Campus dining plans for new restaurants

GVL / Emily Frye
River landing

GVL / Emily Frye River landing

Audra Gamble

As the construction of the new Grand Valley State University laboratory science building draws to a close, so too does the construction of The Marketplace, the future home for the two-story version of the University Bookstore.

With the bookstore moving out of the Kirkhof Center, quite a bit of room will open up on the first floor of the Kirkhof Center.

Campus dining is already planning what will happen with this extra space.

In a Residence Housing Association forum focused on campus dining issues, managers from campus dining addressed the future of GVSU food.

First on the agenda is finishing the renovation to Kleiner Marketplace.

“We put a plan in place to raise our dining to the level of the academic buildings,” said Tom Minor, general manager of campus dining. “Next summer, we’ll build our coffee shop and give the C-Store a face lift.”

Additionally, the campus dining team is making plans for the Kirkhof Center.

When the bookstore moves out of the Kirkhof Center, the Subway that is currently in the bottom floor of the Kirkhof Center will move upstairs and will double in size.

However, that won’t be the only change to the dining options in the Kirkhof Center.

“We’re looking at putting a Panda Express upstairs too,” Minor said. “We’re pretty close to coming with a final agreement with them.”

There will be a third brand name dining option on the main floor of the Kirkhof Center as well, but that third option has yet to be finalized.

The Marketplace will hold more than the bookstore, with two branded food choices going in to the new building as well.

“The Marketplace building will have two food venues,” Minor said. “One of them is a Starbucks and the other one is a restaurant called Which Wich?”

Which Wich? is a sandwich shop that allows customers to check off what they want on their sandwich bag and then hand their list of selections to the sandwich maker.

“It’s going to be side by side with Starbucks, and I think we’re going to open it in the summer, in May,” Minor said. “It’s a nice brand, we’ll have the third one in Michigan.”

The brands that campus dining brings to the GVSU campus are carefully chosen.

“A lot of thinking goes into what category of food we want to bring to campus,” Minor said.

The brands are chosen based on demographics of the campus, surrounding businesses and other factors. Some of these factors are determined by the campus dining style survey. The most recent style survey closed early this week.

“We’ve had over 1,600 responses right now,” said Deb Rambadt, marketing manager for campus dining. “It’s pretty comprehensive, and that will help us develop action plans for next semester and the following fall. The survey really helps us find out what students are looking for next and how they feel.”

Results from the most recent survey will be available in mid-December.

As of now, the new branded restaurants on campus will only accept debit dollars.

“Meal swipes are only for non-branded areas,” Minor said. “We’re talking about maybe a different meal plan that would cost more but you could use more. We’re looking at that for fall 2016. We have a lot of discussion about how to redo meal plans and make it easier for everybody.”