Texas State dining halls would do well to partner with local businesses rather than corporate fast food giants.
Texas State and Chartwells officials should be commended for working closely with local farmers for variety in selections at on-campus buffets. Furthermore, university officials should work to join forces with San Marcos-based and Texas-owned eateries instead of aligning themselves with chain stores like Pizza Hut and Panda Express on campus.
Texas State currently hosts seven national chains on campus—Freshen’s, Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, Einstein’s Bagels, Panda Express, Blimpie’s and Starbucks.
A partnership with small businesses would not only put money back into the San Marcos economy, but it would create a more direct link between producers and consumers, which could strengthen customer loyalty.
According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, for every dollar spent at local businesses, twice as much is generated and given back to the city’s economy. When businesses are corporately owned, money leaves the community with every transaction.
If a restaurant is based in San Marcos, university and business officials could work more closely together to ensure quality and customer satisfaction through a campus partnership Whitewashing the campus with ubiquitous chains found along every highway in America is not productive for the San Marcos community.
Our area and culture is a rich one, and expanding San Marcos’ flavor onto campus would be an exciting prospect for students looking to immerse themselves in local practices.
While it is true that some businesses are particular about their brand’s image and services, proximity to the university would allow them to monitor their franchiser and deliver immediate feedback.
Jones Dining Hall used to be home to Stubb’s BBQ, an Austin-based barbeque restaurant. The Jones location closed in 2011 due to underperformance, said Leslie Bulkley, former Chartwells resident district manager, in a Sept. 2011 issue of The University Star.
Bulkley said there was “not proper equipment to cook food on location.” This could have played a significant factor in the reason Stubb was unsuccessful on campus.
Afterward, a Chartwells-owned frozen desserts counter replaced Stubbs.
A San Marcos ice cream vendor such as Rhea’s could have potentially replaced the barbeque vacancy, but it does not appear any alternative local eateries were approached. Even a Texas-owned chain such as Blue Bell could have been a good replacement for Stubb’s. Instead, students got a generic Chartwells chain in place of a local venue.
Texas State should explore bringing San Marcos businesses on campus for the good of both Bobcats and residents. Food has traditionally been seen as a cultural unifier, and the addition of local and Texas-based chains would be a welcome change for our campus. Chartwells officials should think about getting in touch with local businesses when considering new venues for campus.