Students can expect a more streamlined dining experience at The University of Southern Mississippi due to renovations and improvements to Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and the Fresh Food Company over the summer.
Eagle Dining General Manager John Meyer cleared up any rumors surrounding why Chick-fil-A has yet to be reopened. He said the one- week delay for a better customer experience is worth the wait.
“The real holdup of that is really our new [point-of-sale] system – our new cash register system,” Meyer said. “It’s coming Tuesday and will start being installed on Tuesday, [then] completed by Wednesday for an opening on Thursday.”
Many students said they appreciate the changes.
“I feel like change is good because sometimes you get tired of the old things,” said senior recording industry production major Jarrett Taylor. “New looks will make people want to go eat at Chick-fil-A more.”
Meyer said Starbucks has received positive feedback from students on campus, with many saying it seems bigger since the renovations.
“We didn’t change the footprint of the space at all,” Meyer said. “We just removed some of that bulky furniture and the curved half walls. That by itself gave the appearance that it is larger because we removed all the things that were blocking your view.”
The Fresh is now equipped with new features that are even available at new times.
We made a few changes – both to the stations, as far as what the stations offer – in addition to the aesthetic [and] a change in our hours,” Meyer said.
The Fresh partnered with the Image Center on campus to use photographs owned by the university as the basis for murals in the cafeteria.
“We enjoy that mural so much that on the other side of the beverage station, there is a dull gray wall,” Meyer said. “We’re going to put another mural there.”
Meyer said since the addition of these design elements, the establishments have already seen an increase in student usage.
“My favorite thing about the remodeling is finding that the cafeteria has gotten some updates,” said junior sports coaching major Dexter Williamson. “I don’t really do Starbucks, but I think the cafeteria and Chick-fil-A has made great additions to the campus.”
Meyer said these additions do not stop at simple aesthetic touch-ups. The International station has been moved, and #TopIt has been added to the lineup.
“People are rediscovering the International station because we moved it into the main area,” Meyer said. “Now where International used to be we have a new station called #TopIt. We played on ‘To The Top,’ which is a USM [staple].”
Meyer said he is most proud of the all-day make-your-own waffle bar, which is the most popular station.
Meyer said Monday through Thursday, students will now be able to get into the Fresh through the glass doors located by the waffle station until 9 p.m. Food availability will consist of anything from the grill, pizza, the #TopIt station and the waffle station.
Meyer said the changes made are the result of suggestions from students.
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, the information that Chick-fil-A would be opened Friday, Sept. 2, was not available.