USF Dining Services will bring large-scale changes to the options available at the Marshall Student Center (MSC). However, student reactions following the announcement of the upcoming changes are mixed.
The revamping will bring new dining choices to the MSC while removing some long-term partners, including Beef 'O’ Brady’s and Einstein’s.
Beef 'O’ Brady’s will be replaced by a full-service Chick-fil-A and a Bento Sushi, while Panera will replace Einstein’s in the MSC atrium. A new salad-bar concept also will be added to the food court.
In addition, USF Dining Services will implement Tapingo mobile ordering for locations in the food court. Guests will also be able to purchase their food at each location individually as a way to reduce long lines that currently exist at the cashier stations at the front of the food court.
According to Jessica Cicalese, the marketing director for Aramark, work in the MSC will start at the end of the spring semester and be fully operational by fall.
Despite approval of mobile ordering and the new salad-bar concept, senior Ben Carr said he is against the Chick-fil-A expansion following the company’s support of “anti-LGBT organizations.”
“This is an opposition to USF’s stated values and it should instead follow the example of San Antonio Airport, which has recently publicly refused to host Chick-fil-A due to their homophobic stance,” Carr said.
According to NBC News, Chick-fil-A was blocked from opening one of its franchises at San Antonio International Airport following a donation of $1.8 million to three anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2017, including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Salvation Army.
Some students are upset that Beef 'O’ Brady’s will be removed from the MSC after being a staple for the last decade.
Alex Kahn is a senior and currently works at Beef 'O’ Brady’s. He said eliminating the servers on campus is frustrating since it will reduce many of its benefits.
“I’m pissed,” Kahn said. “I love my job at Beef’s and eliminating the job of a server, where I can actually make a decent wage on campus is frustrating … we need a bar on campus. Chick-fil-A and Bento (Sushi) aren’t the right restaurants to fill the spot.”
Alicia Louis, a junior majoring behavioral science and disorders, said Chick-fil-A should not replace Beef 'O' Brady's due to a lack of discounts offered.
“I’m not excited about Beef O’ Brady’s leaving because Chick-fil-A doesn’t run specials, which can be counteractive when it comes to saving money and taking advantage of deals on campus," Louis said.
Other students are concerned with the decrease in vegan and vegetarian options on campus with this new change.
Allyson Reinert, a freshman majoring in environmental science and policy, said she is upset that Einstein’s is leaving the MSC since it’s her go-to spot to grab vegan breakfast.
“I am really upset about Einstein’s leaving because they just got vegan cream cheese and they also have avocado and hummus spread for bagels, which Panera doesn’t have any of that stuff,” Reinert said. “I don’t know what I’m going to get for breakfast anymore because I do that every single day. It’s really taking away from the vegan options on campus.”
In contrast, some students are excited about the new changes.
Chance Bellois, a senior majoring in information technology, said the upcoming renovations will be beneficial to reduce lines.
“Beef’s was always empty to begin with,” Bellois said. “Modernizing the food court sounds great and mobile ordering should help alleviate some of the traffic in there. Japanese food and Chick-fil-A are always good.”
Freshman Kat Sharma said the changes are positive and she's excited that new options will bring more convenience to students.
"I think it's good that they are replacing Beef 'O' Brady's because their service is very slow and it's always empty," Sharma said. "I'm excited that they will bring Panera on campus because it will bring more options and make our lives more convenient since we won't need to go off campus every now and then."
Louis said the new changes will have an overall positive effect on dining options.
"Even though I'm upset that Beef's will be leaving campus, I'm happy that new options will be added," Louis said. "I think that the addition of cashiers in each location will be a very positive change as we will be able to check out easier and more efficiently at each location, especially during the busiest hours of the day."