Dining hours get a new design

Auxiliary Services creates a calender to make on-campus options organized

Following a period of confusion about the hours of operation for Blue Blob’s Diner (above) and other on campus dining locations, Auxiliary Services created a calendar where the hours of all options will be available.

Auxiliary Services has implemented a new system to rectify discrepancies between the listed operating times of on-campus dining options from ConneX.

Between the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters, the food services in Gallagher Student Center (GSC) changed their operating hours. These changes caused irregularities in the hours of operation information listed in different spots on campus. Previously, a Google search of “Blue Blob’s Diner” would list one set of hours, the Xavier website would list a different schedule and the schedules posted in GSC would show yet another contrasting set of times.

“I noticed issues in the times with Blue Blob. When I would be studying there on the weekends I’d Google when it was supposed to be open, and it was always closed when it said it would be open,” first-year business major Molly Sawyer said. “It kind of defeats the purpose of having a place to eat.”

Bill Moran, Director of Auxiliary Services, explained that the changes occurred because of new business needs.

“If (the vendors) have a business case for why they can’t support certain hours we’ll hear it, and if we come to an agreement that our customers can live with slightly reduced hours, we’ll approve it,” Moran said.

He added that such changes are currently being discussed with Starbucks, where managers have expressed concerns about their late night sales.

Jennifer Paiotti, Xavier’s Marketing Director, explained that concrete data regarding hours is taken from foot traffic analysis.

“From fall to spring there was a very dynamic shift in the hours in terms of what our retail venues asked from us,” Paiotti said. “We’re not seeing the foot traffic in certain venues, and therefore, the business needs have to reduce the hours, and that’s just a natural progression.” 

A lack of traffic to on-campus dining options has led to reduced hours.

The reason for the decline is the implementation of the mobile ordering app.

“More of the foot traffic is going through the mobile ordering app… 12% of the sales right now are going through mobile ordering,” Paiotti said.

Paiotti also described the reasons for inaccuracies in posted times.

“We found that Gallagher was posting hours on the doors and on their website but were not linking to the official hours. The Google Business had posted the fall hours but didn’t update for the spring,” she said.

Paiotti understands how this could be confusing to students and is in the process of contacting each place where operating hours are listed.

“My ultimate goal is to transparently communicate what is going on,” Paiotti said. “But I want to make sure it’s accurate.” 

During the weekend, Moran and Paiotti reconfigured the Hours of Operation page of the Xavier website under Auxiliary Services. The page now hosts a Google Calendar with the opening times of each establishment. When the times are clicked on, both the opening and closing times are displayed alongside a link to a map of the restaurant.

The Hours of Operation page in the Gallagher Student Center section on the Xavier website has not been updated as of printing.

“The calendar is now a living and breathing document with all of the services that fall under us. If a location isn’t listed, it now means they are closed, which lets students see what’s open (in the moment),” Paiotti said.

Paiotti also explained why mobile orders are not always available.

“I want to make sure students know that mobile order is effectively a separate retail location,” Paiotti said. “It is basically a different store front with different hours.”

Because the mobile order app functions as a separate store, it automatically stops taking orders during times that the brick and mortar storefronts are swamped with customers. Paiotti and Moran revealed that, in the near future, mobile ordering will be available for Victory Perk.

The retail location in the Conaton Learning Center (CLC) is permanently closed because of changes in the center of campus. Five to six years ago, particularly during the renovation of Alter Hall, the Academic Mall was the center of campus. Moran and Paiotti explained that since the opening of the Health United Building (HUB) and the renovations to Gallagher, the center of campus has shifted away from the CLC, reducing the need for a retail location.

“We do heat map studies every semester to see (where the students are) … so we can see where the traffic is going to be. So that way we can strategically align what kind of offerings and what services need to be in specific buildings and locations,” Paiotti said.

As recently as last semester, the CLC location was still used as a commissary where much of the premade food available in the on-campus coffee shops was prepared. However, prepared food production is now being completed in GSC, eliminating any remaining need for the CLC location.

“I’m glad they’re posting the hours now,” Sawyer said. “It will be a lot more helpful for students to know that if they are going to go to Gallagher, those places will not be open.”