Marketplace runs pilot program for late-night dining

Students line up for limited late-night dining options in the Marketplace. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

The Marketplace at Doan is testing extended late night hours.

Director of Auxiliary Operations Dawn Iseler announced the trial after an October opinion piece by The Vanguard, as well as input from students at the last president’s forum.

Iseler cited “feedback received from The Valley Vanguard, President’s Open Forum, Student Association engagement and directly from students” as the main reasons for the pilot program’s implementation.

The program, which began Jan. 21, will run through spring break before Dining Services evaluates it.

“We plan to evaluate the impact of the extended hours during the university’s spring break,” Iseler said. “We will have about six weeks of data to review until then. Strong student participation during the extended operating hours is the best possible feedback. In addition, we will monitor our normal channels of data gathering.”

Such channels include Voice of the Consumer, surveys, Food Committee sessions, etc. Math junior Andrew Bond said he was excited to see the change, as it allows him to eat after his late classes.

“It’s great that the FOC is open later,” Bond said. “Personally, after getting out of class at 9:30, the only thing I want is a plate of nachos from the FOC.”

Communication senior Austin Teeple said the Marketplace pilot program could be improved by adding more food choices.

“I love that they stay open so late, but my favorite thing at the Marketplace is the grill,” Teeple said. “Getting a chicken patty and fries would make the late-night experience at the Marketplace better.”

The Marketplace’s pilot program is the third late-night dining option on campus.

Previously, the only late-night dining options on campus were Papa John’s and the C-store. Iseler explained that the program could potentially lead to other late-night dining options.

“All dining location operating hours are driven by customer participation, and hours have varied over the years,” Iseler said. “It is important to note, as an auxiliary operation, all dining operations are self-supporting.”

SVSU’s dining programs are contracted through Aramark, a company that specializes in food service for universities. Because of the structure of the contracts, dining operations must remain profitable in order to operate.

“The extended hours require additional labor and utility expenses,” Iseler said. “If there is enough customer volume, the potential exists to offset the additional costs. It is important to note that Marketplace at Doan was open for a late-night snack period when residential populations were at peak capacity.”

The extended hours will run from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Wednesday.

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