Ryerson to cut Tim Hortons locations on campus, change meal plans

Photo by Lisa Cumming. Tim Hortons locations, like in Kerr Hall pictured above, will begin closing this summer.

Starting this summer, Ryerson will begin closing all Tim Hortons locations on campus, the university announced Thursday.

The restaurant chain asked the university to spend between $250,000 to $300,000 per location to renovate the existing five Tim Hortons locations on campus.

“We get that [they’re] looking at their brand integrity, but what about us?” executive director of Ryerson University business services, Voula Cocolakis said.

As a result, Ryerson Eats decided to end licensing agreements with Tim Hortons beginning this summer. The ones in Kerr Hall and Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) will be closing, and the one in the Engineering Building will turn into a Starbucks self-serve. The two remaining Tim Hortons, in the Library Bridge and in the Hub, will be re-branded as Ryerson self and full-serve outlets, respectively.

The location at Victoria and Dundas is not a Ryerson location and will be staying.

“I respect the fact that there’s loyal Tims coffee drinkers and I’m sure there will be some people [who] will be unhappy to see that, but there are locations so close by, five within a very quick walking distance,” Cocolakis said.

She said that by re-branding as Ryerson outlets, there’s a new possibility for sourcing local coffee roasters and becoming a fair-trade campus in the future.

“We’re really excited about these changes because it’s going to give us an opportunity to come up with our own brand of coffee,” Cocolakis said. “We want to engage the community with the students and the faculty and staff, do some taste testings to get involved with how we brand our coffee, what kind of name do we come up with.”

Currently Cocolakis said that she’s not yet sure if more student jobs will be created as a result of the two new Ryerson-branded outlets, but she said that there “is no job loss” for current food services workers.  

More changes to student food services will be coming in the fall semester. Students with meal plans will be able to eat all they want and not worry about a cash balance, provided they eat in the Pitman or ILLC dining halls.

This new plan, the Pulse on Dining Meal Plan, is what Cocolakis calls the “all-you-care-to-eat” plan.

“Portions and snacking is really important to [students], as is convenience, so having an all-you-care-to-eat program allows students to come in and eat as much or as little as they want as many times as they want during the day,” Cocolakis said.

Related: (EDITORIAL) Campus food costs too much

Students will purchase the meal plan at the beginning of the year for one lump sum payment and then have unlimited access to the food in Pitman Hall and ILLC. There is one stipulation, she says, “you have to eat in the dining halls, there’s no take out,” meaning that students will be served plated meals and are expected to eat in the Pitman or ILLC dining halls.

With plated meals, Cocolakis said there will be less container and food waste, but she adds that a “campus-wide solution” is in the works to manage waste.

Part of the meal plan includes “flex dollars” for take-out food that will allow students to buy food on-the-go from retail operations on campus. 

“We think this new meal program plan really meets the needs of our students, what they’re looking for,” she says. “A lot of other schools are already doing this and doing this really, really well.”

A feature called “My Pantry,” where students will have access to ingredients to prepare their own meals, is also coming, as well as new food stations like the vegan/vegetarian station which includes gluten-free options.

“We do know that a lot of people do go off campus because there’s a lot of choice out there, but they also spend more money off campus than they do on campus,” Cocolakis said.

“We’re hoping by offering a different variety of menus and really focusing on that menu rotation we’ll encourage more people to stay [and eat] on campus.”

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