10 things you might not know about dining on campus

A collage of three photos. One is of a person in chef whites preparing food, another is a student studying in a cafe and the third is of food in a plastic reusable takeout container

Hospitality Services’ new strategic plan takes a holistic approach to food and drink on campus.

Here are 10 things you may not know about McMaster’s Hospitality Services:

1. Save at Centro with the ReusePass Program

Food in a clear, green reusable container

Request your meal at Centro to come in a green container.

McMaster community members can use the ReusePass QR code at checkout, saving $1.25 per meal when they choose to reuse.

Remember to return your container within three days at our return bin.

2. Sustainably sourced food 

Rice and vegetables on a white plate

Hospitality Services is working to ensure at least 60 per cent of the food purchased on campus is plant-based.

It has also committed to buying at least 35 per cent of its, and 30 per cent of all other food on campus,  from Ontario-based farmers and food producers as part of its sustainable procurement policy.

3. A partnership with an Indigenous-owned coffee company 

The Math Cafe inside Hamilton Hall

Nestled in Hamilton Hall, the Math Café proudly sources its coffee from White Buffalo Coffee Company, an Indigenous-owned business committed to Anishinaabe grandfather teachings.

They support Indigenous farmers and source their coffee through experienced Fairtrade purchasers.

4. Yes, there are gluten-Free, vegan and halal options 

A menu board with dietary options Every dining location on campus offers gluten-free, vegan and halal food options. Vegetarian and vegan options are indicated by the “V” and “VG” logos on menu boards.

Food locations like the Plantry (Centro), Bridges (La Piazza), and SMPL (Centro & Bistro) are dedicated spaces for vegan and vegetarian options and other dietary needs. Any student with special dietary needs due to serious illness or religious restrictions should contact Hospitality Services’ in-house registered dietitian to discuss how their needs can be accommodated.

5. Sustainability meets fine dining at the Buttery

Hands preparing a plate of food

Located in Alumni Memorial Hall, the Buttery combines fine dining with sustainability.

By using upcycled furniture, cooking from a kitchen garden, and sourcing local beverages, Buttery staff are on the path to earning LEAF certification for environmental responsibility — a designation given to restaurants with the highest standards of environmental responsibility.

6. Celebrating Indigenous Foods

A plate of food


Located in La Piazza in MUSC, Global Comfort Food serves a rotating menu inspired by global cuisines, often highlighting Indigenous dishes like Three Sisters Stew and Bison Chili with Bannock and Wild Blueberry Chicken.

7. Two locations of SMPL

A food station in a cafeteriaA second SMPL location is now open at Bistro in the Mary Keyes Residence building, which also has a new self-ordering kiosk. SMPL offers lunch and dinner options prepared without preservatives or any of the top 10 allergens in Canada.

Staff are specially trained and to prevent contamination, only those who wear the SMPL badge can cross the yellow line into the prep station.

8. BYO mug

A hand holding up a green plastic mug beside a sign advertising a 'bring your own mug' campaign

Bring Your Own Mug aims to keep disposable cups out of landfills. Ask to use your own reusable mug at a participating location on campus and get 25¢ off your hot drink.

Visit the Hospitality Services website for more information.

9. Loonies for Lunches

Four students holding signs advertising the 'Loonies for Lunches' campaign

Launched in 2022, Loonies for Lunches offers La Piazza customers the opportunity to add $1 to their purchase to donate to Lockers of Love, a McMaster Food Collective Centre project that enables students to privately access groceries (or funds for groceries) when needed.

Founded by McMaster students, Loonies for Lunches allows university community members to support one another and address food insecurity on campus.

10. Hospitality supports local associations in their hiring

Three people smiling at the camera. One is holding a certificate, while the other two are holding an award and a bouquet of flowers

In recognition of their partnership and support for newcomers to Canada, Hospitality Services was named Employer Partner of the Year this month by Immigrants Working Centre (IWC).

IWC works closely with newcomers to engage and support their full social, civic and economic participation in Canada.

About the Strategic Plan 

The student experience, sustainability and opportunities to grow the skills of its team all lie at the heart of McMaster University’s Hospitality Services new strategic plan.

Developed in close collaboration with staff, faculty, and students from across the university, the new strategic plan is driven by three key pillars:

  • Holistic Student Experience: With a strong emphasis on inclusive menu options, the plan aims to cater to the diverse culinary needs and preferences of all students. 
  • Environmental, Societal, and Financial Sustainability: Ensure we benefit our local and global environment while engaging students and the University in affordability initiatives.  
  • Growing Capacity and Human Potential: Developing the hospitality team’s skills and capabilities while also enhancing and expanding dining spaces across campus. 

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