Dining FAQ

Penn Residential Services - Everything You Need to Know for Fall 2020.

Detailed information on assignments, breaks & housing, campus resources, college houses & academic services, dining, housekeeping & facilities, move-in, off-campus, policies & procedures, room rates and more.

  1. What will dining look like in the fall?

    In order to adhere to health guidelines, there will be many changes to our dining program including:

    • All food (both hot and cold) will be pre-packaged, “grab and go” options only.
    • Self-serve stations within the cafes will be closed.
    • Dining room seating areas will initially be closed but plans are in place to migrate to 30%-50% of seating capacity to allow for physical distancing when approved/appropriate, using a reservation system if needed.
    • Along with PennEats mobile ordering, we will be designating locations and times for order in advance and pick-up.
    • For physical distancing, entering and exiting cafes may be different from your past experience, as we work towards having queuing lines.
    • Tented options for outdoor seating are being considered.


First Year (freshmen & transfer)

  1. Am I still required to be on a dining plan?

    Yes, all first-year students are required to be on a dining plan. Freshmen will all be on one plan. Transfer students can choose among upper class plans as well as the freshmen plan. You will be able to choose your dining plans in mid-July when they become available in Campus Express.

  2. How much is a Freshman dining plan?

    For Academic Year 2020-2021, we are offering one Freshmen Dining Plan. The cost is $5482 for the year ($2597 for Fall Semester and $2885 for Spring Semester.). The Fall Semester price is lower to reflect the fact that students will leave campus at Thanksgiving and complete the rest of the semester remotely.

  3. If I can’t eat with my friends why am I still required to be on a dining plan?

    Students may not have access to a kitchen in their room and access to Community kitchens will be restricted. A dining plan will enable you to have safe and easy access to food, delivery of meals should you become ill or quarantined, and access to the campus registered dietitian should you have special dietary needs. Although opportunities to dine with others will be limited, there are plans to provide special programing and activities as part of the dining program.

General Questions

  1. What precautions with Penn Dining be taking for their staff and diners?

    Dining staff will be required to wear masks and gloves and, where appropriate, work behind partitions to separate them from diners. There will be enhanced cleaning of all operations, as well as additional processes for all dining staff to help prevent viral spread.

  2. Will Kosher options still be served?

    Kosher options will still be available, but as is currently the case, there will be an extra charge for kosher meals.

  3. I have a special dietary need (vegan/vegetarian/allergy/gluten free/halal/Jain). Will I still be able to get meals that meet my needs?

    Yes, there will be ample options for those with special dietary needs. If you have a specific question, please contact our campus registered dietitian, Dan Connolly at Daniel.Connolly@cafebonappetit.com

  4. I have an upperclass dining plan. If the semester is shorter this fall, will I get a discount on my plan?

    Most voluntary plans are tailored to be flexible and already provide fewer meal swipes and Dining Dollars so that you should be able to utilize all your swipes and dining dollars.

  5. I am used to eating as much as I want. Will I still be able to do that under the take-out system?

    Monday -Friday, there are four meal periods each day - breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. During the weekends, there are two meal periods – brunch and dinner. During all meal periods except late night you can swipe in two times within a specified period. During late night, we only allow for one swipe. As an example, if you get your meal at 11 am when the café opens for lunch and you are still hungry, you may come back and swipe again during the lunch period. Cafes will be open 7:30 am to 9:00 pm most days. Please refer to the dining website for hours of operation at each location.

  6. Will I still be able to use my Dining Dollars? Will there be any changes to the retail offerings?

    You will still be able to use your Dining Dollars. At this time, all our retail cafes, with the exception of Joe’s Café in Steinberg Dietrich, will remain open, although hours are subject to change.

  7. Will I need to pre-order my food at retail locations like Houston Market?

    Yes, students will need to use the PennEats app to preorder all their food for pick-up.

    • Houston Market - students can use both the PennEats app as well as the kiosks, although we highly advise the use of the PennEats app to order before you get to Houston Market. Seating will not be allowed at the beginning of the semester and even when inside dining is allowed, seating will continue to be limited.
    • Pret-a-Manger– service availability to be announced.
    • Starbucks (1920 Commons) – Mobile ordering to be picked up at a dedicated area in Starbucks. In-person ordering with physical distancing will be allowed, but no seating will be in place
  8. Is the 5% Dining Dollar Discount still in effect?


  9. Will I still have guest swipes?

    Guest swipes will not be included in dining plans for Fall Semester.

  10. Will there be swipe conversion?

    Swipe conversion is no longer available.

  11. Can I have my food delivered to my room, or can I pick it up?

    A few designated locations are planned around campus where you can order your food and pick-it up to make it more convenient for our diners. More information about this process will be forthcoming.

    Delivery to your room is currently reserved for students who are unable to pick-up their food due to health reasons.

  12. If everything is to-go, can I bring my own container?

    Due to health and safety requirements, diners are not allowed to bring their own containers.



  1. Now that the dining program has changed, I would like to cancel my plan. Is that allowed?

     In response to COVID-19, dining plan options and pricing have changed.  If you have already purchased a dining plan for Academic Year 2020-2021, Penn Dining will contact you in mid-July to let you know your options for changing or canceling your current dining plan.

  2. I am an upperclass student and am being moved off-campus, can I cancel my plan?

    Any student being moved off-campus may cancel their plan.

  3. I signed up last semester for a freshman plan that is no longer available what should I do?

    Upperclass students who had signed up for a First-Year Plan that is no longer available will be able to choose the new First Year Plan or change to one of the other available upperclass dining plans.

  4. Given the changes for the Fall 2020 semester, will there be any additional dining plan options or a reduction in price to reflect the shortened semester?

    We are in the process of developing new dining plans for this year only and the price will reflect the shortened semester. These plans will be available in mid-July. Students who purchased a plan in spring will have the option to change their plans at that time. For more information, check back here or on the Penn Dining Website.