By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
Triangular pieces of sirloin burgers, small cups of curly fries, chicken fingers and brownies lay on platters on the two long tables. Vases of multicolored flowers and bouquets of balloons provided a backdrop and Newsboys blared from the sound system set up in a booth.
Welcome to the grand re-opening of the Bean Sprout.
And the students showed up.
“Right after Chapel, you couldn’t walk through here, it was so packed,” said Cory Bourg, director of dining services.
“This is the opportunity for students to sample some of the menu changes,” said Shelley Robinson, marketing program manager. “It’s a chance to compare our 6-ounce sirloin burgers with the burgers across the street.”
She gestured to the display table with the Bean Sprout’s sirloin burger, a McDonald’s burger and a Burger King burger.
“This shows the difference between the burgers, the bun and the difference in the meat,” she said. “We use whole lettuce, and they use shredded. We use sliced tomatoes, and theirs are more chopped.”
Robinson said she wanted students to be able to see and taste the changes.
At the end of one of the tables was the opportunity to win a Sony DVD player in the form of a jar of pickles the size of a small trash can. Students could submit a guess about how many pickles were in the jar, and the closest guess would later win the DVD player.
As the platters were refilled with samples, students kept coming back for more.
“It’s pretty tasty,” said Regina McClure, sophomore nursing major from Canton, Ohio. “The brownies are the best, and I also really like the bread on the burgers.”
Stephanie Riles, junior nutrition major from Lockhart, also said she enjoys the new burgers.
“They aren’t dry,” she said. “They’re tender and juicy.”
Some students still miss other menu items, however.
“I miss my grilled cheese,” said Megan Jackson, junior psychology major from Dallas. “The burgers are a lot better though.”
Trish Porter, junior bio-chemistry major from Abilene, agreed.
“The food they have is better and I really enjoy it, but an expanded menu would be better because some people are vegetarians or more health conscious,” she said.
Robinson said that there have been talks about bringing certain items back to the menu.
“The students are our primary concern, and we want them to know that we are taking their concerns seriously,” she said.
Bourg said that changes could happen as soon as within the next few weeks or by the spring semester.
“We’re really working to meet the needs and desires of the students,” he said.
Other events will be happening throughout the school year as well.
On Oct. 1, Tyson chicken will be bringing samples to the Bean Sprout of all their chicken products from popcorn chicken to chicken fingers.
“This will be a great opportunity for immediate feedback from the students,” Robinson said. “They can tell us, ‘We like this,’ or ‘We don’t like this.’ The key thing is that our job is to serve the students, and that’s what all this is about.”
This year, student response surveys will be available online. In early October, a campus-wide email will be sent out with a link to the survey.
“It will take about 10 minutes and will let students communicate with us at their convenience,” Bourg said.
A prize drawing will be connected with the survey.
“We want to be responsive and communicate with the students,” Robinson said.