Brown Dining Services' new Club Plan meal option, which allows seniors to enjoy gourmet food at the Faculty Club, kicked off this year and attracted four subscribers.
The plan is offered exclusively to seniors on meal plan and has a minimum up-front cost of $249, which provides the subscriber with $200 of credit. The remainder is set aside for social activities that the Faculty Club will plan for its members, said Ann Hoffman, director of administration of Dining Services. The payment method "works similarly to the flex point category, but the credits are kept separate from the regular points," Hoffman said. The plan has no quotas and no deadline for signing up.
Students can add money to their accounts whenever they like by going to the Dining Services office and can check their account balance on Banner like regular Flex Points, Hoffman said.
Giving this possibility to seniors offers them a chance to meet with University administrators in a nice atmosphere within walking distance, with good food and reasonable prices, said Jon Land, president of the Faculty Club. "I just find that we are a very well-kept secret right now, and I hope that this club thing will really get the word out about how good we are at doing what we do," he added.
The offer is only for seniors to safeguard the exclusivity of the dining experience, according to Mary Hogan, general manager of the Faculty Club. The capacity of the dining area is about 200 people, including the outdoor patio.
The Faculty Club and Dining Services decided to set up the plan last May, thinking it would be nice to provide seniors with a meal option that would give them an enriching experience before leaving the University, Hogan said. The plan adds a fine dining component to Dining Services and often provides educational activities, such as book signings and chef demonstrations, she added.
The goal for the new plan is to introduce seniors to the Faculty Club and get them to join after graduation, Land said. "We want younger alumni to join the Faculty Club, to join as seniors but also to stay involved and continue to use it," he added.
The club's potential clientele is extremely large — "we committed to growing the program and making it a viable option for all seniors on meal plan," Hogan said.
A senior sitting in the Faculty Club for lunch can look forward to the same menu options as those offered to regular members — at an average cost of $13.50, Hogan said. In addition to the "a la carte" dining selection, which the directors change three times a year, subscribers can pay a fee to host events in specific rooms.
Though seniors can enroll in the plan at any time, Viet Le '10 said she would not consider doing so because she will graduate in two months. But, "if I had heard about it in the fall, I probably would have added it to my meal plan," she added.
Le said she already is a fan of the Faculty Club. "I only ate there once with my Meiklejohn adviser and I really enjoyed it."
Many underclassmen attend the Faculty Club already because of the advisee system, Land said. "I think the energy and vitality that undergraduates bring to a room makes it a more pleasant place to be."
Land said he is entertaining the possibility of expanding the plan to juniors in the future, which might target students more effectively. "Let's see how it works with the seniors, and then if there is demand, it could be extended," Land said.
The inclusion of juniors could occur as early as 2011, he added, but "there can be no guarantees."