Food queues drive students … Nutella

By Lara El Gibaly

Shortages for food have been a regular occurrence at The American University in Cairo since last Tuesday, as on-campus cafes and restaurants run out by the late afternoon.

AUC students could be seen lining up at the food outlet in front of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, waiting and clamoring for Nutella sandwiches. 

While some joked about the situation as they watched a server scraped the last bit of Nutella out of its jar, others were less amused.

“This isn’t Tahrir, we can’t just walk off campus and get something to eat at McDonald’s,” said Magdy Amin, a sophomore waiting in line.

“Some of us have late classes,” said another student. “How is it possible that the only available thing is Nutella?”

Even during Ramadan, lines outside the campus’s food outlets extended far, with an average wait of 10 minutes. With the end of fasting, campus restaurants said they did not stock enough food for all.

Food bought on campus is served by outlets managed by Delicious Inc. The Egyptian-Saudi company that struck a profit-sharing agreement with AUC to become the exclusive food supplier on campus.

Delicious Inc. said it would bring a variety of eateries to the campus. However, nothing will likely develop until after November, since the caterer is waiting for the campus kitchens – still under construction – to be complete.

In the meantime, the cafes on campus have to rely on outside shipments to stock up. 

“Our forecasting was way off the mark” said Ehab Mohammed, head of the bookstore branch of Cilantro. “We had 150 sandwiches and by 2 p.m. they had all been sold.”

Cilantro pre-orders sandwiches the previous night and they are delivered that morning from the nearest Cilantro kitchen, which is at its Abbas El-Akkad branch.

“Therefore when the food is gone there is nothing we can do,” Ehab said. “Tomorrow we are ordering double the amount, 300 sandwiches.”

He apologized, explaining the cafe had to be careful not to overestimate demand, since it is against Cilantro’s policy to sell yesterday’s product; leftovers are disposed of, he said, which count as losses.

The recent opening of a new branch of Cilantro in front of the library apparently did little to ease the pressure on the other food outlets.

“We are opening two more branches by the end of the month,” stated Ehab. “All in all there will be five branches opened by December 11, right now as we are the only fully functional branch. The pressure on us is immense.”

Jared’s Bagels lasted slightly longer, running out of bagels at around 3 p.m., while rice crispies and brownies satisfied students’ hunger till around 4 p.m.

“We preorder our bagels from the Road 9 branch in Maadi the previous night,” stated the cashier. “We just didn’t think AUC students would be this hungry,” he joked.

Cinnabon on the other hand has its own oven in which to bake cinnamon rolls. It still ran out by late afternoon. Hungry students then stalked the HUSS cafeteria to buy Doritos chips and Nutella sandwiches.

With few other options, students paid the 5 LE for a chocolate sandwich.

“I’m bringing a lunchbox tomorrow,” said Hadeel Hammad, a hungry sophomore stuck in the Nutella queue.



Filed under AUC Move, Student Life

5 responses to “Food queues drive students … Nutella

  1. Ahmad

    Abbas El Akkad is in Nasr City, about 20 minutes from Heliopolis!

  2. Tyler

    In the mean time, because food is so bad, the Foreign Students Association, a newly created student group, is selling food from a booth in front of HUSS. It’s easy to find the booth because it’s between Jared’s and Mercato Italiano. They sell cheap food like 1 pound apples and the money doesn’t go to Delicious, Inc. Worth checking out.

  3. Abdelrahman

    Seriously, how someone is expected to survive 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on his breakfast, especially with the huge gaps that we have in our schedules, and staying late for the bus!

    It seems that who ever is in charge of planning in this university didn’t think about that! and PLUS who said in the world that a university should encourage monopoly! Our dear university is encouraging people to monopolizing us and is not allowing anybody to provide for an alternative!

  4. anonymous

    The situation is not much better for staff.
    Unlike professors and higher staff, us newbies cannot afford to eat on campus at our salaries.

    The average starting staff member makes between 2000-3000 l.e a month.

    imagine having to spend 20 minimum a day on food & water..that means 400 l.e a month from our salary. for some people, that’s 25% of their salary.

    We were promised food outlets that sold fuul and Ta3meya and such, but for 5 months now we have not gotten them. We were promised water filters, and we never got them.

    We’ve been facing this problem far before the students moved since we were here prior… trying to set things up even though there are no facilities for us to set up our work.

    Students and faculty blame us constantly for things we cannot help, things not in our hands.

    Not to mention the trip… most staff members wake up or leave their homes up to 1.5 hours earlier than they did downtown so they can reach the campus in time for work.

    The situation is horrible for everyone.

  5. anonymous

    I also forgot to mention our workspaces.
    Our desks are made from terrible materials… we have drawers and closets that open even when locked.
    we have Zero personal space, and our desks are usually set in a way, that anyone passing can see what we’re doing… which is terrible for confidential information.

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