Eating out of vending machine for five years

Vending machines in the College Union building on the Washington Street campus replaced the cafeteria.

Last May, Amarillo College re-bid its contract with Custom Foods, which is the company that provides AC with vending machines in the former Washington Street Campus cafeteria.
It is a five-year contract stating that Custom Foods is the only company that will feed students on campus during that time, said Lynn Thornton, director of administrative services/human resources.
Thornton said when the cafeteria was open, the school lost around $100,000 a year on it. The cafeteria and has been closed since May 2011.
“We couldn’t afford to do that anymore, so that was the reason we decided not to renew the contract with the company who ran the cafeteria,” Thornton said.
“When we had a cafeteria, we approached several fast-food restaurants about coming in, because we knew the cafeteria was going to close,” he said. “At that time, none of them were interested.”
Now, Thornton said Taco Villa, Chic-fil-A and a restaurant in Bushland have expressed interest in serving AC students, but the contract with Custom Foods prevents AC from accepting any offers.
If those restaurants want to serve food to the students, they will have to serve it from the street, Thornton said.
“The streets are public,” he said. “I can’t tell them they can’t do that, but they cannot come on AC property. That will violate our contract.”
Vanessa Muncy, a nursing major, said she misses the cafeteria because the food was fresh and not packaged.
“Even though the vending machine is handy, it doesn’t seem that healthy,” Muncy said. “I try to stay away from them. They’re a last resort. But I do like the coffee machine. It makes good coffee.”
Muncy said she has lost money in the machine.
“The idea of a food truck coming to the school with fresh food would seem a little healthier, but not much,” she said.
Matthew McGuire, a business and computer major, said there should be healthier options.
“These machines are just convenient,” he said. “The items that seem healthy really aren’t, because they’re made from processed meat with preservatives, and you have to microwave it.
“Nothing in there is healthy. But it’s convenient for somebody who doesn’t want to leave campus and lose their parking spot.
“They should show that they care for our health. I cannot rely on Cokes to help me study.”

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