By Michael Freeman, Managing Editor
As traffic drastically declined in the Bean Sprout Grill and Café this semester, rumors circulated among students that the eatery on the bottom floor of the Campus Center soon will close. However, those are just rumors.
ACU Dining Services along with ARAMARK and a focus group comprised of about 20 students have been meeting and researching viable options for the future of oncampus eateries, such as the Bean Sprout, for the last three weeks. No final decision for those eateries has been reached, said Anthony Williams, director of Retail and Campus Stores Manager.
“We are firmly committed to creating a premiere dining experience on this campus,” Williams said. “No final decision has been made. We’ve just had some conversations on what to do.”
Over the last two years, ACU has conducted a comprehensive study of the dining on campus with the objective of providing its users the best dining experience. Last year, the Hilton Food Court, which features Quizno’s, Pizza Hut and Chickfil- A restaurants, opened in the Campus Center. On Aug. 9, the “World Famous Bean” re-opened after a summer of extensive renovations and improvements. Other food locations around campus, such as the Bagel Wagon in the Hardin Administration Building, the Connections Café in the Mabee Business Building, the Fatted Café in the Biblical Studies Building and the Bean Sprout, are now being examined for possible changes. Some changes could include altering the menus, modifying the aura of the eateries or closing them.
“The Bean Sprout right now is operating with a deficit from week-to-week,” Williams said. “I would love for people to be clamoring to keep the Bean Sprout open, and moreover, clamoring to purchase items in the Bean Sprout. It would certainly have an impact on the decision.”
Traffic has been lower this semester because of the Bean Sprout’s proximity to the more popular, renovated Bean and Hilton Food Court. But the Bean Sprout has seen its fair share of changes in recent years. In 2006 the Students’ Association worked to get a fountain drink dispenser installed. Also that year, Dining Services bought an electric smoker to cook chicken and barbecue and lowered the prices on the Bean Sprout’s menu. In 2003 Dining Services settled on a menu similar to that of Chili’s with sirloin hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and Philly steak sandwiches instead of items such as grilled cheese sandwiches.
The future of the Bean Sprout will be determined by student input, ARAMARKand the administration.
“I would like to think we can come to a decision by semester-end,” Williams said.