Ways to Help Increase Sustainability on Campus

On campus, the Cellar is a popular dinner spot known for its pizzas, ice cream, and late hours of operation. A current issue the Cellar is facing is the build-up of waste. Most people order their food “to-go”, getting their food in disposable cardboard pizza boxes and ice cream cups which causes a lot of trash.

One way that the Cellar helps promote ordering “for-here” instead of its counterpart, is by offering a 10% discount when you mention you would like your food in-house. Not many people do this, however, and people who eat in-house tend to order “to-go” despite this. There are ways of changing consumers’ perceptions so that more individuals will order in-house.

For starters, they should change the assumption of everyone ordering “to-go” to ordering “for-here” instead. Consumers should have to ask for a “to-go” box. This additional effort will cause more consumers to order in-house. People are forgetful and they don’t remember to ask for in-house ordering. The environment of the Cellar is built for social interactions. There is loud music, games, and group table seating. People don’t normally go there and eat by themselves, so when ordering their food people are normally interacting with their friends or distracted by the things happening around them which increases the probability of them forgetting to ask the cashier for an in-house order. Another important thing to note is that the 10% discount isn’t actively promoted. Cashiers don’t offer it; you must know about it by word of mouth. For new students especially, they might not even be aware of its existence. 

Instead of advertising a 10% discount for in-house orders, they should charge an additional 10% for “to-go” orders. They could keep the prices the same, but just change the way they promote it. Let’s say it is currently $2.70 for a “to-go” pizza and $2.43 for a “for-here” pizza. With the changed assumption of ordering in-house, the pizzas should start at a base price of $2.43 and a “to-go” price of $2.70. The reality is the price of the pizzas hasn’t changed at all, but consumers who order “to-go” will be a lot more discouraged. People view the negative impacts a lot stronger than the positive. So, the people who ordered according to the current or original Cellar system would view the $0.27 in savings as less impactful than the consumers who’d pay the additional $0.27 in the altered model.

The whole idea of these proposed changes is that when people don’t think fully about their orders, either because they are distracted or they simply forget, the new Cellar system would better support more environmentally friendly practices. Other food locations on campus could also follow in-suite with these practices, but it gets more difficult, especially with the cafes. People are normally in more of a rush and they want to quickly grab their drink then leave. The cafes on campus could adopt the 10% discount policy which fits their consumers’ parameters better. The discount wouldn’t alter most consumers’ costs, but those who choose to stay and drink their coffee in-house (or bring their own mug) would get that additional benefit. Regardless of whether these policies are actually implemented, there needs to be more publicity towards “in-house” ordering. Cashiers should be asking consumers or mentioning the discounts to them and there should be more posters/signs so that the social atmosphere changes to where more students are ordering in-house.  

One Reply to “Ways to Help Increase Sustainability on Campus”

  1. Flipping the pricing like that does seem like a good idea. Do you think a reason why “in-house” ordering isn’t promoted more is that dining institutions perceive it to be “easier” to deal with trash rather than cleaning/dealing with dishes?

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