Back home in Indiana, my alma mater, Indiana University, used to house a McDonald’s in the Read Center dormitories.
Last May that McDonald’s closed. Let me impress upon you the historical importance of this facility. This was the only name brand chain which accepted residence hall meal points.
While living in adjacent Forest Hall, my floor-mates and I would frequent the Read McDonald’s (locally owned franchise) as often as 3 times per day. It wasn’t as though we were rabid McDonald’s fans. Given any ol’ Indiana suburban street filled with fast food chains as far as the eye can see, one would much prefer a hearty Taco Bell, Arby’s or Subway meal.
It was a matter of survival. The Read McDonald’s quite literally offered the best quality food at the lowest prices and fastest speed of any on-campus dining facility. And, it accepted meal points as a payment medium. As an on-campus resident, we were locked-in to the tune of a grand or so a year in the funny money known as meal points. No doubt about it, McDonald’s was the place to go.
So why rid the campus of the final bastion of hope for “quality” on-campus dining? (Quality defined as low-cost, efficient service, acceptable/reliable quality.) Answer: the university was losing money. McDonald’s management had aggressively negotiated such a low a meal point surcharge such that the University was not receiving enough income when compared to their in-house operations (all remaining meal points accepting facilities). The surcharge rate is not published. Every dollar spent at the Read McDonald’s could be interpreted as University revenue lost. (More specifically, Residential Programs and Service’s loss, part of a self-supporting University entity known as Auxiliary Services and Programs.)
This could suggest poor initial contract negotiation or change in conditions. The University unit may need more money, and perhaps students won’t protest change in dining facility. Or, student input may have said McDonald’s was no longer desirable and opted for University operated facility. But, I say we have lost an IUB campus treasure.
“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”