Although the Ronald Tutor Campus Center has been the center of attention for USC’s dining options this year, the recently renovated Café 84 hasn’t seen a decline in traffic.
Director of USC Hospitality Kris Klinger said Café 84 has been meeting all of its projected numbers in terms of revenue and student traffic this year despite the appeal of the campus center.
“The new campus center is definitely drawing a large group of students, but we feel that this is a great option for students who live in the area or want something different,” Klinger said.
Last winter, Café 84 went through several changes in anticipation of the closing of The Lot, the temporary food court built behind Grace Ford Salvatori Hall, and the opening of the campus center. The Grill was removed to create more space for the addition of Daphne’s Greek Café and Wasabi Sushi, a move aimed at making Café 84 a stronger food court overall, Klinger said.
Over the summer, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos was moved to the new campus center and replaced by Baja Fresh in preparation for the start of the school year.
Klinger said these modifications and any possible future revisions are all aimed at giving students the dining options they would most want to see.
“We’re just trying to respond to what the students want with the changes,” Klinger said. “As for the future, we’re always accepting suggestions from students for new ideas.”
During peak lunch and dinner hours, Café 84 still has many students dining at the cafeteria even with the large amount of students who go to the campus center.
Café 84 also offers breakfast options for students who want more than a coffee. The convenience store, Jamba Juice and Baja Fresh are open by 7 a.m. on weekdays.
“I normally stop off for a quick breakfast before my early classes and it’s never too busy,” said Molly Smith, a freshman majoring in communication. “I’m able to just get in and get out.”
Many students agreed that the campus center can become overwhelmingly crowded, especially during the lunchtime rush, and that Café 84 provides a less hectic alternative.
“I feel like the campus center is always crowded and so was The Lot,” said Alexa Hudnut, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering. “I miss things like Wolfgang Puck, Submarina and Red Mango, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from between the campus center and Café 84.”
Several students who frequent Café 84 said they appreciate its convenience, especially those who live in nearby Fluor and Webb towers.
“The campus center definitely has better selections, like Panda Express and CPK, but I go to Café 84 because it’s way more convenient,” Smith said.
With its proximity to the Lyon Center, some students also use Café 84 for a post-workout snack.
“It’s great having a place right there where I can grab a Jamba Juice or a burrito after a workout,” said Preston Smith, a freshman majoring in accounting. “Otherwise, I’d have to go all the way out to the campus center or [Trojan Grounds] if I didn’t want one of the dining commons.”