Culinary arts’ to-go food option cash-only

Pay with plastic alternative missing from modern eatery, alienates substantial group

By Jessica Suico, Advocate Staff

The culinary arts department runs Pronto and offers students affordable food on-the-go for a cheap price but has one big setback for everyone — it does not accept credit/debit cards.

It is located in SA-147 and is open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:15 pm.

Culinary arts department Chairperson Nader Sharkes said he gets complaints almost every day about how only cash is accepted.

The department is trying to make something work, but the program and Contra Costa Community College District need to come together and get with the advancement of technology to use credit and debit cards in the future at Pronto, he said.

Sharkes said he is hopeful to work on an idea to get a program working with Contra Costa College Bookstore so the money Pronto earns can go back into the culinary arts department.

There was some official discussion during the spring 2016 semester to allow use of the cards at Pronto, but there has been no other discussions about the matter.

Sharkes said, “The culinary arts department and I will try and do what we can do.”

Culinary arts professor Elisabeth Schwarz said the reason Pronto does not accept credit and debit cards is because of the fees associated with electronic transactions.

Schwarz said since Pronto is student-run, they want to make sure all proceeds go back into the culinary arts department, the students who actually prepare the food and the school.

It’s more reasonable to keep the purchases as cash only, she said.

Business major Larry Thompson said, “Pronto should accept credit and debit cards because the Bookstore, Student Dining Hall and the vending machines accept it.”

Thompson said they should have had a program or something in process before it opened.

Business major Julia Sanchez said, “It is inconvenient for me because I don’t always carry cash but I always have my card on me. It would make more sense if they accepted debit or credit cards because that’s what grants and financial aid money gets put on and that’s money for college.”

According to, in 2015 there were $1.31 trillion in transactions with debit cards in a 12-month period.