Eating & Drinking

Studierendenwerk opens Aachen's first "veggie dining hall"

Vegetarian and vegan dishes are becoming increasingly popular, especially among students - the dining department of Studierendenwerk Aachen is following the trend and will be specializing in meat-free dishes in Bistro Templergraben in future.

For a long time, university dining halls in Aachen were not a significant issue. But even in the imperial city, diets have changed more and more, especially among students. "The demand for meat-free meals has grown steadily in recent years. In 2023, around 40 percent of all the meals we sold were meat-free," reports Arno Mattes, head of the dining department at Studierendenwerk. Although the "Schnitzel Tuesday" with fries is still untouchable, the demand for vegetarian and vegan food is growing continuously.

With a new concept in the popular basement dining hall in the RWTH main building, Studierendenwerk wants to take this development into account. The idea matured in workshops with students and in strategy meetings with its own employees. "The topic of sustainability has also become increasingly important for us as a dining hall operator and we are trying to expand our range of services in this regard with a great deal of creativity," says Mattes. He is also in regular contact with the student representatives, ASten, who are campaigning for more sustainability at their universities and have repeatedly called for a reduction in the number of waste disposal containers in the food area. "Even if we can't fulfill all of the students' wishes, we want to develop things further together with them and take the right path."

Thorsten Köhnen, coordinator at Bistro Templergraben, is looking forward to getting Aachen's first meat-free dining hall off the ground: "We have lots of ideas and I'm sure that we'll create a lot of added value for students." Together with the Studierendenwerk's product management team, he has developed an unusual range of vegan baguettes. These will be served to students for the first time on 13 February. Guests can also expect a vegetarian dish and delicious baked potato variations as hot meals. The meat-free menu will be launched on 5 February, with a new variety and new opening hours: In future, the bistro, which seats around 180 guests, will be open from 10:30 am to 4 pm.

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