Crepes a la Cart violates contract, no longer accepts NOLAbucks

Brandi Doyal, Print News Editor

Crepes a la Cart will no longer accept NOLAbucks this semester after violating its contract.

The restaurant charged students an additional 5 percent surcharge and 15 percent gratuity on all NOLAbucks purchases. NOLAbucks are dollars built into meal plans offered by Tulane Dining Services that allow students to eat at popular restaurants located around campus. Crepes a la Cart owner Kevin Merlin said something had to be done to keep the restaurant out of the red.

“We pay Tulane’s off-campus payment solution vendor, Blackboard Inc. an average of 9 to 10 percent of NOLAbucks-associated sales in an industry where net profit averages 4 to 7 percent,” Merlin said. “We hoped that [the charges] would enable us to continue to accept NOLAbucks and that it would be perceived as a fair tradeoff to doing away with the program all together.”

Director of Dining, Vending and Bookstore Services Lisa Norris said these practices were against NOLAbucks processor BbOne’s policies and that they would be facing repercussions.

“A representative from the management company will contact Crepes a la Carte,” Norris said. “Though I cannot say this will happen, the most probable consequence of this action will be suspension from the program for one year.”

Crepes a la Cart was one of the first restaurants to accept NOLAbucks in the city. Owner Kevin Merlin said he is sad to see the contract terminated.

“After Hurricane Katrina, we reached out to Tulane Dining Services and former Tulane President Scott Cowen with a proposal to open up the [NOLAbucks] program to retailers outside of Tulane’s campus,” Merlin said. “We were ecstatic when years later, we became one of the first outside NOLAbucks merchants.”

Earlier this week, Merlin posted a notice by the cash register in Crepes a la Cart informing students that the restaurant was no longer accepting NOLAbucks.

Freshman Alyssa Tsang said she was upset to see Crepes a la Cart removed from the program. 

“It is disappointing to see a business so many students love stop accepting NOLAbucks,” Tsang said. 

The notice lists an email address and notes that Merlin hopes to develop a petition with the help of the students to reform the NOLAbucks program, making it more beneficial to students, vendors and Tulane University.

“We enjoy being a part of the Tulane family and look forward to the continued support for many years to come,” Merlin said.

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