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Clever Cuisine FAQ

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Amazing! Join the thousands of students that have more time to do the things that matter! If you are prospective student or are due to join the University, the easiest way to buy a Clever Cuisine Plan is during the Halls Application process. If you opt for a Self-Catered Room, you'll be given the choice of all plans and durations. If you opt for a Catered Room, a plan will be included in your room automatically and you don't need to take any further action. If you are a current student, regardless of where you live, you can apply at any time via the Me@Reading Portal and your plan will normally start within a couple of days. If you haven't quite got to Reading yet but have applied to halls and want to join Clever Cuisine, please contact us and we'll make it happen! All Eating Plans are billed to your student account, which facilitates guest payments that a parent, guardian or sponsor can pay.

Clever Cuisine is automatically added to your Campus Card on a weekly basis so you don't need to do anything. Clever Cuisine will only work on your newest Campus Card, so if you lose your card, get a new one, find the old one, lose the new one and try to use the old card, it won't work. Your balance is transferred to any new Campus Card. Lost or stolen cards should be reported to If you have any questions or concerns please contact us.

If you are in a designated Catered Room, Clever Cuisine cannot be removed, cancelled or refunded. If you have decided to opt into a Clever Cuisine Eating Plan, you cannot cancel part of a term once it has begun, but you can downgrade or cancel any terms that are yet to begin. We will refund Clever Cuisine Eating Plans purchased as add-ons, if you move into a Catered Hall from another type of accommodation.

Yes, you can. Contact the Accommodation Office and request an upgrade to either the Gold or Platinum Plan. If you require any further assistance please contact us.

No, although if you are allocated a Catered Room, it is automatically included in your rent.

No, the weeks are allocated to certain blocks such as the Autumn Term. See the Terms and Conditions for details on the dates.

No, to help us reduce theft, only the person photographed on the card, may use the card. Campus Cards remain property of the University and can be withheld if staff believe it is being misused. You can buy your friend a meal if you are paying in person.

Unspent Clever Cuisine Eating Plan funds are used to provide up to 12 Eating Plans per week to students in financial hardship. These plans are distributed by Students Services.

Yes, you have a weekly balance depending on the plan and you need to use it up on a weekly basis to ensure you are eating properly. If you need help planning how to make your Eating Plan cover the designated Meals please see our sample menus or contact us via

Visit the Campus Card portal

Login with your details and click ‘Account History’

We love all feedback as it helps us improve our services. Please provide as much detail as possible, including where and when, as it really helps us. All our team members will give you their name if requested. Certain staff in some areas may only give you first name and initial for privacy reasons. Feel free to drop us an email , or we have feedback forms on our outlet pages.

Please ask to speak to a member of our team who’ll be able to help you. We cook from scratch in kitchens handling multiple allergens so there is a risk of cross-contamination so those with severe allergies should ask before eating. If you are on a Clever Cuisine Eating Plan please book a time to see our Head Chef so we can tailor our services to you. You are also welcome to ask our staff to change their gloves or wash their hands before serving you due to your allergies.

St. Patrick’s and The Dairy have nut-free kitchens that won’t take products that list nuts as an ingredient. However, there remains a risk as many products used say they may contain or are produced in areas that handle nuts. Please contact us before taking a Clever Cuisine Eating Plan to ensure we can provide for you based on your course and likely location.

All chicken and Lamb we cook with is Halal and is slaughtered in a humane manner that is approved by the RSPCA. Beef is not currently certified as Halal as it comes from our own farm and our local butcher isn't certified Halal. Please ask the team for more information on Halal options. Park House and the Dairy are unsuitable for those following an Halal Diet due to cooking methods. Park Eat, Wantage, Eat at the Square and St. Patrick's can cater for a Halal diet.

Often you can – we serve smaller portions to help prevent food waste and encourage you to ask for more if you feel portions are too small. Exceptions to this are generally items that are sold by the item such as a Burger, a piece of fruit, pre-made sandwich, a Chicken Kiev etcetera or sold by weight or by container size. Our team are happy to advise you.

