New Chipotle opts out of meal plan

File photo

File photo

by Michelle Monroy

Residence hall communities at San Diego State are upset that the recently opened Chipotle in Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union is not available on the school’s meal plan.

Some students have created their own speculations on social media as to why Chipotle is excluded from the meal plan. They have created the Twitter hashtag #chipotleonplan to show their discontent for the situation.

Students on Facebook mainly questioned why SDSU would agree to have Chipotle in the new student union if it was not accepting meal plans.

Aztec Shops Contracts Administrator, Debbie Burchianti said Chipotle notified Aztec Shops prior to opening of its final decision to not accept meal plans. Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold said Chipotle compensated some students with free meals because of the confusion of whether or not the restaurant would be included on the meal plan.  Since then, Chipotle has put up signs to inform students that it isn’t part of student meal plans.

“I think it’s unfair that they moved Chipotle into the union because it’s not on the meal plan and they could’ve put something else there that was on meal plan,” journalism freshman and campus resident Victoria Ruiz said.

Aztec Shops gives restaurants the option to accept meal plans as part of the standard lease agreement. According to Burchianti Chipotle is the first restaurant on campus to opt out of the meal plan option.

She said a restaurant is charged a fee of roughly 10 percent to accept the meal plan; the fee varies according to how long the restaurant has been on campus, its location and other elements. The fee is used to support the meal plan program, Burchianti said.

“The primary reason that we are not accepting the meal plan at this time is that the rates are just too high to make it a feasible part of our partnership,” Arnold said.

Chipotle was selected as one of the restaurants for the student union after feedback from Dining Services surveys.  According to the surveys, the SDSU community ranked Chipotle high on desirability, and it fit the sustainability model of the student union.

“If they decided tomorrow that they wanted to be a part of it, we would put into action the plan and devices and everything that would be required to get them up and running, but it really is their decision,” Burchianti said.

Arnold explained that Chipotle would be willing to reconsider.

“We have programs with other universities and we’d like to work with SDSU if the managing entity lowers the fees,” Arnold said.

The next restaurant to open in the student union is Oggi’s Pizza Express, which is tentatively set to open in April and will be on the meal plan.

Burchianti said Oggi’s Pizza Express will serve beer and wine to students that are 21 and older but their alcohol menu will not be included on the meal plan. There will be separate spaces and registers for alcohol and food purchases, Burchianti said.

 Staff Writer Jessica Santos contributed to this article.

Photo by Megan Wood, Staff Photographer