Early this summer, Aramark and Eagle Dining began renovating The University of Southern Mississippi’s ChickfilA and Starbucks facilities as part of an update effort set to take place every 10 years.
Eagle Dining General Manager John Meyer said improvements to ChickfilA will primarily include new cash registers, updated hardware for streamlining work methods and an additional fountain drink station.
Starbucks’ renovations will consist of a new oven for quicker service and aesthetic changes meant to meet the coffee company’s current visual standard.
“If you were to go to a new Starbucks, it would look quite a bit different than the one [USM] had,” Meyer said. “And ChickfilA is a popular place on campus. It’s crowded every day. Hopefully [the changes] will get people through faster.”
Meyer said Starbucks’ new look can be described as “rustic modern.” Furthermore, the store’s work desks will be replaced with additional seating.
Throughout the summer, The Powerhouse will remain open and offer additional goods such as coffee and hot sandwiches for students’ convenience.
“We know it’s not Starbucks, for sure,” Meyer said. “It’s not ChickfilA. But we’re doing our best to try to help [students] that are here on campus for the summer.”
The renovations, according to Meyer, are the result of a planned joint effort between Aramark and facilities’ respective brands and are in no way a response to Eagle Dining’s recent criticisms from frustrated students.
“It’s a partnership,” Meyer said. “We have good relationships with an entire portfolio of retail brands that we partner with. We understand, as a franchisee, that there is typically a refresh that happens. It’s just now time.”
Meyer said the facilities’ prices will not change due to the renovations.
Eagle Dining Marketing Manager Lauren Brescher said students occasionally wish the facilities were open but that the summer months are the best time to make improvements on student-driven services.
“Eagle Dining has an opendoor policy where students can give us feedback,” Brescher said. “I think students will be excited about [the renovations].”
Brescher said based on student feedback, the Fresh Food Company will remove some items and replace them with student favorites.
“I think students will be excited about the changes for the Fall semester,” Brescher said.
According to Brescher, ChickfilA will add new menu items with the renovations.
In addition to these updates, the Fresh Food Company will see slight changes such as an all-day waffle bar, according to Meyer.
No set completion date for the facilities has been given; however, Meyer said students and faculty can expect construction to end in August.
For additional information on Eagle Dining’s services or to leave user feedback, visit usm.campusdish.com.