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Welcome to Caius – a Cambridge College famous for placing communal dining every evening at the heart of how it brings the College community together.

Our catering services are centred around two seatings for a single three course family style dinner in Hall.  These take place Sunday-Friday throughout Full Term.  On Saturday cafeteria replaces fixed time Hall services.  Students have to book in to all of these – please see below for details. 

On a drop in basis, breakfast and lunch are also available without booking, with a weekly highlight being Sunday brunch in Hall.  Menus and opening hours are shown on this section of the Venn.

Outside of Full Term catering arrangements vary, so do keep an eye on this site for details.

Here you can find all the information you need to book meals, to ensure your special dietary needs (if any) are met, and learn how to use the waiting list.

Q. How do I book into Hall?

All evening meals at Caius have to be booked through our online meal booking system.  This helps the kitchen ensure the right numbers are catered for, to plan for any special diets, and to keep wastage lower by only ordering what will be eaten.  In turn, this keeps meal ticket costs down for students.

Within the system you will find a choice between First Hall, Formal Hall, Cafeteria and Special Events.  As you settle into Caius, these will make increasing sense.

Booking deadlines:

  • You can book up to 4 days ahead.
  • Booking closes at 10am on the day.
  • You can switch from First Hall to Formal Hall or vice versa until 3pm on the day if there is availability.
  • The cancellation deadline is 10am on the day, unless there are people on the waiting list, in which case you can cancel until 5pm on the day and your place will pass to them.
  • For Special Events these times might differ, so please always read the notes on the meal booking system relating to the event you are booking for.

Q. How does the Hall waiting list work?

You might still want to try to come to Hall even if it is already fully booked.  For those that don’t have special dietary requirements, the system allows places to be cancelled and transferred.

Before the closing deadline, if Hall fills up, an option to join the waiting list will become available.   If you choose to join it, it is your responsibility to check your email up to 5 pm to see if someone’s cancellation frees a place for you.  If you don’t, you will still be charged.  If you don’t get an email, you haven’t got a space, so don’t waste time coming.

Places cannot be transferred by private arrangements as the wrong student account will be charged, and because the waiting staff may turn you away on arrival if your UIS card photo does not match the booking/your face.

Please note that in doing this you will inherit the meal of the person that cancelled – so you need to be prepared to be vegetarian (or not) for a night, and you shouldn’t join the waiting list if you have a strict set of dietary restrictions.  The kitchen will not have prepared a meal to meet your needs.

You can use the waiting list to add additional guests on the same logic as above.

Example of allocation of a space

Subject: Meal bookings: Waiting list activated for Formal Hall on 2017-01-30

You have been allocated an additional vegetarian place for Formal Hall on Monday 30th January 2017 from the waiting list. This place has the special dietary requirement: No nuts. You are now booked in with the following details: Places: 2 Vegetarians: 1 Special dietary requirements: No nuts. View this booking at...

Q. How do I book a vegetarian meal?

Menus for the week are published here on the Wednesday of the preceding week.  You can choose to have the vegetarian meal when you book, either for all meals by changing your profile, or just when it looks tasty on each individual booking. 

 

 

A vegetarian card will be given to you when you enter Hall on the night. Please leave it in front of you on the table for the waiting staff to identify you and serve you correctly.  They will collect it.

Please make sure that, if you book vegetarian, you eat vegetarian!  It is unfair to other diners to do otherwise...

Important:

Vegetarian students with other dietary restrictions should not tick the vegetarian option, but should instead write “vegetarian” alongside their other dietary restrictions in the “Dietary or other requirements” section.  We do not guarantee that the vegetarian option of the day will meet more complex dietary restriction requirements.

Q. How do I create an online dietary profile?

You will be able to create an online profile if you need to tell us that you require a specific diet and/or if you suffer from any allergy. This information is very important to us in order to make sure we will be able to serve you an appropriate meal.

All students with a history of food or other serious allergies should see the College Nurse within 48 hours of their arrival in College to discuss medication and management of their condition. Usually the College Nurse will - with your agreement - draw up a ‘plan of care’, which will be circulated to key staff as necessary. As well as seeing the College Nurse, students with a serious food allergy will need to meet the Director of Catering or Deputy Catering Manager, as soon as possible to discuss dietary requirements. Any history relating to allergy or anaphylaxis should also be communicated to your GP when registering.   

Any student with dietary restrictions more complex than straightforward vegetarianism (which Caius define as no meat and no fish products), should specify their requirement on their profile in the “Other dietary or non-dietary requirements” option. 

The College kitchens serve 400+ meals a day within a 2-hour window and the complexity of doing so means that only dietary requirements arising from medical requirements, religious or similar belief systems will be considered.

Our Head of Dining Services will provide you with a personalised dietary card if necessary depending on your requirement at the beginning of the academic year. If your dietary requirements change during the year, please contact us directly on head.dining.services@cai.cam.ac.uk to request an amended card.

Your personalised diet card (see below) should be clearly and visibly placed in front of you at the dinner table to help the waiting staff ensure you get the right meal.

Q. How does Hall identification work?

You will need your university (UiS) card when you come to Hall in order to be checked in.

If you do not have it with you, you will be asked to present an alternative proof of identification. Failure to do so will result in refusal of entry.

When your card is swiped, if no booking is found for the event, you will be asked to leave. Please do so without making the staff’s life difficult as they are only doing their job.  The computer has the last word.  Waiting list candidates therefore need to wait for the email confirming they have been allocated a place before attending Hall speculatively.

Any abusive behaviour reported by staff will be reported to the Director of Catering and the Academic Dean for action to be taken.

Q. What if I have more questions?

Your GCSU Food & Bar Officer or your College parents will be happy to help.  Equally do contact the head of Dining Services with any questions on head.dining.services@cai.cam.ac.uk, so speak to them at Hall.

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