IHOP coming to new Laurel and Grace parking deck

Catherine Leth
Contributing Writer

ARAMARK, VCU’s food service provider, has partnered with IHOP in a move to bring all-day breakfast to the Monroe Park campus.
The location will be part of a retail space in the new Laurel and Grace parking deck, which is currently under construction and set to open August 2011.
Two other food sellers – providing chicken, salads and wraps – are also opening alongside the IHOP.
“It’s going to be slightly like a food court, but a little more glorified,” Tamara Highsmith of VCU Dining Services said. “I would call it a robust menu that should appeal to a lot of people.”
IHOP will be an express location: a counter-service restaurant with no sit-down dining and a non-traditional menu. VCU’s Student Government Association expressed concern about the lack of a dine-in area but, according to Highsmith, the speed of service necessitates counter service.
The three new eateries are a result of Dining Service’s annual review.
Approximately 1,200 students responded to a survey regarding what foods they would like to see on campus; a diner-type concept that provides breakfast, a health food option and a chicken retailer were in the top five requests.
“We really wanted to add to the variety with the shops along Broad Street,” said Highsmith. “A diner concept isn’t something currently available so we’re really excited to not just create another semi-Chipotle or something like that. This is definitely something that is not available to them.”
Despite rumors of a 24-hour schedule, IHOP will close at 11:30 p.m.. The hours of operation may expand based on demand. Students will be able to use dining dollars and meal swipes at all three of the new food retailers.
The partnership between ARAMARK and IHOP involves a two-year test run of five college IHOP locations. One currently exists at University of Tennessee in Knoxville and has been a great success. VCU’s location will be the second.
“The trend of breakfast all day and late-night dining is growing on college campuses,” said Anne Marie Solomon of ARAMARK in an interview with Yahoo! Finance. “We are excited IHOP recognizes the unique business opportunity.”

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