Fresh Ideas redefines campus dining at Park University


Zartasha Sani

Taco Bar in the cafe as part of the new menu provided by Fresh Ideas dining

Zartasha Sani, Reporter

Starting this fall, Park University teamed up with Fresh Ideas food service management to provide a completely new dining experience for Park students and staff. Previously, the food service vendor for Park University was Sodexo USA.

Fresh Ideas is a new approach to campus dining for several reasons: The company provides sustainable food, is health conscious and has an educational approach to what students are eating. The company’s “Be Green, Be Healthy, Be Bold” initiative focuses not only on where the food comes from, but how it’s grown, transported, prepared and consumed.

What adds to Fresh Ideas uniqueness is its use of technology. Students can download the FreshX app and personalize their account using a selfie. They can also add their meal plan information and enable an option to pay without a wallet or cash.

The app also shows up-to-date dining menus. It has pre-order features as well as loyalty and rewards programs.

According to, the app provides a way for the company to have better personal interactions with students to create a better overall dining experience.

Fresh Ideas is based out of Columbia, Mo., and was founded in 2000. At Park University, the team will be led by Andrew Strecker, director of dining services, and Head Chef Bryce Klein.

There are several different meal plans that students can choose from. Residential students can choose from the following: The all access meal plan allows students unlimited visits to the cafeteria and includes 50 flex dollars which can be spent on snacks and coffee at the Pirate Market, Jolly Roger Café, and Savor . The cost of this plan is $1800 for the school year. The second meal plan is the 250-block meal plan which gives students 250 meal swipes at the cafeteria. It also gives students 100 flex dollars. The cost of this plan is $1500 for the school year. At the same price of $1500, students have the option of a 100-meal block plan that gives student’s 100 swipes in the cafeteria and includes150 flex dollars.

Students who are living off campus in the Altitude 970 Apartments are offered a 50-block meal plan with 25 flex dollars for $250 for the 2018-2019 school year.

Fresh Ideas also offers three different plans for commuting students which can be purchased at the cashier’s window on the bottom floor of Mackay or at the Pirate Café in the Thompson Commons. Pirate 20/20 is a meal plan that offers a 20-block meal and 20 flex dollars (which can be used at the Pirate Café, Jolly Roger Coffee shop or Savor) for $110. The Blackbeard Plan is a 50-block meal plan with 100 flex dollars and costs $350. The Jack Sparrow plan costs $100 and includes 110 flex dollars.

To try Fresh Ideas’ new offerings at Park, head to the café located on the second floor of Thompson Commons. Breakfast is served from 7:00 AM to 10:30 AM Mon-Fri and 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Saturday-Sunday. Lunch is served 11:00AM to 4:00 PM Monday-Friday. Dinner is served 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM Monday-Friday and 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM Saturday-Sunday.