Popular on-campus dining spots will look different come fall

By Alyssa Stewart, EDITOR IN CHIEF
On June 25, 2019

The MSC food court will now include computerized menu boards, registers at each dining location and the mobile ordering app, Tapingo. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ALYSSA STEWART

Construction has taken over the summer months as Dining Services works to expand its options and renovate the USF Library Starbucks.

Bento Sushi and Panera Bread will be joining the other six dining options — Chick-Fil-A, Jamba Juice, Papa Johns, Panda Express, Moe’s and Subway — in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) food court Aug. 26.

A “soft launch” and reveal of the location will occur the week prior, according to Aramark Marketing Director Jessica Cicalese.

The MSC dining areas, aside from Jamba Juice, closed down operations and installed a separation wall on April 24 to begin the four-month project.

Installing drywall, flooring and plumbing are the main priorities this month, however, programming will be another key focus in the weeks to come.

The updated MSC food court will showcase computerized menu boards, registers at each location and the mobile ordering app, Tapingo.

Previously, patrons would select their food at any of the dining locations and pay at the register before exiting. Sean Hamad, the food service director for the MSC, said the implementation of the registers at each location will avoid customers from having to wait in two lines.

Beef O’ Brady’s (Beefs) used to occupy the restaurant space in the MSC. Cicalese said the area will now house a full-service Chick-Fil-A, a Bento Sushi and will be renamed “Bulls Pen.”

This area will also include a space for students to play pool, air hockey and other activities.

The hours of operation will likely remain the same — 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. — for the food court, but the Panera Bread hours are still not decided, according to Cicalese.  Einstein’s Bagel, which is being replaced by Panera Bread, used to operate from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hamad said the Panera Bread serves as a better option than Einstein’s Bagel because of the variety.

“Students will be able to purchase breakfast, lunch and dinner options which is something we have not had previously,” Hamad said.

For those who are in the MSC in the late evenings, there will now be a food option past operational hours which will feature a salad bar and prepackaged options. The extended food court hours still have to comply with the MSC building hours, — 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. — so an appropriate time is still being determined.

Along with the salad bar, the food court will have a station called “813 Eats.” This option will sell food local to the Tampa area.

Because of the new dining changes and restaurants, Hamad said Dining Services has started hiring for the new positions and have rearranged the current staff.

“The people that were working at Beefs are now being trained on Chick-Fil-A’s machines,” Hamad said. “Someone else will also be relocated to be one of the managers at Panera when it opens.”

The Starbucks in the library will be getting a new look as well.

Construction began in the Starbucks on June 10 and it is expected to open Aug. 26. A temporary Starbucks kiosk is in the library for the meantime. All menu items, with the exception of a few frappuccino options, will still be available.

The upgrade will consist of a larger mobile ordering area and more seating accommodations.

“We have not had anyone reporting anything negative about the Starbucks,” Cicalese said. “But since it has gotten so popular, we wanted to open it up to give students more space.”

The MSC food court and Starbucks will be completely renovated by Senco Construction and Tipton Associates. The cost of the projects cannot be determined at this point in the process, according to Cicalese.

Hamad said he believes the new layout changes will be worth it to students.

“Given that the 10-year anniversary of the MSC just passed, we felt it was time to make some changes,” Hamad said. “I think students will enjoy the expansion and hopefully this will add more value to their college experience.”

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