Appèl searches solution for closed canteens

In an attempt to offer sandwiches and drinks to students and staff members who come to the campus to study or sporadically work there, caterer Appèl came up with a novel idea. A mobile canteen where people can buy food on a small scale during the next two weeks. If proven successful, Appèl intends to professionalize the cart into pop-up canteens.

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photo Bart van Overbeeke

“This mobile food sale is a way to support students who will be studying these weeks for the coming exams,” says Sebastiaan Aarts, catering manager at Appèl. Until last Monday, students could only buy food at Hubble and the take away in MetaForum. Because he wanted to offer more but didn’t know where there was a demand for lunch food, the decision was made to deliver food during a test period. For this, a cart is used that previously served as decoration. Up to Friday next week, catering employees will visit MetaForum, Auditorium and Flux, the buildings where students can book a study seat.

Crowded Green Strip

During the past few sunny days, the ‘indoor’ cart was even transformed into an outdoor cart, in the form of an Appèl delivery van. Armed with a cool box, a mobile PIN-code reader and prepackaged food, Anneke van Rijswijk and her colleague Irma Krah went outside last Tuesday (see main photo), in the areas surrounding Atlas, MetaForum and Gemini. “It’s greatly appreciated,” Van Rijswijk says, “a student even told us that she had been looking for us.”

The cart offers a different variety of wraps, muffins, fruit, sandwiches and other such products every day. Soup hasn’t been on offer so far, but that can change. The campus is getting more crowded every day, in Van Rijswijk’s experience.  “There were people everywhere, from the Koeveld to Flux. It seemed as if things had gotten back to normal.” She herself is also ‘less terrified than a year ago,’ “but the fact that I’ve had my first vaccination shot also plays a role in that.” A fixed trajectory or time slot hasn’t been determined during the test period. “We will simply see how things go.”

One-and-a-half-meter distance

There are still corona coaches on the campus – both inside the buildings and outside – to make sure that everyone complies with the corona measures. Monique Kuyck, head of Operational Services & Location management, stresses that despite the nice weather, people still aren’t supposed to gather around picnic tables in groups of six.

Appèl came up with another way to be of service to students and staff members: the ‘oh Appy Day’ app. This allows people to pay for a packed lunch, which they can collect at the pick-up point in the canteen at MetaForum. “That location still has room for more customers,” Aarts says. “Appèl will deliver the order on bicycle to those people who work at the eastern side of the campus, in the Twinning building for example, as an extra service.”

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