Dining Services bails out busy students with more late night options

Herbie’s Market at Cather on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s City Campus on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln students can now use their dinner meal swipe past 8:30 p.m. at a Herbie’s Market or the Husker Heroes located at Abel.

Prior to the spring 2020 semester, the dinner meal period ended at 8:30 p.m. and coincided with the closing time of dining halls. But now students can use their nightly meal swipe from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. The same meal period policies still apply, so students can choose among using their meal swipes at the dining halls, one swipe at a Husker Heroes or $8 at a Herbie’s Market. 

University Dining Services director Dave Annis said he wanted to extend the meal period until 1 a.m. after he heard from students who said they did not have time to eat before then. 

“It’s just nice to be able to follow up and act on something — especially within the same school year, instead of saying we’ll have to wait until next year,” Annis said.

Ciara Hess, a sophomore biological sciences major and a retail aide at the Herbie’s Market at Knoll, said customers have been excited to hear they can use their dinner meal swipe at later times.

“When people find out it’s later they’re like, ‘Oh sweet! When did that start?’” she said. “They’re really excited, and they keep coming back.”

Because the dinner meal period was extended and many students have already used their swipes by 8:30 p.m., Annis said the meal period adjustment has not created a substantial change in business. So far, there have been about 40 to 50 students using their meal plans later at night.

“Sometimes you do something that affects 1,000 people, and sometimes you do things that affect just 50 people,” he said. “But, those 50 people are just as important when it comes down to it to do something for them.”

Hess said she has seen a noticeable difference in the number of people who come to the Herbie’s Market in the evenings since the start of the semester.

“We used to have a big rush of people come in right before 8:30, but now it’s kind of spread out all over,” she said. “And, I’ve noticed a few more people coming in.”

According to Annis, the extended meal period has not created any need for a change in stocking or staffing of the Herbie’s Markets and Husker Heroes.

Annis said he is excited about the extended meal period because it adds value to the meal plan for the students who were missing their dinner meal.

“It doesn’t affect all that many people,” he said. “But, I’m sure the people that are using it find it nice.”