We definitely do! Have a look at the Clever Cuisine Nutrition page and also our Wellness Portal to see all the great things we do. Cooking from scratch gives us the ability to leave out various nasty ingredients. If after looking at our pages you feel we aren't offering anything healthy, please request a face to face meeting letting us know what you want to talk about (the more detail the better) and we’ll send the most appropriate and senior member of the team to talk to you. We are always happy to work with you to ensure you eat how you want to.

This is a myth. We cook our food from scratch each day from the freshest ingredients we have available to us and are reducing the number of deep fat fryers across our sites using seasonal ingredients and avoiding processed foods, bases, pastes, preservatives etcetera. Our teams don’t like fryers as they are unpleasant to use and make you smell, so we keep frying to a minimum. Park Eat, Eat at the Square, Wantage and St. Patrick's are all working on phasing out fryers, so are focussed on oven baking items. Our Wellness Portal displays the nutritional value of the majority of items we serve.

This is a myth! We don't own any giant boiling pans or cauldrons for cooking food in this way. We cook the majority of vegetables, pasta and rice in perforated trays in commercial steamers. If you fancy a look at a giant steamer or anything else in our kitchens please get in touch and we'll make it happen...

Extremely clean. All our kitchens hold a 5 star rating for Food Hygiene that requires in depth plans, procedures and training to achieve and is awarded following an (unannounced) inspection by the local council. The ratings run from Zero to Five and you can find out more on the Scores on the Doors website and look up any UK food operation. Our own Food Safety system is enforced by unannounced checks by Neil, our in-house auditor, who is stricter than the real inspectors. Our Kitchens are all designed to be hygienic with stainless steel counters and are easy to keep clean to ensure safe food every time, with well trained staff that understand key risks. The last ATP tests we carried out indicated levels of zero for food preparation surfaces, a test used to check for living organisms invisible to the naked eye. We are happy to show you around our kitchens, please contact us to arrange a visit if you are interested.

No. Clever Cuisine is uniquely modelled on successful Eating Plans found outside of the UK that place an emphasis on the importance of quality, ethical, delicious and nutritious food to help you excel academically while offering a high degree of flexibility. We have invested in excess of £20 million during the last ten years into our outlets, people and technology, unlike most UK Universities, many of which still operate eat where you live halls catering or are moving towards cafe only operations. We believe that if by providing you with good food to avoid the 'pasta and sauce' student diet helps you succeed, then it is worth investing in. Our University is a 'foodies' University with our own farms producing a wide range of produce and with academic departments covering Food, Climate, Soil, Nutrition and Agriculture. Our food operations are fully owned and operated by the University. We are the only University to be a member of both TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation) and NACUFS (National Association of Colleges and Universities Food Services), the first member of NACUFS in the UK and among the first to commit and apply to the Menus of Change Research Collaborative, a leading joint Academic-food operator initiative driving up food standards. We don't believe any other University has anything that is as broad and extensive as Clever Cuisine. We are committed to continual improvement, as we believe we are far from perfect, but we are determined to get as close to perfection as possible and this is reflected in the overall quality and growth of our operations. If you have any ideas for improvements, as always, please let us know. Clever Cuisine and the plate device are registered trademarks of the University of Reading.

Lots! Visit this page to see our progress across a variety of areas, including what we are working on.

We are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe. We have been operating throughout the Coronavirus crisis and have implemented a range of safety measures such as hand sanitiser stations and till guards and are currently working on providing a Click and Collect platform for September 2020. This will remove the need to visit staffed or self-service tills. We are also looking at Dining Room reservations to manage numbers for seated areas as and when we are allowed to re-open them. Our kitchens are independently rated as Excellent for food hygiene, have forced air ventilation keeping the air fresh and are we have always cleaned with Sanitiser that has now been independently certified as effective against Coronavirus. UK Government Guidance continues to be updated daily and our operations will be COVID Secure, a national standard that we will comply with. We will be serving delicious and nutritious food from September!


Our Clever Cuisine team are available to help, contact us below.