Many exciting changes have been made regarding dining at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. A popular new addition to dining in the Student Union is a fully licensed Starbucks, which opened on Aug. 8, and a Chick-fil-A is planned to be opened in 2024.
The Brew was an on-campus coffee shop that had a contract with Starbucks to sell their products. The Brew was one of the busiest locations, so they knew there was a need and want for a fully licensed Starbucks.
Renee Burgess, general manager for Sodexo at UL Lafayette, shared the process for acquiring places. It begins with a quiet preference survey, which is by ZIP code, to find out what people like and where they frequent. Burgess explained the importance of this survey.
“It’s a really cool way to identify what your needs are on a campus,” Burgess said.
After looking at the data and choosing the top results, contracts with the university begin so investments and building can follow. This can be time-consuming, as the university must go through the process of contracting, funding and remodeling spaces.
A business in the middle of this process is Chick-fil-A. Burgess says all agreements have been made, but they are in the middle of quotes from contractors to redo the space to prepare for Chick-fil-A. They are hoping it will open in 2024 and it will be located where The Brew was.
Viva La Waffle was a fairly quick process and has been a huge success. The quickness was due to the infrastructure being there.
After that, they had to renovate the space to match Viva La Waffle’s branding.
Virtual dining concepts available at UL Lafayette include Mr. Beast Burger, Pardon My Cheesesteak and Buddy V’s Cake Slice at Cafe Fleur De Lis.
Auditions, also in Cafe Fleur De Lis, just opened Quesera, a quesadilla concept.
Students voted on instagram, @dine_ul, to vote on what concept they wanted in the space. In the next 2-3 weeks, students will vote for a new concept. Students can use their meal swipes at Auditions.
“We’re going to keep auditioning different concepts and we’re going to let the student body vote on Instagram,” said Burgess. “That way students and faculty and staff can get excited about that and know that their input was taken into consideration.”
Kiwibots were relaunched on Sept. 19. Previously, the bots had difficulty navigating the ramp at Ragin Cajun food court. The university just remodeled the deck and ramp, so the bots can easily roll up and down now.
Kiwibots and the Everyday app can take pressure off of the lines and is convenient for students. The Everyday app allows students to mobile order from the retail locations, besides Starbucks which has its own app to use for mobile ordering.
Another new addition to dining is the variety of concessions for football games at Cajun Field. Some vendors and food trucks include Agave Grill & Cantina, KOK Wings & Things, Frios, Acadian Slice Pies and Zeus. Students can use their declining balance at some vendors, but they are still in the process of making it available at more vendors.