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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Dining hall changes offer new hours, food options on account of student feedback

Lynn Jafarzadah / Hilltop Views
Meadows Coffeehouse is located in Ragsdale Center at the heart of campus. In addition to coffee, pastries, snacks and a variety of grab & go options, Meadows now features breakfast and late-night menus that offer hot food options.

St. Edward’s University has recently seen a variety of changes to dining on campus since last semester. Equity Café has reopened; South Congress Market has expanded its hours but is now closed on Fridays; Hunt Hall Café now has staff-serve stations that were previously self-serve; and Meadows Coffeehouse and the Grab and Goat made adjustments to their hours of operations. 

“We’re constantly changing and evolving with the campus,” general manager of Bon Appétit at St. Edward’s Elvin Lubrin said. “If there’s one thing that’s constant is the change, and through participation, revenue and feedback— verbal feedback and written feedback, is how we can adjust and change along with everybody here.” 

Student feedback led to the significant change in hours of operation at South Congress Market, which is now open until 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 

“I really appreciate it, because (last semester) I would have to rush to go to SoCo because I don’t really eat at Hunt during the day and I like the options more at SoCo than at Hunt,” freshman Alexis Roca said. “So, now I don’t feel like I have to rush in-between classes and I have that leeway time to go get my food.”

Several other factors determined the shift in hours of operation at different dining locations. Bon Appétit management works with the university and business partners by using data from sales, student participation and student feedback to make recommendations and suggestions to the university’s dining hall hours.

“Keeping (South Congress Market) open a little longer really meets a lot of people’s needs,” Bon Appétit Assistant General Manager Kella Tyson said. 

Hunt Hall Café increased the number of staff-served stations to increase interaction between Bon Appétit employees and students. 

“It all goes back to one thing, and it’s customer service,” Tyson said. “You get to know our team, you get to know, you know, the people that are behind your food, so that you get more comfortable with them.” 

Changes have also been made to menu rotation in both Hunt Hall Café and South Congress Market, which now provide an increased variety of protein options. According to Tyson, the dining halls are on a four week protein rotation.

On the other side of campus, Equity Café was reopened after Thanksgiving break last semester. Since its reopening, there is still a significant portion of the student body that has not yet visited the location. 

“I have a class in the Fine Arts Center, but I have never gone to the Equity Café,” Roca said.

As a smaller, satellite location, Equity Café experiences reduced traffic compared to Meadows Coffeehouse in Ragsdale. One reason junior Oswald Herne stated for not frequenting Equity Café is its “lack of proximity to on-campus residencies.” However, Bon Appétit management are hoping to increase participation by promoting the location more this semester. 

“One of the big changes that we’ve implemented or brought forth this semester is a bigger push toward Equity (Café),” Lubrin said. “It’s a more central spot to that side of campus.”

One concern students have regarding changes to on campus dining is the decreased availability of breakfast tacos across campus.

“The breakfast tacos I feel are being slowly phased out despite being like, at the very least in my personal opinion, one of the best parts about eating on campus,” junior Alek Marttala said. “The only place you can reliably get them is the Starbucks, which they don’t even have on weekends.”

Bon Appétit has made breakfast tacos exclusively available at Meadows Coffeehouse and Equity Café to introduce variety and make the dining experience at each location on campus unique. 

“A big focus of ours was not to have breakfast tacos everywhere but to specialize breakfast tacos at Meadows and at Equity,” Lubrin said. “So, now when you come into SoCo for breakfast, you’ll get the breakfast court, you’ll get breakfast on a bun. It’s a totally different experience.”

Feedback for on-campus dining services can be submitted through an online survey, café comment boxes or by directly emailing Tyson or Lubrin.

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About the Contributor
Lynn Jafarzadeh
Lynn Jafarzadeh, Illustrator
Lynn is a freshman and this is his first semester working as an illustrator with Hilltop Views. Alongside illustrating, Lynn also dabbles in hard news reporting and writing opinion articles about topics they are passionate about.

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