Where have all the bagels gone?

Madalyn Schimpf

Contributing Writer

VCU Students have been lacking access to bagels since Pizza Hut Express took the place of Alpine Bagel in the Monroe Park Campus Student Commons this semester.

Alpine Bagel was replaced after five years because sales had been falling. “When we see sales begin to drop at a particular location, we do our best find out why that is happening,” Tamara Highsmith, manager of Sales and Services for VCU Dining Services, said. Sales had also been decreasing at Bene Pizza in the Commons for quite some time, which was unexpected because pizza is a common favorite among college students.

VCU Dining Services conducted an intercept survey of almost 1,000 students in spring 2010 in order to get feedback from students regarding their food and brand preferences. “Student respondents indicated that Pizza Hut was preferred over many other pizza brands, and the space that Alpine Bagel was located in was set up in a way that it was ideal for a Pizza Hut Express,” Highsmith said.

When Pizza Hut Express opened on Sept. 20, not everyone was pleased. “We get too much pizza on campus. Everywhere to eat on campus is a name brand and it’s so commercialized,” VCU student Ava Stone said.

“Because we found that a bagel concept was important to students, we decided to put a larger bagel location in Shafer Court Dining Center,” Highsmith said. According to the spring 2010 survey, students gave an overwhelming response that Einstein Bros. Bagels was preferred over Alpine. After the sales at Camille’s at Shafer Court Dining Center started dropping, it was decided that Einstein Bros. Bagels would be taking its place.

“The primary objective for VCU Dining Services is to provide services the students want. In our locations, we use sales as a measure of popularity because students will spend money in the locations they prefer,” Highsmith said. She also noted that feedback regarding the changes has been positive.

Daphne Adebayo, a VCU student, was irritated when she learned of Alpine Bagel’s disappearance.

“I was pissed because I used to get my Good Morning Campers bagel every day before class.”

Many students are upset because there is currently no restaurant on campus to buy bagels. “It would have been cool if Einstein had opened when Alpine closed,” Adebayo said.

Students are impatiently awaiting the opening of Einstein Bros. Bagels. It is expected to open during the first part of the spring 2011 semester. This date is tentative because construction hasn’t started.

“We anticipate that both of these locations will meet the needs of the students, gauged by sales. If sales decline in any location, we will survey students again to determine the reasoning,” Highsmith said. “But we believe that once Einstein Bros. Bagels opens, we will be able to please a wider range of students than we could before.”

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