Student feedback leads to campus Chick-fil-A and Starbucks

Students have steadily rushed to try the new eateries on campus since the semester’s start on Aug. 20.

The new Wedgewood Academic Center is home to We Proudly Serve Starbucks Coffee and Sandella’s Flatbread Café and the Curb Café has been renovated to make room for an express version of Chick-fil-A.

“As we try to evolve, we get a master plan in place, and then we go by the numbers. In two years, we’ve transformed almost everything on this campus,” said Kyle Grover, director of dining services.

All three new dining options have been met with an enthusiastic reception from students and faculty, despite the closing of WOW World of Wings and Mein Bowl.

The process to implement new dining options began two years ago when dining services held several student focus groups on their dining experience.

“The students overwhelmingly wanted Chick-fil-A,” said Grover.

We Proudly Serve Starbucks Coffee was another clear choice, extending the We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee stands in What’s Bruin to include more of Starbucks’ Coffee signature beverages. Sandella’s was chosen for its healthier menu of flatbreads and paninis and its quick service.

In addition to direct student feedback, decisions for new dining options are influenced by student statistics.

“We keep every bit of raw data possible,” said Grover.

This data ranges from a list of student ZIP codes to determine students’ probable dining favorites to customer counts in each eatery to pinpoint traffic changes on campus. The Chick-fil-A was deliberately placed in the Curb Café apart from Sandella’s and We Proudly Serve Starbucks Coffee in an effort to draw the heavy traffic to the opposite side of campus.

The Gabhart Student Center cafeteria has extended its hours to remain open until 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, until 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday and until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Grover cites an influx in the number of students arriving in the last half hour of business as the reason for extending the hours.

Other changes include a new sushi company, Hissho, which will now be producing the sushi sold on campus, and the removal of the Chic1k-fil-A sandwich stand in the Corner Court to be replaced by a sausage biscuit stand.

Fall of 2015 will see the opening of a brand new dining hall more than twice the size of the Gabhart Student Center cafeteria.  The new dining hall will include two delis, two salad bars, panini presses, a Mongolian flat top grill and a complete gluten and allergen-free station.

Students can expect even more changes.

“You want to change something every year.  You want a significant change at least every four years,” said Grover.

Possible future dining updates include adding breakfast and milkshakes to Chick-fil-A’s menu, renovation of the Corner Court and What’s Bruin and implementing a more centralized dining option.

This story was written by Krista Walsh

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