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Paying for meals in College

The version of the University Card required is known as a Mifare card. This is a combined identity card, access card and purse. First year undergraduates and new graduate students will receive their member card when they join the College. The issue of member cards is controlled by the Tutorial Office.

At the start of every new academic year, you may use the Garden Restaurant and the Red Brick Café Bar before you are issued with your member card or before you have put credit onto the purse, but only for the first two weeks of the Michaelmas Term. This is to give you adequate time to obtain your member card and to pay for credit. During this time, you will be able to pay by debit card at the tills and still benefit from the discounted member prices without having to show your member card. The introductory fortnight in 2023 will be from Saturday 24th September to Friday 7th October inclusive.

We therefore encourage you to use you member card as a purse and to load it with credit - we call this topping-up. You will have two separate purses - one for food and one for alcohol/drinks. Money is not transferable between the purses. Details of how to top-up are set out below. Use of the member card as a food purse will attract additional loyalty benefits from time to time.

In order to qualify for member prices, you will have to produce your member card. Your member card may be used in the Red Brick Café Bar to purchase food, drinks and other goods on sale, though loyalty benefits are only attached to food purchase transactions. ‘Buy 9 Coffees and get one free’ for example.

You may use your member card to purchase anything on sale in the Garden Restaurant. Spending on any of these items will be taken into account when calculating loyalty benefits. Certain items make up Meals deals.

Your card may not be used to “introduce” someone else who then pays for themselves. They will either need their own member card or pay non-member prices and use a debit card to make payment.

Please visit the On-line Meal Booking website here.

Click on Transaction History to review all transactions for a selected date range. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

When you want to put credit on your member card, we will assume it is to spend in the Garden Restaurant using your food purse unless you tell us differently. You must make it clear if you wish to put credit on your bar purse to purchase alcohol. You can only use credit in the area the money is credited to and once paid, it cannot be moved. When we receive a payment from you, we will put credit on the appropriate purse.

You can pay the College in any of the following ways:

We encourage you to use the ON-LINE Top Up facility

  • Preferred Option is On-line using a debit card.  Visit on-line Top-up to process a payment. Please note that credit card payments are not permitted to avoid members going into debt.

  • In the Red Brick Cafe during normal opening hours, debit card payments can be made. You can top up both your food and bar purses - make sure you tell the operator which one you wish to add the money to.

The amount of credit you choose to pay for is up to you. You may make payments as often as you choose to. There is no "upper" limit.

If you run out of credit on your food purse at an inopportune moment - for example, just as you are paying for your lunch, the system will allow you a very small overdraft facility on your purse. You will be required to deal with that overdraft and restore the balance on your purse to a positive figure immediately. You will receive an e-mail prompting you to correct the balance and we may restrict the use of your member card if you do not.

You may not overdraw on your bar purse under any circumstances.

If you have any credit remaining on your card at the end of term, the credit is transferable to the next term and indeed, the next academic year.

You may continue to put credit on your purses during vacations and use your member card in the Garden Restaurant, and RBCB, please note though prices, operating times and loyalty benefits will be different from during term-time.

When you are approaching the end of your study and your final departure from Robinson College, you should aim to reduce the credit on your card to zero. If however you have a balance outstanding, the College will give you a refund. See section: Refunds to your Member Card, below.

The price charged at the till in the Garden Restaurant will depend upon who the customer is. The "Non-member Price" will be that which is charged to a non-Robinson person. This could be a guest of yours or a visitor using our Catering Outlets. The Non-member Price will be on display in the Outlets.

A Robinson Member will benefit from a significant reduction - you will pay approximately two thirds what a guest or visitor would pay. The "Member Price" will also be displayed in the Garden Restaurant and additionally on the Prices and Deals page of this website. You will need to show your member card in order to be able to benefit from the Member Price. At the till, the system will automatically charge you the reduced price, once it has been activated by your card.

If you lose your member card, you must advise the Catering Department as soon as possible. Whilst the card does carry your photograph, it would be possible for someone else, fraudulently, to use it if it has not been cancelled. Send an e-mail to the Catering Department (you can do this via the Feedback page) as soon as possible. If the loss occurs outside of office hours, see the Supervisor in the Garden Restaurant or in the RBCB. The lost card will be cancelled.
Then go to the Tutorial Office, for a new card to be issued to you. Once you have your new member card, advise the Catering Department so that the new card can be attached to your account. You can then use the new one as before.

While you are without a card, please bring alternative ID with you into the outlets. The Supervisor is able to “look-up” members in the system but may require ID. This “look-up” facility will only be carried out on a limited number of occasions so it should not be relied upon. Ordering a new member card should be a priority.

There will be loyalty benefits available by using your card. For example, there may be offers of free items based upon previous buying, or discounts on specified items, Meal deals etc. More information will be available from time to time on the specific benefits available - see the news page on the website. You will also receive promotional information from time to time.

There are no loyalty benefits associated with the bar purse.

Please carry your card at all times to benefit from member prices, promotions and discounts that may be available.

Bonus credit earned on your food purse prior to October 2022 can only be spent in the catering department (Garden Restaurant, Red Brick Café Bar or Formal Hall bookings and cannot be exchanged for cash. Bonus credit is only available to spend, once you have spent the purchased credit through transactions in the catering department. If you do not spend your purchased credit, you will lose the bonus credit.

We took the decision to go cashless in our catering outlets from October 2022.  Wherever possible please use your member card or pay with a debit card.

Students are not permitted to use credit cards, only debit cards. However, in order to facilitate parents wishing to pay for top-ups from home, credit cards may be used to pay for top-ups on-line if there is no other means of payment via the College website.

Usually, any balance on your member card will remain for you to use from term to term, year to year and we will not usually provide refunds during your tenure.

When you leave Robinson College, usually at the end of your degree/post-grad degree, we will reimburse any positive purchased credit balance, though any unspent bonus credit (earned prior to October 2022) will be forfeit – in other words, we will give you back any of the money that you paid which is remaining on your card. If your balance is overdrawn, the College reserves the right to transfer such debts to your college bill for settlement before graduation.

You will need to apply for a refund to the Catering Department who will advise you of the value of the cash refund and any bonus credit that will be forfeit. Arrangements can then be made with the College Office to add this money to your deposit transfer in August.

Any un-claimed refunds as at two years following your graduation date will be forfeit and you will no longer be able to make a claim.