The future of Georgia Southern University Eagle Dining Services was discussed at the Student Government Association meeting last night.
Georgia Southern is one of two schools within the University System of Georgia that is self-operating for its dining services, and GSU’s system served over 731,000 students during Fall 2013.
Despite those strong numbers, several establishments on campus showed disappointing sales last fall, leading to the discussion of closing or replacing them with updated facilities, specifically Talon’s Grille, Einstein’s Bros Bagels and Cold Stone Creamery. Chick-fil-a and Starbucks also saw a dip in revenue, but it was not as severe.
Last fall new meal plans and a new system for Eagle Express were both introduced, and SGA was given the opportunity to ask questions to several key administration members about these new plans, as well as address rumors about the future of Eagle Dining Services.
“Eagle Dining Services is committed to providing those we serve with excellent food, exceptional customer service, while providing a sense of community for all,” Jeff Yawn, executive director of Eagle Dining Services, said.“We thought about what was best for you all,” Yawn said, as he began revealing what had been discussed. While nothing is officially set in stone, several ideas were addressed.
Perhaps most importantly, Eagle Dining has considered closing both Einstein’s and Cold Stone, and placing the IT store where Einstein’s is currently located.
There is also the possibility of a second Starbucks being placed in the IT building where the IT store is currently located, but as Eagle Dining representatives reaffirmed, nothing would be set in stone without input and feedback from students.
Many SGA representatives and students gave such feedback. While multiple problems and their solutions were addressed, students expressed the need for a compromise.
Students were open to the idea of swapping locations but suggested several additional ideas, including: a different option instead of Einstein’s, keeping a small but vital part of the IT store within the IT building (for Scantrons, batteries and technology needs) and concerns about dining in general, such as approaching Cook-Out for Eagle Express.
As for the meal plans, students claimed that while they enjoyed the freedom that the new meal plans granted them, they felt restricted only to the Main Dining Commons and Lakeside Dining Commons, which are the only two facilities that accept the plans. If students want something else, they have to use their own money, Eagle Express or Dining Dollars. Eagle Express and Dining Dollars both have the tendency to run out fairly quickly.
Yawn said, “We like to always get student input, and we certainly always have to have administrative input. We evaluate all we can, because if it is financially unstable, we can’t go through with it, because there isn’t a way to justify those numbers. But our intent is simply to talk to [students], and whatever comes about will have to have administrative approval. It’s fluid, depending on the needs.”