Dining services considers new dining alternatives in the Hub

Anthony Holloway

A&W could be gone by this summer

University Dining Services is considering replacing the A&W at the Student Center with another dining option during the summer. It may be replaced with another hamburger restaurant. Glennis Siegfried | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Dining Services is looking to “refresh” the variety in the Hub as it researches for a possible replacement for A&W, said Marlene Maneage, manager of the Hub.

Maneage said Dining Services is always looking to refresh the choices for students, such as new products and menus.

While they haven’t decided fully to take out A&W, she said Dining Services is exploring its options.

Richard Roldan, director of Dining Services, said it is partially looking to replace A&W because of its under-performance popularly and financially. There aren’t any specific replacements being considered at this time.

Maneage said the important factors Dining Services are considering are:

&bull The price of food once new dining location moves in. Roldan said the price of the food is an important factor because the more expensive the product is to make, the more the customers pay.

&bull The price of moving the dining location into the Hub. If the selected dining location isn’t in the vicinity, it will cost more to bring it to Kent State. They’ve looked at places from east to west to find the best option. She said one of the locations they considered was In and Out Burger, a burger chain from California. The price of moving it here is a strong deterrent, though.

&bull The variety of food offered by the new concept or dining location.

&bull The quality of the product.

&bull The ability to train student employees to the new concept.

&bull The speed of the service. Roldan said the speed of service is important for a fast-paced environment like the Hub.

“A burger that will take 12 minutes to cook isn’t going to work,” Roldan said.

Roldan said Dining Services is looking to put another burger place to replace A&W, but they are open to suggestions from students.

Brian Florek, freshman health and physical education major, said he enjoys eating in the Hub, and he probably eats at Quiznos every day.

“I don’t really like Eastway,” Florek said. “I think it’s expensive.”

Florek said he also thinks the quality of the food is better in the Hub.

“I think it’s fresher here,” Florek said.

He said if he could replace a dining location in the Hub, it would be JUMP Asian Express, the stir fry location, because there isn’t enough of a selection.

Jessica Finney, junior nursing major, said she would replace A&W with a place built around wraps and salads.

“It (Hub) has a lot of variety, but it’s not the healthiest place,” Finney said.

Jason Blawas, junior computer design and animation major, said he would replace Sunset Strips in the Hub with Taco Bell.

“In the Hub it’s good (variety), but everywhere else it seems to be all the same,” Blawas said. “You can get chicken anywhere.”

Roldan said there is a problem with bringing in big named food chains like Taco Bell, though. The problem lies in franchise agreements. He said within agreements, there cannot be another franchise within a certain proximity of an existing franchise. Roldan said because of those agreements, places like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Taco Bell aren’t acquirable.

“If we do make a change, it will be over the summer for the Fall semester,” Roldan said.

Maneage said no matter what would replace A&W, it wouldn’t affect the student employees working there.

“Employee retention is very important to us,” Maneage said.

Maneage said the flexibility of student employment in the Hub allows for students to move freely between dining locations if openings are available.

Roldan said the new dining location could help with student employment.

“We’ll probably need the same employment, if not higher,” Roldan said.

Roldan said Dining Services is considering healthier choices around campus. One of the ideas Dining Services has is to put a farmers’ market in Eastway.

Contact news correspondent Anthony Holloway at [email protected].