Here’s why some MSC restaurants haven’t extended hours

813 Quick Eats was the solution to student complaints about some MSC restaurants closing too early. ORACLE PHOTO/CHLOE NGUYEN

If you can’t get an overstuffed burrito from Moe’s past 7 p.m., what’s your next move?

The Marshall Student Center (MSC) received some complaints from students about dining locations closing too early, according to Matt Marshall, the building’s director.

These complaints were addressed in a unique way – 813 Quick Eats, an AI-powered convenience store.

Related: New AI-powered convenience store to open in MSC – The Oracle 

Here’s why 813 Quick Eats – not extending hours – was the solution to student concerns.

What are the MSC dining hours?

The MSC food court, which features restaurants such as Panda Express, Moe’s and Subway, closes at 7 p.m. on Monday-Thursday. These locations close at 4 p.m. on Fridays and don’t operate on weekends. 

The Bullpen closes at 10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and is closed on Sunday. This area of the MSC includes the Chick-fil-A and Bento.

813 Quick Eats is open until midnight. While most MSC dining locations open at 10:30 a.m., the convenience store opens as early as 7 a.m.

How do other Florida colleges compare?

At FSU’s student center, restaurants such as Panda Express, Pollo Tropical and Brooklyn Pizza close at 10 p.m. every day – including weekends. 

UF closes its student center Panda Express at 8 p.m. every day except when it’s closed on Sunday. Restaurant’s like Baba’s Pizza and Subway remain open until 10 p.m. every day. Some restaurants in the center, however, are closed on weekends and stay open until 5 p.m.

Across I-4, the UCF Panda Express operates at identical hours, while restaurants like Bento and Which Wich close at 8 p.m. during the week.

Extend hours or offer alternatives?

That was the question Marshall, the MSC director, considered after receiving student complaints.

Marshall said it didn’t make logistical or fiscal sense to extend hours when factoring in demand, budgeting and staff pay. However, he said this reality inspired the MSC to look at alternatives to meet student demands.

Cue the 813 Quick Eats store. 

Marshall said it was the perfect compromise – students who wanted a late-night snack could use the store with little hassle, and no employees would be required to operate it.

Chick-fil-A, however, extended its closing time from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. post-pandemic due to demand, according to David DiSalvo, a manager for USF Dining and Aramark.

Are students using 813 as a late-night option?

From its opening last September to early February, DiSalvo said 460 students entered the store after 9 p.m. 

Nearly 5,000 students have used the store since September, DiSalvo said. Quick Eats has mostly seen an even distribution of students throughout the day.

Related: New AI convenience store promises effortless shopping – do students agree? 

He said the store didn’t meet attendance expectations when it first opened. However, DiSalvo said there has been a recent increase in demand as students continue to try it out for themselves.

Since the store opened, DiSalvo said Dining “hasn’t heard a lot” about students wanting extended hours.

Is it enough for students?

Student body vice president Elizabeth Volmy, who works in the Student Government office at the MSC, stays until the building’s closing at midnight most nights. For Volmy, grabbing a bag of dill pickle chips or a Naked smoothie at Quick Eats is a new routine. 

Volmy stops by the store daily through the week. She said it’s a convenient alternative to waiting in long Chick-fil-A lines whenever she’s in a hurry – or when she simply wants a snack.

“Of course you can’t have what you’re feeling every time, but I feel like [813] has a lot of options,” Volmy said. “If you’re wanting something salty or something sweet, you can get it there.”

Jake Andrews, a graduate computer science major, said his last class ends at 6:15 p.m., giving him enough time to get to the MSC before the food court closes. Still, he said he understands why some students could be frustrated with the hours – especially if they have late classes or labs.

However, Andrews said he also understands that if the demand isn’t there, it would be pointless to keep staff at the MSC longer than needed.

His solution? Do a test run.

“Extend temporarily,” Andrews said. “Offer some employees overtime for maybe a couple of weeks… and then decide if it’s good for the restaurant or food vendor in the long run.”

Volmy said Quick Eats is a practical solution because a lot of MSC food court employees are students that might not be able to balance longer work hours with academics.

For now, Andrews said Quick Eats is a useful alternative.

“You can’t study or learn if you’re hungry,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”