The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Accent Foods incorporates self-service market at Brooks Campus

Accounting senior Camille Washington uses a credit card to pay for her items at the Avanti kiosk machine.

Representatives from Accent Foods will continue signing up users of the Avanti Market 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m today and Sept. 22 at Brooks City-Base Campus.

The market, owned by Texas-based Accent Foods, is a self-service food operation being piloted at the Brooks City-Base location, Rick Trefzer, assistant vice president for finance and administration, said in an email to the campus community.

The Avanti Market, located near the outdoor courtyard, is the first of its kind at a university in Texas, James McQuade, assistant director of procurement services, said. The area, containing several food racks and refrigerated kiosks, is stocked with over 300 items, ranging from sandwiches, frozen dinners and ice cream to cold drinks and non-prescription pain relievers. Frozen items can be heated in the microwave in the break room located across from the market.

The prices of the items sold in the market are placed on the outside of the coolers and on the windows bordering the indoor market. Prices range from $1 for Cheetos, $2 for Snickers Ice Cream, $2.29 for frozen dinners, $5.50 for club salads and $1.35 for sodas.

The self-service system is intended for customers to choose items and pay at the kiosk without having to go through a cashier.

How it Works

All members of the campus community can ask for an Avanti card at the front desk of Brooks Campus. “If you sign up, $2.00 will be automatically loaded on your key tag,” Trefzer said.

Cardholders can add money to the Avanti card at the kiosk machine by scanning the Avanti Market key tag and inserting cash. Customers can also use  a direct payment method by using Visa, MasterCard or Discover cards.

While refrigerated and frozen items are stored in upright storage devices, other items, such as chips, are stored in the open. To prevent theft, The Avanti Market is equipped with cameras that monitor purchasing.

When purchasing items, students are held to this university’s student code of conduct section 203 regarding theft of public or private property or services.

About 600 students at Brooks City-Base Campus have signed up to use a new self-serve food service system, McQuade said.

“The market is user-friendly,” information technology junior Santos Salinas said. “I just wish they would make the Avanti card the size of a credit card so I won’t lose it so easily.”

McQuade said he was aware of the limited food services available at Brooks Campus compared to food services offered at Main Campus.

“Our goal is to make each location as equal as possible for food services and be price conscious for our students,” he said.

Both campus locations secured new vendors at the start of the term.

Fresh Horizons, a local catering company, began contracting with the university in early September to provide daily food services for the Main Campus Building.

In a Sept 6 memo circulated to faculty and staff, Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier said “…the university issued multiple national requests for proposals (RFPs) to find a food vendor for the new campus location” but “due to vendor concerns regarding the number of customers, amount of space and the split nature of our campus community, we received no replies until Fresh Horizons.”

McQuade said the lack of a cafeteria and kitchen facility at Brooks Campus building was reason enough for the procurement office to look for different ways to get food services onto that campus location.

“There are no set monthly volumes of purchases to meet for the Avanti Market to stay on campus”, McQuade said. “The main thing that would cause them leave is if there was a high volume of theft going on in the market.”

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