All the reasons a la carte dining options make sense:

-You eat what you buy (meaning you throw less away and there’s less waste).

-A la carte means that every meal you eat can be customized to fit your specific wants and needs.

-When the buffets are open during non-meal times, more food has to be thrown away because there is less demand for the food, which creates unnecessary waste. The food cannot be donated because food banks and shelters do not accept food that has been exposed to the air.

-More food options can be offered with a la carte. Meaning Miami Dining gets to be creative with their menus.

-Higher end options (like the lobster tail at Bell) can be offered in a la carte locations because food, like lobster tail, at a buffet doesn’t really make sense.

-Food from a la carte locations can be taken to-go and enjoyed anywhere.


  1. John Patterson says:

    And on the flipside, the reasons it doesn’t:

    –The cost per item is much more expensive, since food can be produced with less labor in larger quantities. The students end up paying twice as much for the same amount of protein/nutrition.

    –The lines aren’t impossibly long as they are at many non-buffet venues. Buffets are designed to feed a lot of people quickly. Students have busy days. Encouraging them to grab a quick lobster tail in-between classes isn’t necessarily the best food choice.

    –You only eat what you wish; and if you are still hungry, you may go back for seconds.

    –Fast food is fast food. Nutrition is important as is a balanced meal that includes the proper amount of protein, vegetables, fiber and some dairy if desired. You don’t always get this from an a la carte operation due to time, cost and menu limitations.

    –Why would a buffet be open during non mealtimes? That is something that a la cart operations should be doing since they should be servicing on demand snacking.

    –Forecasting demand to avoid waste is a normal foodservice activity; every restaurant in the world does this, including buffets.


  2. pm says:

    you eat what you buy? at buffet i fill my plate with what i want and eat it…, at a la carte, i (can usually) get what i want but probably not in proportions i want. what if i want 1/2 of two things?
    and how does having an a la carte menu allow staff to server more options?


  3. shirl says:

    It is the duty of the college food service industry to serve the masses in a timely and efficient manner. Buffet style dining lends to this. Extreme waste is not the result of the type of dining, rather a result of poor planning after statistical analysis of food consumption. ie. why make 10pounds of pasta when statistics prove 5 will do? Do you prepare the same amount of food on a Sunday as you would on a Wednesday. Careful analysis would allow for food preparation in appropriate portions to avoid waste. Ala carte dining has a place and time…inbetween meal snacking, late hour food cravings etc. It should not be the mainstay in a college setting.


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