Continental’s Market Twenty 4 Seven opened Jan. 21 in the A Building and allows students and staff to purchase food any time the A Building is open.
Kelly Heinzerling, director of Auxiliary Services and Purchasing, said that the previous cafeteria catering company Kosch could not afford to keep operating at MCCC and had reconfigured to no longer provide catering services.
Originally, Kosch was set to leave MCCC by Sept. 27, Vice President of Administration Suzanne Wetzel said in an email.
This meant the cafeteria would have closed in the middle of the Fall 2019 semester.
“Given the timing of the notice and the college’s desire to be able to provide food service to the college community during fall semester, the college agreed to pay Kosch a $1,500 per month subsidy for four months,” Wetzel said.
Once the semester was over, Kosch officially departed from MCCC, leaving space for a different service.
“Instead of going down that (catering company) road again we thought we would try something new,” Heinzerling said.
Continental was a natural evolution as they already operate the vending machines across campus, she said.
In preparation, the college had to close and remodel part of the old kitchen, which cost $59,807. Other amenities were covered by Continental.
“The vendor paid for and is responsible to maintain all casework and equipment in the space,” Wetzel said in an email.
Wetzel said Continental’s initial investment for the equipment and maintenance was $39,440.
Unlike MCCC’s previous cafeterias, Market Twenty 4 Seven is a self-serve concept.
Patrons can choose from products including cold drinks, coffee, sandwiches, pastries and a variety of snack foods.
Once they have chosen their desired products, students and staff scan their items at the kiosks within the cafe.
Students and faculty can pay for their items with a credit card, debit card or a Market Twenty 4 Seven market card.
The kiosks also feature a fingerprint scanner that links your print to your market card account.
Market cards can be picked up in the cafeteria and activated at the kiosks with a name and an email address.
Once the user verifies their account, money can be loaded onto the card.
Card users receive 5% back on every dollar deposited into their market card.
When restocked, the items available will reflect the purchases made by students and staff.
Special requests can also be made by scanning the QR codes within the cafe.
“Your feedback matters as well,” said guest Experience Specialist Sarah Shock.
The larger window of time to visit the café has proven convenient for those on campus later in the day. “Even my midnight people have been using it,” said Jack Burns, director of Campus Planning and Facilities.
Students said they appreciate how quick the service can be.
The market setup allows for greater freedom of food services brought on to campus.
“I think what’s exciting about this is that it allows us an institution not to be constricted by catering services,” said President Kojo Quartey.
Some students said they like the new bright look of the cafe.
However, students and staff said they miss aspects of the old cafeteria.
For some, it was the hot meals.
“What I tended to eat at the old one was the hot food line, so I miss the loss of that,” said Doug Richter, who had designed the banner hanging above the cafe.
Others do not like the amount of premade items.
“In the old one you had more fresh stuff compared to the packaged stuff here,” said Brett Leonard, a MCMC student.
And for a few, it’s a lack of menu variety.
“You could get your hot meals and you could also get salads and some other choices which we don’t have anymore,” Quartey said.
While opinions are mixed on the new cafe, the one consensus from students to administration is that they miss french fries.