Exciting news dropped on The Strip today – Twelve25 will now be accepting dining dollars.

According to a Wednesday Instagram post by Twelve25, the University of Alabama's dining dollars will now be accepted at their restaurant on The Strip. UA students receive $350 at the beginning of each semester, which can be accessed on each student’s account and is mainly spent at eateries on campus, until recently.

Many local restaurants near UA have facilitated partnerships with the university that would allow students to use their dining dollars to buy food at places just outside of campus. Most notably, the 15th Street Dominos Pizza and The Strip's Buffalo Phil's restaurant both accept dining dollars. Twelve25 is now the newest member of the club.

Jay Jarrett, co-owner of the bar, is very excited about their newfound participation in the dining dollars program.

“Twelve25 always wants to be a spot that can provide great service to the UA students,” Jarrett said. “They are a major part of our clientele so having the opportunity to do this expands an extra courtesy to our guests.”

According to Jarrett, it is relatively easy for companies to apply for the dining dollars program. Hopeful restaurants are usually put on a waitlist and once they are accepted by Aramark, the private firm that works with the university for the dining dollars program, company owners attend sessions about the program, fill out paperwork and pay fees for the equipment.

While dining dollars essentially act as free money for UA students, this magic money does, however, come with one major restriction.

“Students are not able to purchase any alcoholic beverages with dining dollars,” Jarrett said. “Other than that, you can use it for food and other beverages.”

Local restaurants that are accepted into the dining dollars program give a percentage of their earned funds to Aramark.

“The dining dollars program is really unique,” Jarrett said. “As a business owner, we are always cognizant when thinking about the margins of profit. We are really excited about it.”

About 20-25% of each dining dollars sale goes to Aramark, but the remaining profit is all for the local businesses.

“The dining dollars, Bama Cash services are very popular and Twelve25 is very excited to offer this,” Jarrett said. “We want the students to come out and enjoy our lunch, evening, and dinner specials to use their dining dollars.”

COVID-19 restrictions have taken a severe toll on small businesses throughout Tuscaloosa County. Jarett is hopeful that allowing dining dollars will provide a nice enhancement to Twelve25’s revenue.

“COVID restrictions have certainly tampered a lot of business,” Jarrett said. “We see the ability to offer dining dollars as a way to boost our business.”

For more information on Twelve25, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram.

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