UCLA’s dining halls are ranked best in the country for the second year in a row.
UCLA’s student dining halls topped Niche’s “2018 Best College Food in America” ranking, released Monday. The ranking evaluates meal plan costs and relies heavily on students’ opinions about the quality of the food at their schools, according to Niche’s website.
Niche, a website that creates rankings and profiles for U.S. colleges and K-12 schools, uses reviews created by its online users to evaluate colleges’ dining halls. Top-ranked schools often provide access to healthy options across a wide variety of cuisines and dietary preferences, according to the Niche website.
Charles Wilcots, associate director of UCLA Dining Services, said he thinks UCLA Dining’s flexible hours contributed to its high ranking.
“Our residents can get something on the Hill somewhere during the academic year from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.,” Wilcots said.
Wilcots added he thinks UCLA Dining Services offers a wide variety of food options for students.
“Those that dine with us have real sophisticated palates,” Wilcots said. “Our goal is to meet those different palates in terms of the various things that individuals tend to and like to eat.”
Wilcots said UCLA Dining is always looking for ways to improve and added dining staff meet weekly with on-campus residents to receive feedback.
“We’re always evolving our services in terms of what we do and what we offer,” Wilcots said. “Our goal is to provide more healthy food and sustainable options for our residents.”
Jong Hyeon Lee, a rising first-year physics student, said he thought Cornell University would be ranked higher than UCLA because it has its own agriculture and culinary degree programs, unlike UCLA.
“I’m surprised that UCLA is better,” Lee said. “It’ll be interesting to see if it endures or can be consistently maintained.”
Hafizuddin Jaafar, a rising first-year electrical engineering student, said he thinks the ranking is reasonable but does not think food quality is consistent across all the dining halls.
“(The ranking) is subjective. Some cases, such as Covel, do not really have spectacular food,” Jaafar said. “The better ones are at Rieber and Bruin Plate.”