The battle of the burrito

Despite plans to add a Taco Bell restaurant as a food venue in the new Marshall Student Center, a second option is being considered. Last Tuesday, Joseph Synovec, director of Marshall Center Administration, asked the Student Senate to take the latest results from an online survey into account.

The online survey, conducted through Note-a-Bull, allowed students to chose between adding a Moe’s Southwestern Grill or a Taco Bell to the new Marshall Student Center. As of last Monday, the survey ended with 6,710 votes. Synovec said that with 69 percent of the votes, Moe’s is the favorite among students who participated in the survey.

He presented a summary sheet comparing prices between the two restaurants at last Tuesday’s Senate meeting. Ultimately, the choice lies between convenience and savings.

While the closest Moe’s to USF is in New Tampa, Taco Bell has several locations closer to campus. Public transportation is not available to the Moe’s on Bruce B. Downs Blvd., whereas Taco Bell on 56th Street is within walking distance. Placing a Moe’s on campus would allow students without transportation to frequent a venue that is normally outside of their reach, Synovec said.

However, prices at Moe’s are also significantly higher than those of Taco Bell. The least expensive burrito at Moe’s is priced at $5.99, while a similar burrito at Taco Bell costs $3.49.

“Prices might not be identical, but they will be ballpark,” said Synovec during his presentation to the Senate.

Another concern in deciding between the two restaurants is fast service. The fact sheet presented during the Senate meeting said Taco Bell would probably be able to get students in and out quicker. Moe’s uses an assembly line to customize orders in front of customers, which may lead to longer waiting times.

The Senate hasn’t voted on the subject, but Synovec said he would like a poll to be conducted at the next meeting. The informal count will serve to raise new questions and dispute findings of the Note-a-Bull survey.

Nathan Davison, Senate president, confirmed that at the next meeting, SG will be prepared to address the issue. Davison said he finds benefits in both establishments. According to him, Moe’s offers variety while Taco Bell is quick and filling. “We’ll probably have a couple people speak pro and a couple people speak con and then go from there,” he said.

Faculty has not been offered the opportunity to contribute to the survey, according to Synovec.

“The Marshall Center is predominately for students,” he said. “Their opinion matters most.”

Aramark, the company that runs The Tampa Room and Starbucks, will be responsible for negotiating a contract with either Taco Bell or Moe’s. They will decide on prices, menu options and, most importantly, which restaurant will most satisfy the students.

Although alcoholic beverages are part of the Moe’s menu, they would not be allowed on campus. It is also still uncertain whether or not Taco Bell will offer value meals at an on-campus location.

Synovec said his guess would be that the “Welcome to Moe’s” greeting would not apply on campus. Since the venue will be part of a food court set-up, it may cause unneeded racket.

There isn’t a definite deadline on the decision, but the new Marshall Student Center is scheduled to be completed in 2008.

“We can’t delay it any longer,” said Synovec.

The Senate will cast its vote at the next meeting, July 24 at 6 p.m.