This academic year was marked by the emergence of multiple innovative spaces designed to make the work and studying process of ITMO.FAMILY members much more pleasant and comfortable. A new coworking space opened its doors to students and the university staff in October, followed in November by the creation of the Nestolovaya (a new type of stolovaya or cafeteria – Ed.) project. The project's mission was to create a brand new type of cafeteria where students would be able to not only have a meal but also relax, work, chat with their friends, or even play games.
“ITMO University is all about high-quality, progressive education, breakthrough science, communication, and self-fulfillment,” says Daria Kozlova, First Vice Rector of ITMO University. “Our new cafeteria is another space for life and development at ITMO. And when students start coming to the university simply because ITMO is a convenient space for working, doing homework, and completing group projects, having a meal, playing board games, and so on, then I will be sure that we have created quality spaces for everyone!”
The innovative cafeteria has replaced the old one on the first floor and boasts a completely different concept, layout, service format, and menu. As noted by Kirill Aleksandrov, Deputy Head of Strategic Communications Department, ITMO students and staff will be pleased to see over 450 new positions on the menu.
There are three areas with different menus and service formats. For those students or employees who are in a hurry and want to have a quick bite, there are vending machines at the cafeteria’s entrance where they can find a meal to any taste, pay for it in cash or by card, and microwave it on the spot.
“These are not your typical vending machines: there’s more available than chocolates, chips and drinks,” stresses Kirill Aleksandrov, “but also sandwiches, salads, and box lunches. That is, we’re only limited by their delivery and storage methods.”
Or to the fullest
The second area is for those who have the time and a desire for more options. Instead of the conventional cafeteria format of customers lining up with trays, the new area will resemble a contemporary street food restaurant: visitors will order their food at the cash register or via self-service checkout, receive their receipt with a number, find a table in the hall and wait for their food to be ready.
“It was crucial for us to get rid of those long lines so that our students and employees could have more time to chat, eat, and rest,” adds Kirill Aleksandrov. “The menu here will be much more varied than in the vending machine area. There will be something for any taste. That is, if you want a shawarma, pizza, or burger, you can find it on the menu. If you prefer eating healthy and you need something simple like chicken broth or something vegetarian, you won’t have a problem with finding those, too.”
Order in advance - don't stand in the line
The ITMO.STUDENTS app development team has prepared an update with a food ordering service for the opening of the new cafeteria. Now, students will be able to pre-order food in the cafeteria while still in class and it will be ready right by the start of the break.
This service will help eliminate long lines and save people’s time. The order will be ready as soon as possible or by a certain time. You don't need to go to the register either, as you can pay for everything right on the app with no extra fees.
“The update is ready and will be actively used by our testers (20-30 people) before it becomes available for our students,” shares Nikita Pavlenko, deputy chair of ITMO.STUDENTS. “We were preparing the update in close cooperation with the team of the new cafeteria. I would like to thank them for their active support and help. But our project will not stop at the main campus; we will shortly add the cafeteria on Chaykovskogo St. and, hopefully, the rest of our buildings.”
This service will also be available for the university staff and professors.
Freshly brewed coffee
If you don’t feel like having a hearty meal but want to enjoy a hot drink with cake, then you should go to the third area. There, a barista will brew you a good cup of coffee and offer a choice of cakes and pastries.
However, in the future, the range of goods offered to visitors in this area may be expanded. If people are interested in the idea, then the authors of the concept might create a separate à la carte menu.
A new hall for everyone
Not only the menu and service have undergone changes – the dining room itself has been completely modernized. The designers have abandoned the classic style, making the new cafeteria more reminiscent of modern food courts in shopping malls and public spaces.
“We are used to having separate halls for teaching staff and students,” notes Kirill Aleksandrov. “Now there is no such thing. The new hall is unified, with its own zoning, but students and professors eat together. It goes in line with the general concept of our university – we value openness and freedom.”
To ensure that students and professors feel comfortable in the cafeteria, the team has installed a powerful ventilation system that will prevent odors from entering the room, as well as a handful of power outlets and new Wi-Fi equipment.
More than food
A cafeteria at any university is not only a place to eat. Here, people communicate, make friends, work on projects, and study for their exams. That’s why the renovated space also has a small coworking area where students can eat, too. But this area will have a special atmosphere that allows you to work comfortably or hold meetings.
Between work and studies, students need to relax and relieve the tension caused by several hours of hard work. And for this purpose, a special entertainment area is also available at the cafeteria.
“We understand that our students and staff spend a great deal of time at the university,” explains Kirill Aleksandrov, “And they need a place to chat with their friends and do something else apart from their work and studies. That’s why our entertainment area has a football table, billiards, and a PlayStation 5.”
The office of ITMO.STUDENTS will be renovated as well. It will be located next to the new cafeteria, right between the play zone and the coworking space, and its area will increase significantly.
But for now, the new cafeteria is working in test mode and its creators and the university administration hope everyone will be understanding of any possible problems associated with the adjustment to new equipment. They also emphasize that they will develop the concept further taking into account the visitors’ feedback and suggestions. Please share your opinion by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 8 (812) 917-87-17.
As a result of the work of the new space on Kronverksky Pr., similar projects will also be implemented in other buildings, and the first in line being the cafeteria on Lomonosova St. 9.
“We started to modernize our catering system with the cafeteria on Chaykovskogo St., continued here, on Kronverksky, and our next big step for which we have been preparing for over a year is the cafeteria on Lomonosova St.,” comments Daria Kozlova. “We are about to open a large coworking space there. It will be right under the Student Services Office. There will also be coworking spaces on both Chaykovskogo St. and Grivtsova Ln.”