. I was THIS close, haha!
  • Matt125Matt125 Registered User Posts: 762 Member
    If I can dissuade just one person from being scammed by Aramark, then I have contributed something positive to this community! Just another tip, they sometimes offer a discount on Garnet Bucks if you bulk order at the beginning of the year. There is no rush to buy your garnet bucks now since the price is 1 to 1 anyways, so wait on it.
  • FSUDAD1FSUDAD1 Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    Last year I received emails from Seminole Dining about the GarnetBucks 10% discount offer. The Fall notice came on October 21st and the Spring notice came on February 7th.

    The below verbiage was included-

    ~Greetings!

    Now's your chance to get more out of your GarnetBucks!

    From October 24th to November 7th, buy $300 or more GarnetBucks and get 10% extra free!

    That's $30 extra on $300, $50 on $500, and so on! Everyone likes a little extra in their pocket!~

    Handy that they explain how a 10% discount works to college students and their parents. :)
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