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2009年11月23日 (月)

知りたい:ようこそ、豪華三つ星学食へ 受験生の呼び水効果に、外食産業生き残り策も

(Mainichi Japan) November 22, 2009
知りたい:ようこそ、豪華三つ星学食へ 受験生の呼び水効果に、外食産業生き残り策も
From sushi to French cuisine, college cafeterias go upscale as competition heats up

Amid the ever intensifying competition for survival, college cafeterias are undergoing major changes in an attempt to attract more students, with some offering a conveyor-belt fresh sushi bar or an open-air Italian restaurant.
 オープンカフェでイタリアン、職人が新鮮なネタを握る回転ずし--。大学の食堂、学食が様変わりしている。味もなかなかとか。おすすめは? 【岡礼子、根本太一】

There are some 1,300 seats available at the food-court style cafeteria at Toyo University's Hakusan campus in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward. Students can choose from a wide variety of options offered at six eateries.

"We have either fried chicken or rice omelet here almost every day," said a first-year student. Indian curry with freshly baked naan bread is also popular among students at the college.

The most recommended dish at the Nippon Institute of Technology in Saitama Prefecture is the "Minori Sushi" lunch. The combination of its toppings changes depending on the fresh fish available for each day. Other popular menu items include rice bowls topped with raw fish, available from between 500 and 650 yen.

The college's sushi bar manager Hisao Yoneyama, 50, was headhunted by an official when he was working as an apprentice chef at a nearby sushi restaurant, and opened his own shop on campus in 1992.

The University of Tokyo boasts a French restaurant that opened in 2004. The special of the day costs 800 yen, a price relatively high for college students, but "students visit the French restaurant when they want to spoil themselves with a special treat," according to a restaurant employee.

Gakushuin University reformed the interior of its cafeterias two year ago, while outsourcing the operation to Seven and i Food Systems Co. There is a piano placed in the cafeteria of the women's college, allowing students to hold lunchtime piano concerts.

Meanwhile, some universities are promoting unique initiatives focusing on the environmental and social issues at their cafeterias.

Aoyama Gakuin University has started its "Table for Two" campaign this year. If students order one of the specials of the week priced at 480 yen, 20 yen will be donated to help children in developing countries. The campaign came about after negotiations between students and the cafeteria operator.

"We've studied about the international contributions college students can make, so we have put that into practice," said a senior student.

College cafeterias used to be considered a place for poor students; however, this does not hold true for universities today. Instead, cafeterias are playing a role as a special feature to attract new students to the university.
"As the country's birth rate continues to decline, universities are required to attract the attention of prospective students. At the same time, the food-service sector is trying to survive the economic downturn by advancing into colleges," said a PR representative of a major preparatory school.

Waseda University's Gakushoku Kenkyukai is a college club that researches cafeteria menus from universities across the country. Club representative Junichi Nakamura, 21, said that: "School cafeterias serve as a basis for college life. Students can find their friends there, and exchange information."

Furthermore, students can stay at the cafeteria for as long as they want.

"As many of the customers at school cafeterias are faculty members and neighboring residents, colleges can also expect advertising spin-offs from quality cafeterias," Nakamura said.

Not only private schools and but also national universities that have transformed into independent administrative agencies hope to win students by adding value to their cafeterias.

毎日新聞 2009年11月6日 東京夕刊


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