NewsNew dining options find success on campus

Staff and students reflect on Starbucks and the new meal swipe exchange policy
Kaylie KingApril 15, 2019661 min
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Photo by Genevieve Humphreys

With the addition of several new dining options on campus last semester, some dining services staff were unsure of how these new options would affect business at dining options that have been open for years. Looking back on the last school year, however, all of the dining options on campus have done very well.

“We’re pleased to see that with the increased options, all locations have benefited,” said Paul Wright, director of business operations for Tiger Card. “We were curious about the presence of particularly Chick-fil-A and Panda Express, what impact that would have on Einstein’s, Taco Taco and Freshii. It’s pleasing to see that their sales went up a little bit, as did the number of transactions. Intuitively, that just indicates to us that the changes that were implemented have hopefully worked well because of more options. That was the intent going in.”

This school year, students also had the new option of using the board exchange, which allows them to use meal swipes at all dining locations.

“The board exchange was implemented to give students an option for their meal plan,” Wright said. “It’s worked out really well. The intention was to give students more options to use their meal plan than they had before. We wanted to give students more options for dining plus more options to use their resources. You don’t want to see a lot left on the table, so that was the intent, to give you more options and the ability to use it differently than they had in the past.”

Wright has noticed that Mabee Dining Hall has been less busy at lunch time since the addition of options such as Chick-fil-A and Panda Express.

“Mabee is not as busy as it was before, and I think a lot of that has to do with the board exchange,” Wright said. “For lunch — since most students are up on upper campus — they found it was a little challenging to get to Mabee and back, so with the expanded options at Revolve and also the board exchange have made a huge difference for upper campus dining during lunch.”

New dining options within Mabee — Batch 101, the Daily Grind and the Root vegetarian station — have also been doing well.

“I have spoken with quite a few students that are all really surprised how much better everything has been compared to when they first came to Trinity, and it has a lot to do with the better concepts, changes in food procurement and our amazing team,” wrote Charles Robles, food service director, in an email interview. “Batch 101 is easily our most popular option; its changing concepts have been well received and utilized the most. It’s been a very exciting year and stressful with construction and trying new concepts here at Trinity. We are constantly learning on how to make the program better, and we are already thinking of new ideas for next year.”

Some students have found that the new dining options are especially convenient because of their location.

“I’ve mostly just been going to Starbucks and Revolve,” said Jocelyn Suarez, junior. “I usually drink tea, so before Starbucks I just had my own stuff. When it comes to what the new stuff has brought, for me it’s been really helpful because I’m constantly on upper campus and it’s really hard to go down to lower campus to get food. Having anything up here has been really helpful when it comes to food.”

Other students prefer dining options that have been on campus for a lot longer.

“I use the Commons a lot, Freshii and Taco Taco,” said Sydney Johnson, first-year. “I eat at Revolve occasionally, but not usually because it doesn’t really match up with my schedule. I use the board exchange every day, I have to get my one swipe in.”

Kaylie King

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