In the beginning of February, SA sponsored a dining survey to determine changes students would like to see in the Student Union. Joey Zitzman, who represents the business college and chairs and is a part of the Student Investigative Committee (SIC), designed the survey after discussion with Mike Neal, the Director of Dining Services. Among other things, the survey measured which restaurants were more favored, which restaurants students want open later and new items students want to see. The results are somewhat complex, with Zitzman’s report on them being 41 pages long.
However, one notable finding was that Chick-fil-A and Benvenuto’s were the first and second most favored restaurants, respectively, with the former at 37.7 percent and the latter at 17.7 percent of respondents selecting each as their favorite. Along the same lines, Chick-fil-A was also the top rated restaurant in terms of net positive reviews. Benvenuto’s received third place in that category. Finally, of the suggestions received for new items, requests for Chick-fil-A to carry milkshakes and spicy chicken sandwiches were especially common. Based on these results, Zitzman wrote four resolutions to be considered by Senate. However, since Senate does not actually have direct control over dining services, these are all just formal recommendations that Mike Neal and/or Sodexo can still reject.
Two resolutions passed on March 7. The first resolution requested that Sodexo “consider shifting Night resources from Pizza Hut to Benvenuto’s to allow it to be open in the evening.” Since the staff for both of these restaurants work for Sodexo, workers for Pizza Hut would just need to be retrained for Benvenuto’s. The bill passed with two senators voting against it.
The second resolution passed that night recommended that Chick-fil-A offer spicy chicken sandwiches. Some senators were concerned that offering a new menu item could make the lines longer. The resolution ultimately passed without objection, though.
On March 21, Zitzman’s other two resolutions were discussed. The first requested that Chick-fil-A consider selling milkshakes. If Chick-fil-A were to do so, it would need to buy a milkshake machine (to be purchased by Sodexo) and to hire one more employee, bringing the total crew there to eight. The resolution ultimately failed without a single senator voting for it. There were a few different concerns with the resolution. Emma Stewart, who represents apartments, was concerned that it would be difficult to reverse a decision to buy a milkshake machine if it turned out not to be profitable. Michael Mancini, who represents the graduate school, was concerned about overburdening Mike Neal with so many proposed dining changes and thought that this resolution should perhaps be reintroduced next April if the other changes go well. Austin Carr, who is an at-large senator, said he had talked to some students and that they were concerned about lines.
The fourth resolution asked Sodexo to consider having Chick-fil-A open on a trial basis on Thursday nights. Chick-fil-A was the only restaurant in which a majority of respondents wanted it open later. Thursday was selected because staff in the Student Union thought it was one of the busier days. Having more days open late was not considered an option for the resolution because doing so would require a new crew according to Chick-fil-A corporate policy. There was some concern as to whether this would be profitable for Chick-fil-A, but the resolution ultimately passed with only one nay.