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UCLan employees voice concerns as new cafe marks catering reshuffle

Posted on - 2nd November, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Education, Food & Drink, Preston News, UCLan, University campus
UCLan's Student Centre and University Square
UCLan’s Student Centre and University Square

UCLan has restructured its catering provision to include a new cafe that has opened in the Student Centre.

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As part of a university restructure conceived over 12 months ago, UCLan said it reviewed its in-house catering operation to ensure its food provision remained high quality and financially sustainable.

Café 1828, run by external supplier Gather and Gather, provides artisan coffee, baked goods and snacks and is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday-Friday.

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But despite concerns from the public over the potential loss of jobs, UCLan said it has retained most of its staff and ‘minimised’ the impact by offering voluntary exits and redeployment to other vacancies.

A university spokesperson said: “The university’s approach to this restructure was carefully considered at every stage.

“Today, UCLan retains a dedicated in-house catering team serving students and staff a wide range of food and beverage choices from its popular Harrington Refectory. In addition, lighter food options are available within the Foster Building cafĂ©, also run by UCLan’s in-house catering team.

“Separately, the university has appointed a specialised catering partner for its new Student Centre, which not only serves students and staff but also the general public.”

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Harrington Refectory recently launched a new menu following a research exercise and feedback from UCLan employees and students.

But UCLan employees took to the comment section of the original university press release to voice their concerns over the new hospitality provision.

One commenter said: “What a shame our outlets have closed to make way for big businesses. Our catering and hospitality teams do a fantastic job and seem to have been shelved for external companies.”

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Another said: “I see common sense has dropped off the new menu of university values. Popular catering outlets closed to feed a private franchise. Snackerama city.”

Another commenter said: “The revamp of menu choices in Harrington and the steep price rises have upset many students and staff.

“Being able to get a balanced hot meal of soup, fish, meat, and vegetables was so important for everyone. Really disappointed this has been scaled down and replaced with what are, in effect, snack options – very poor decision.”

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UCLan said after the closure of some catering outlets, they had a catering gap in areas of the Preston campus but have arranged pop-up outlets.

The pop-ups are hosted in the EIC Square by the Media Factory. These are in addition to existing catering outlets Foster Coffee Square and The Students’ Union CafĂ© and Union Shop.

During the pandemic, UCLan moved to a cashless campus for health and safety reasons, which they said proved successful and time-efficient, meaning the outlets will remain cashless.

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The pop-up outlets, hosted in the EIC Square during lunchtimes, are as follows:

  • Dough Boy – Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • Sourdough Toastie Company – Fridays
  • Really Awesome Coffee – Mondays and Tuesdays (starting November)

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