According to the Dining Advisor Board members, Aramark is considering a switch between two of their franchised food choices: Chick-Fil-A and Subway. The plan is to move Subway to where Montague’s Deli stands and then move Chick-Fil-A to South Side and then bring something to fill Chick-Fil-A’s spot, possibly an expansion of the Grille, which currently serves burgers and cheesesteaks.
A major fuel for this idea is to improve the quality and appeal of South Side to garner more interest, as the Board said, it goes unvisited by many students. Other options have been discussed which make more sense, but let’s get this out:
Moving Chick-Fil-A to South Side is a horrible idea. Firstly, Chick-Fil-A is immensely popular with students. It’s tasty, quick and cheaper than 8-dollar salads or 10-dollar bowls of pasta. The issue with much of its popularity on campus is that it does not run on the meal plan, which makes absolutely no sense.
Firstly, by not allowing students to use their meal plan, which has already been paid for in full, it limits the amount of overall money that can be spent in other places like Starbucks, Larry’s Market and the Diner. By not allowing meals in franchised areas, there are bound to be less popularity and sales.
That problem can be talked about another day, the issue here is taking away a high-traffic location from a high-traffic cafeteria. Students will not take a bus or walk to South Campus just to get some chicken on bread with pickles, despite how delicious it is.
We’re not mocking Subway, it is good and could carve out a niche on campus, but there is a Subway in town that is easily accessible. The Chick-Fil-A in Ram’s Head is the only one in all of West Chester.
So Aramark.the million dollar question is how do you make South Side more appealing to the West Chester masses? The answer: Supermarket. The South Campus apartment and Village apartments do not have a close means of shopping for groceries, especially those without a cars. If South Side would turn into an AFFORDABLE supplier of groceries, students won’t have to drive off campus. A number of students have expressed that there is too much of a need for them to have a car on campus.
This would alleviate many forms of errands students have in their busy schedule and may even prevent some students from bringing their cars to campus, alleviating an increasingly difficult parking situation. The supermarket obviously would not take the meal plan, but could offer quick-grab food options like Target and Wal-Mart’s have.
So here are a number of solutions to problems Aramark or our next food contractor will have to address. I think the options suggested here have redeeming quality and may need alterations, but the basis of these problems can be fixed.
To bring these ideas full circle, moving the most popular thing on campus may not necessarily solve South Side’s problem. Sometimes you have to blow something up to rebuild it.