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Students React to New Kiosks at Hillside Cafe

Chloe Chaple walked into Hillside Cafe on Monday morning to find the entrance to the service area replaced by self-ordering kiosks.

“I was so shocked,” Chaple, MCAS ’25, said. “It was so disturbing to see, because you can’t socialize in line, you can’t get your own coffee, you can’t choose your own fruit, your own croissant.”

According to Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Patricia Bando, the kiosks were brought to Hillside on Monday to reduce foot traffic in the food service area.

“On Monday, March 11, BC Dining Services converted the Hillside Shop into a 100% kiosk ordering service with hopes of expediting services without the huge queue lines in the servery,” Bando said in a statement to The Heights.

Bando did not respond to the question of whether or not BC Dining plans to implement kiosks at other dining halls on campus in the near future.

Kristina Li, MCAS ’25, said she waited almost 30 minutes for her drink order, which she later learned was sold out when she asked one of the baristas.

“[The drink] was sold out, but I already paid,” Li said. “They never called my order number, and I waited about half an hour. When I asked why they did not call my number, they said it was sold out, but nobody notified me … they told me I could just pick a different drink.”

Li also said the space inside the old ordering area is no longer being used, which creates a crowd around the kiosks and tables.

“I think that the machines are not efficient because it makes more people gather outside without utilizing the space inside,” Li said.

Bando said the new ordering system is being actively monitored and BC Dining is open to customer feedback. 

“Given that it is only day three, we are still measuring the virtual order system,” Bando said in the statement. “We welcome customer feedback and will further assess how the Hillside operation progresses in the coming weeks.”

Bloch Wang, MCAS ’24, said the kiosks made it harder to indicate the specific customizations she wanted in her order.

“I don’t like it because I like to go there and talk to [the employees] and tell them what I want,” Wang said. “With this machine, we can’t do customizations. Also, I think it costs more time than if you just order it.”

Chaple also said she noticed a decline in the quality of the food at Hillside and was unhappy with what she received.

“At first I tried I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and I got my bagel,” Chaple said. “And it was terrible. It was smaller. It was whole grain. No warning. And honestly, I just think it kind of ruins the whole atmosphere.”

Camila Cora, MCAS ’25, said an important aspect of the cafe experience, which Hillside now lacks, is the ability to talk to others in line.

“I would emphasize the no socializing in line,” Cora said. “I feel like there’s a different vibe to Hillside and now everybody’s stressed because when is your food gonna be out?”

While it may take some time for students to adjust to using the kiosks at Hillside, Alex Felitto, CSOM ’24, said the kiosks are overall more efficient.

“I think it’s not as bad as people think it is,” Felitto said. “I think ordering-wise, it’s more effective because there’s three people getting checked out versus one. I think it is creating a little bit of a backup in the front over there where people are waiting—they probably could have pushed those in so people waited in that area. But overall, I actually think it’s gonna be a little bit more effective, but we’ll see.”

March 15, 2024