On-campus food to offer more options

November 12, 2009

by Eboni Jaggers

Beginning winter quarter 2009, Dining Services will offer more food options to Tech students and faculty.

Crystal Berry, marketing coordinator for dining services, said she and other food services employees have been in the works of implementing new dining options to better serve each Tech student for some time now.

“I know we can’t please everyone,” she said. “But we want to do our best as far as the dining options offered on campus.”

Berry said many restaurants were discussed for beginning the expansion of dining options offered on campus, the main two being Taco Bell and Panda Express.

These two options were listed in a campus-wide e-mail sent to all students as possible future food expenditures and both options were well received.

She said though these two options are the main choices being discussed, students are not limited to just these two franchises.
Berry said other restaurants are also in talks because these two options will be accompanied with certain costs.

Panda Express’s problem revolves around a resource issue, as its food items require an excessive amount of water to be properly prepared. Taco Bell is often seen as an unhealthy fast-food option and is already located minutes away from Tech.

“People are crying out for healthy options, and we want to be able to offer those as well,” Berry said.

She said the grand opening of the sushi counter, Advanced Fresh Concepts, recently incorporated in the Student Center, Main Floor, will be held upon students arrival back to Tech for winter quarter.

“We will be having a big grand opening for our sushi location,” Berry said. “We will be serving green tea and kits to make sushi at home. I know everyone is excited about that.”

She said she would like to lessen student’s apprehensions about the sushi’s authenticity.

“AFC sushi will have a real Asian chef relocate to Ruston to create the menu items,” Berry said. “We have a lot of things we’re going to be doing with Tech in the next few months and years, including a huge renovation of the cafeteria. We should be getting on that early in the beginning of next year.”

Shondra McCray, campus activities director for the Student Government Association, said during a talk with Mike Michelle, director of food services, she informed him that SGA could be a big help in reaching students to get their opinions on what food services they would like to see develop on campus.

McCray, a junior economic major, said this is when she formed the Dining Services Committee, which will hold a meeting at 4 p.m. today in Tolliver Hall. The meeting is open to any student who would like to voice an opinion on the restaurant options being explored for the future.

“[Food services] is trying to get student input,” McCray said.
“And that’s what I’m helping with. The campus-wide e-mail [sent by dining services] received over 800 responses, and the Facebook group I have created has helped to reiterate the e-mail.”

She said the happier students are with Tech’s dining services the more profitable Aramark will become as a company, which will in turn benefit the university.

“New [dining facilities] not only provide options for students, but also help with the profit of Aramark,” McCray said.
“One-third of all of Aramark’s sales comes from commuting students. It’s just more convenient for students to eat on campus, so both parties will benefit in the end.”

Allison Reynolds, president of SGA, agrees with McCray.

She said without student satisfaction, dining services will suffer.
“It’s imperative that [food service employees] ask the opinion of the students,” Reynolds said. “When students feel like their opinion is valued they’re going to complain less about prices and what is being offered.”