Frequently Asked Questions

Photograph of Broccoli


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. Our kitchens are independently rated as Excellent for food hygiene, have forced air ventilation keeping the air fresh and we have always cleaned with Sanitiser (that has been independently certified as effective against Coronavirus). UK Government Guidance continues to be updated, and our operations will be COVID Secure, a national standard that we will comply with.

Amazing! Join the thousands of students that have more time to do the things that matter!   If you are a prospective student, the easiest way to buy a Clever Cuisine Plan is via our website. If you are opting for a Self-Catered Room, or are in private accommodation, 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. Payment for plans is taken either by the term or year and is upfront via debit/credit card.

Clever Cuisine is automatically added to your Campus Card on a weekly basis so you don't need to do anything. Please note that if you misplace/lose your campus card and obtain a replacement one, only the replacement card will work from that point onward even you subsequently find your original 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, downgraded or refunded as the rent is discounted to form a special price. 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. If you need help using your package please contact us.

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. 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.

Extremely clean. The local councils inspect our kitchens through unannounced visits that require in-depth plans, procedures and training to achieve top marks. The ratings run from zero to five stars (five being the best) and you can find out more on the Scores on the Doors website where you can look up any UK food operation. Our own Food Safety system is enforced by unannounced checks by Neil, our in-house auditor. 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 (tests used to check for living organisms invisible to the naked eye) we carried out indicated levels of zero for food preparation surfaces. We are happy to show you around our kitchens. Please contact us to arrange a visit if you are interested.

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

Your campus card is automatically activated with your Eating Plan and we top-up your Clever Cuisine balance early Saturday morning so it is ready for you to use for Saturday morning breakfast. A Clever Cuisine week runs Saturday to Friday and you need to spend the balance by the end of Friday. Unless you have specifically opted for a vacation Eating Plan (these are not always available) your Eating Plan runs term-time and Welcome Week only. All our Eating Plans currently operate as declining balance plans, so you start the Saturday with the full balance applicable to your plan (i.e. Silver, Gold or Platinum) and spend it over the course of the week with the balance declining as you do so.

If you are not in a catered room, you are still more than welcome to purchase one of our packages

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

No, to help us reduce fraud, only the person photographed on the card, may use the card. Campus Cards remain property of the University and must be produced on request as per University regulations. You are more than welcome to buy your friend a meal, providing you are paying or collecting in person with your Campus Card

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 here


or contact us via

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.

Visit the Campus Card Portal

Login with your details and click ‘Account History’ Alternatively you can tap your campus card at any till in our dining areas and check your balance.

Eating Plans with Unlimited drinks package options, will have an e-voucher applied to the relevant Campus Card that will allow you to buy the relevant package free of charge at any staffed till point. Eating Plans with a choice of packages cannot switch between packages until the next week begins. If you lose your bottle or cup you'll need to wait until the next e-voucher is ready as we do not routinely link bottles and cups to individuals, so have no way of cancelling a package once applied to a bottle or cup. Unlimited Soft Drinks Package allows you to fill a compatible University reusable bottle at the Freestyle machines at Park Eat, Wantage, St. Patrick's, Eat at the Square, Library and the Dairy. A fair use delay applies between drinks of around 15 minutes. Unlimited Hot Drinks Package and Seven Hot Drink Credits allows you to fill a compatible University reusable coffee cup at Frank the Barista coffee machines at Park Eat, Park House, Wantage, St. Patrick's, Eat at the Square and the Dairy. The Unlimited package allows you to fill your cup as many times as you wish and the seven credits is for seven drinks only. Bottles and cups are available to purchase at any of our locations. Please note that we cannot offer alternatives in the event of equipment failure.

To claim your birthday pizza please email a few working days ahead of your Birthday! Please ensure you bring your campus card along with you as well for proof of identity.

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.

All our sites handle ingredients are or contain nuts as our kitchens co-produce for each other. For example, we'll make Chocolate Cake at one kitchen for all our kitchens to use. If you have a nut allergy please contact us as we are often still able to cater for many individuals with nut allergies.

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. At Bars and Dining locations, our food is labelled on counters indicating whether or not it is suitable for a Halal diet. Park Eat, Wantage, Eat at the Square and St. Patrick's can cater for a Halal diet with a wide range of choice. At Park House and The Dairy, only vegetarian and vegan dishes are suitable for Halal diets.

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, fish, a pre-made sandwich  or sold by weight or by container size. Our team are happy to advise you.

It certainly is! 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...

  • Alcohol Bulk buying (e.g. a case of Coke),
  • Food Supplements
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Protein Powders
  • Non-Food (e.g Stationery, Toileteries, Medicines, Gifts and Branded Merchandise)


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