University dining officials are looking at ways to revamp Lyndon’s U Club after seeing a decrease in sales at the establishment.
Bill Nance, vice president for finance and support services, brought the low sales at Lyndon’s to the President’s Cabinet’s attention during a November meeting. During a typical week, sales at Lyndon’s peak on Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, on Fridays, the on-campus restaurant pulls in noticeably lower sales, according to John Root, director of Auxiliary Services.
“I regularly review the sales for numerous locations on campus, and I saw a pretty consistent drop,” Root said. “It’s one thing to see a slow day but another to see numbers below $100 dollars.”
Mondays brought in low revenue in the past, but see a rise in sales depending on events and time of the semester, Root said. Sales can sometimes match the revenue of peak service days. However, he said sales on Friday have rarely topped $125.
Chin-Hong Chua, Chartwells district manager, said the small amount of foot traffic on Fridays and students’ need for a grab-and-go meal contribute to the low revenue of the restaurant at the end of the week.
In response to the low sales, auxiliary services will survey department chairs and contact Chartwells to revise menu options and hours of operation. Auxiliary services will launch a marketing campaign to revamp the restaurant. Nothing major will be changed this semester, Root said, but he is considering closing Lyndon’s U Club on Fridays.
“It’s always tough on Fridays, so closing on those days will be less harmful,” Root said.
To appeal to the grab-and-go student mentality, Chartwells added a salad bar and buffet to the restaurant. The buffet meal costs around $6, which is about the same price for a sandwich at neighboring Chick-fil-a.
Even with the addition of a speedy option, Chua said Lyndon’s will stay true to its sit-down nature.
“A restaurant that can hold 30 people in an hour can’t compete with a place like Chick-fil-a, which can service 30 people in five minutes,” Chua said. “But it can provide an atmosphere found nowhere else on campus.”
To bring in new customers, Chua said a student-targeted marketing campaign is in development that will be focused more on people who have offices or classes within a five-minute walking distance. One tactic to build more interest in Lyndon’s is customer appreciation day, Chua said.
“Once a week, we are going to pick a customer at random and pay for their meal,” Chua said. “We are hoping that they’ll tell their friends and get interest in Lyndon’s going around. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool.”
Lyndon’s will offer a reserved space for large parties or meetings. Chua said he hopes the appeal of not having to pay and go through the paperwork of reserving a room at an outside restaurant or large classroom will bring in more business.
Although efforts to make adjustments are forthcoming, old assumptions about the restaurant may still keep some students from walking in.
Dana Allen, aquatic biology junior, said she has never been to Lyndon’s U Club, and probably never will.
“I wouldn’t go because it’s expensive and nice looking,” Allen said. “Plus, I need something really quick that I can eat on the way to class.”
Even so, Root and Chua believe improvements to Lyndon’s are worth it.
“You don’t want to have all fast food. You have to mix it up a little,” Root said. “Something will always be in that space, and you have to give it some time to figure itself out and grow.”