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Please note: Most locations are operating under reduced hours

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dining halls

Self-Serve Pay by Weight System

The choice is yours! Empowering students and their choices around food 

Food Services at University of Toronto, St. George Campus is pleased to announce the implementation of the self-serve Pay by Weight (PBW) system in all the Food Services operated dining halls. This system is more inclusive and empowers you to build and customize your own meals.  

In the fall of 2022, Food Services and the Innovation Hub conducted a series of student-led feedback sessions and interviews to co-design operations at dining halls. As part of the findings, our students expressed that they wanted to be able to make their own decisions about what and how they eat in our dining halls on campus. Students told us that they need to be able to accommodate all the various aspects of their busy lives at the University; like cultural food preferences, different eating habits, various dietary restrictions, and increased opportunities to be able to socialize around food – all the while being cost effective and sustainable. Phew! That’s a big list, but the great news is that the PBW system helps address all these requests! 

Ok. I’m listening… how does it work? 

  • Pick a plate, Eco2Go container or takeout container and fill it with your meal from our Salad Bar, Entrée, Pizza, and self-serve Pasta Stations. Pick as little or as much as you like from all the options available.  
  • Bring it to any cashier who will weigh it on a scale and determine the price by weight. 

I get it. But how is this system more inclusive? 

The PBW system considers the individual preferences and needs by empowering students to choose what and how much food they want based on: 

The choice is yours

Eating Habits + Nutritional Needs
YOU get to customize your meal according to YOUR habits.  Like to eat multiple small vegetarian meals over the course of the day? No problem! Or are you someone who likes to pack a big protein punch before your workout? We’ve got you! Just pick what serves you best!

Cultural + Faith-based Preferences
We know that students across campus have various faith based and cultural eating preferences – pay by weight lets you eat what you want and how you want– anytime of the year.  

Food Allergies + Restrictions 
Gluten intolerance? Sugar sensitivities? Just make the choices you need as you see fit. Do you have questions about nutrition or how to make choices to mitigate your allergies or dietary restrictions? We have a nutritionist on staff, always ready to help you make the best selection for your lifestyle. 
The new PBW system helps to remove stigmas around various cultural and dietary preferences and helps make food on campus a more easily accessible social connector. 

How is this system more sustainable? 

In Canada, almost 2.2 million tonnes of edible food are wasted each year*. Food Services’ pay by weight system helps us move one step closer to reducing food waste on campus. Anyone can choose what and how much food they want, based on their appetite so that less food is thrown away.
Here are some things to consider to amplify your sustainable and economical efforts on campus:  

Use the Eco2Go Container  
You can take out any leftovers with you to eat later. 

Discover, Pick and Choose 
Select small portions of different dishes initially, figure out which ones you love and then come back for seconds. This is also a really great way to explore some of the new options on offer!  

Food Services Dining Hall Survey




Chestnut and New College

Survey sign at Chestnut dining hall

In continuation of Food Services’ goal to empower students and their choices around food, we conducted a survey in September 2023 for all students dining at Chestnut and New College dining halls. The goal of the survey was to understand student satisfaction with our offerings, potential areas of improvement and their experience as a student diner. 

As a token of appreciation for participation, Food Services invited students to enter a giveaway contest when submitting their survey response. 

We are thrilled to announce that three winners have been selected from each dining hall for the giveaway. Winners were chosen using a randomizer tool, and those selected have been notified via email. 


The survey was anonymous and delivered online. It captured student diner feedback through a mix of ten multiple-choice and open- ended questions.

The survey was open from Monday, September 25 – Tuesday, October 3.


Responses received


of respondents dined at New College


of respondents dined at Chestnut


The following is the summary of the responses we received in the survey: 

  1. The majority of students were satisfied with the variety of food, availability of healthy options, the ability to self-serve and overall quality of the food at the PBW stations. 
  2. 46.33% of students felt improvements need to be made to the value for money at the self-serve PBW stations. 
  3. The majority of students were satisfied with the overall experience at the self-serve PBW stations. 
  4. 68.8% of students felt there are areas where the experience at the Pay by Weight station could be improved. The suggestions received covered a wide range of topics including labeling, pricing, value for money and communication. 
  5. 61% of students felt items don’t need to be added to the Pay by Weight menu. 
  6. 84.5% of students enjoy the experience of being able to serve yourself and select a variety of options when eating at our dining halls. The reasons for this included being able to balance proportions to their liking, a reduction in wastage and the ability of choice, among others. 
  7. 90% of students felt that the autonomy of choice when eating is important to them as student diners. 
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you asked. we listened

Super Savers

Introducing Super Saver Daily Specials in all our dining halls!