It’s no surprise that Bon Appétit Management Company, the newly announced vendor for the Healey Family Student Center Pub, had no difficulty in enticing students to visit its pub showcase this Wednesday in the Leavey Programming Room. Students eagerly sampled the food, submitted their opinions on design concepts, offered suggestions for the pub’s name, and even applied for jobs with the business.
“What was most important to us was a partner that we could work with who would listen to [students’] wants and needs—we found that in Bon Appétit and couldn’t be happier about it,” said Samuel Greco (SFS ‘15), GUSA Senate Speaker and member of the student planning committee for the pub. “Based on responses from the showcase today, it looks like the student body is excited about our partnership and the pub as well.”
According to Joelle Weise, associate vice president for auxiliary business services, the purpose of the showcase was to help students get a taste of the future pub’s environment. “Some of our designers have come so that students can actually look at the layout of the room,” said Weise. “The food [was] set up with everything from Nutella shakes [to] lemonade, and the brewery has come so that students can sample some of the beers, as well as a couple of vineyard [selections].”
Yvonne Matteson, district manager for BAMC, explained that feedback from the showcase would be used for further plans in the pub’s development. “Student input is very important moving forward,” she said. “I think it’s the best approach.”
When asked about the challenges of operating a business that serves a student population, a large percentage of which legally cannot drink alcohol, Matteson said that the pub would operate more along the lines of a restaurant so that all age groups could be included.
“It’s a unique business model and we have to make sure that it’s managed appropriately,” said Matteson. “Currently we approach this project as a restaurant concept, and we’re working within what has already been planned.”
Current design concepts include a keg wall, wooden bar top, dark ceiling, a large fireplace, pickup window so that students can order food online, and an outdoor deck with a grill overlooking the Potomac.
Students at the showcase expressed interest in the vendor and were eager to submit ideas for the pub’s development.
“It’s nice that they are including students in the discussion of the design and theme,” said Maggie Wardell (SFS ‘14), who attended the showcase. “I wish that this had been built before I had come here so I could enjoy it more. From what I tasted of the food, the company seems good. The food might even be better than Tombs’.”
Wiese assured that the University has maintained its plans to open the pub, along with the rest of the New South Student Center, in time for the start of the 2014 fall semester.