By Josh Bull
The food court was first put in by the college in 2000 and while Sushi with Gusto is still relatively new, Pizza Hut and Chick-Fil-A have been there from the beginning.
Chick-Fil-A, Pizza Hut and Sushi with Gusto are licensed by the college to sell their products under a five year contract.
“We buy the products from them and then we pay a royalty back to them,” said dining services manager, Jay Glatz.
When the food court was installed, the college surveyed students and based on the results of the survey, product quality, and the conditions of their contracts, Chick-Fil-A and Pizza Hut were chosen. AFC Sushi, which was replaced by Sushi with Gusto last year, was chosen in 2005. But even AFC Sushi was not the first thing to use that space.
“Back in that sushi area, we had a yogurt machine and some deserts and that area was only doing something like three, four percent of the total business in the food court, so I said ‘we probably need to look at something, you know, different there.’” Glatz said.
The college makes its choice based on what it feels the best fit for the college and the students.
“We thought it would be popular, we thought the students would want it and by that, we certainly considered what was going on other campuses,” said Don Perkins, associate vice president of finance services. “Financially, of course, there is the contract arrangement, but also quality of product.”
The college also considers other factors.
“It’s going to be quality,” said Mitch Borchers, Associate Vice President of Business Services. “It’s going to be customer service, price, it varies from one thing to the next.”
However, Pizza Hut, Chick-Fil-A and Sushi with Gusto are not the only options in the food court. There are also Boulevard Burgers and Ariba.
“With food courts, you usually look at national brands to anchor your food court, and then you surround them with your own brands,” said Glatz.
The college chose to put in Boulevard Burgers, because it felt that it could operate its own burger concept over a third party concept.
But how did Pizza Hut, Chick-Fil-A and Sushi with Gusto get there in the first place? The college has a bidding process where it invites national franchises to send contract proposals. The decisions are made based on student wants, product quality and cost of sales. The bidding process is also advertised, so the bid is still public.
The college’s food court earned $1,322,698 during the 2012-2013 school year.
Contact Josh Bull, reporting correspondent, at firstname.lastname@example.org