USC Hospitality has changed the hours that hot food buffets operate in EVK Restaurant and Grill and The Parkside Restaurant — a change stirring mixed reactions among students.
Though Parkside and EVK will remain open until 10 p.m., hot food, with a few exceptions including pizza and soup, will not be served after 8:45 p.m. The dining halls will no longer close for 30 minutes between lunch and dinner, as in previous semesters.
The dining halls will still close from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., between breakfast and lunch.
Before making the change, USC Hospitality analyzed when students typically eat at the dining halls and meet with groups of students.
“We tracked when students come and looked at the traffic patterns for [a monthly period] and for [a yearly period],” Director of USC Hospitality Kris Klinger said. “We also met with students in focus groups, student government and residential student government and asked them questions.”
Sawyer Coleman, an undeclared freshman, said he thinks students will be irritated by the change since they tend to eat late meals.
“It’s a little frustrating because I feel like a lot of college students are hungry after 8:45 [p.m.] and without hot food, there is no real incentive to eat at EVK,” Coleman said.
Klinger said the change was in response to students who had communicated a desire to extend dining hours, many of whom said they appreciate the changed hours.
“I like [the new schedule],” said Jennifer Camello, a freshman majoring in anthropology. “I always eat early anyway. I like to get a snack between 3:30 and 4 [p.m.] so I’m glad it’s open then.”
Thierry Bourroux, the associate director of USC Hospitality for residential operations, said although the change has received negative feedback, he has received more positive comments on the quality of the food being served.
Klinger said Bourroux, who joined USC Hospitality in May 2011, has worked to provide fresher entrées in the dining halls.
“We got feedback from students who are not happy because they like to have a late dinner,” Bourroux said. “But we have a lot of good feedback from the students who appreciate the food we are serving today.”
Klinger said that he and Bourroux continue to meet with students in an effort to make sure USC Hospitality addresses their concerns.
“We appreciate what the students have shared with us and we are taking it into consideration,” Klinger said.
Richard Mattox, a freshman majoring in narrative studies, said the new hours makes him more inclined to spend his own money at other off-campus venues, such as Wendy’s or Chick-fil-A.
“My main time to come is between 8 [p.m.] and 10 [p.m.],” Mattox said. “This change makes me less likely to go here to buy food and more likely to buy food somewhere else and use my own money.”
The grill station in EVK will also stay open on the weekends during lunch and dinner. By the end of the month, USC Hospitality hopes to have smoothie bars set up in both dining halls.