New meal card policy starts April 1

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, DE, UNITED STATES 03.15.2021 Photo by Roland Balik 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Subscribe10 Airman Basic Eduardo Salcedo, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, uses his Common Access Card to purchase food at Mugs Coffee Bar on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, March 15, 2021. Salcedo and other Airmen using their registered CAC for essential station messing will have new dollar amounts for specific meals beginning April 1, 2021. Currently Mugs and FREDS are the only two nonappropriated fund food and beverage facilities where Airmen can purchase ESM eligible items. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik) (This photo has been altered for security purposes by blurring out personal identifiable information.)



Story by Roland Balik 

436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — Beginning April 1, 2021, changes to the Air Force Campus Dining System will affect Dover Air Force Base Airmen enrolled in essential station messing.

After validating their Common Access Card at participating nonappropriated funds food and beverage facilities, ESM members are allowed up to $6 for breakfast and up to $12 each for lunch and dinner, per day, on ESM eligible items.

At most installations, ESM customers are limited to food options within dining facilities using their entitlements through a system known as CAFÉ – Corporate Automated Foodservice Enterprise. This system allows the Air Force food and beverage team, located at the Air Force Services Center in San Antonio, to monitor usage.

“Dover [AFB] is excited to continue CDS, allowing our active-duty Airmen on ESM the privilege of variety and increased accessibility with access to our NAF food and beverage operations,” said Maj. Kady Griffin, 436th Force Support Squadron commander. “This change will have a huge, positive impact on the hundreds of Team Dover Airmen on ESM.”

Dover AFB facilities currently participating in the CDS program are FREDS, located in the Eagle Lanes Bowling Center, and Mugs Coffee Bar at The Landings.

CDS timeframes are as follows:
04:00 AM – 09:59 AM BREAKFAST ESM have access in CDS up to $6 each day
10:00 AM – 14:59 PM LUNCH ESM have access in CDS up to $12 each day
15:00 PM – 21:59 PM DINNER ESM have access in CDS up to $12 each day

“The Airmen who use ESM meal cards are a huge part of our customer base. Therefore, we are determined to do what we can to care for them,” said Mindy Hildebrand, 436th FSS community services flight chief. “Each of our operations will be working on creating new menu items that fit within the established meal budgets.”

Members will not be allowed to purchase certain items using their ESM meal card under the new policy changes.

“Even though specialty coffees and drinks will no longer be authorized at Mugs Coffee Bar, our staff have created a delicious iced coffee option (using our standard brew) that will fit within the Airmen’s ESM budget,” said Hildebrand. “The good news is, if our ESM customers want to purchase a food item from our menu that is higher than their allotted budget for the meal, they can apply the allotted amount to the bill and simply pay the difference.”

On a daily basis, over 38,000 Air Force members on ESM receive a variety of entitlements through the Air Force food and beverage program worldwide. As of March 2021, Dover AFB is one of 27 operational Air Force installations providing the new CDS to active-duty Airmen.

The AFSVC Food and Beverage division continues to deliver innovative and desirable customer service programs, such as the Air Force CDS, at traditional services food and beverage operations. AFSVC has collaborated with Dover AFB for the past six years offering a variety of options, to include healthier entrées, to members on ESM.

“The AFSVC continues to deliver installations customer friendly food and beverage solutions where we can,” said Jim Krueger, AFSVC Air Force Food and Beverage Strategic Initiatives chief. “While we desire to expand CDS and deliver on innovation and transformation under our Health Food Initiatives, it takes upfront installation partners, funding, coordination and agreed partnerships across the enterprise.”

Check out all the food and beverage offerings Dover AFB has available at

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