Although the closure of West Union presented Duke Dining with challenges, the first week without the venue went smoothly.
Director of Dining Services Robert Coffey discussed dining changes with the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee at its first meeting of the year Tuesday night. With the Great Hall closed for construction and other eateries gone from campus, food trucks and some Bryan Center eateries have become more popular—the popularity of the new Penn Pavilion, however, remains to be seen.
The Penn Pavilion has not been as popular as Duke Dining had hoped it might be, Coffey said. It has been serving 1,500 to 1,700 people each day, compared to the goal of 2,000.
"We're still working on recipes and training the staff," Coffey said, noting that in the future, the Pavilion might host sampling events in which people can try items off the menu.
To boost the Pavilion’s popularity, DUSDAC members suggested increasing advertising, particularly on the Bryan Center Plaza. Members also pointed out that the menu could benefit from more variation and that some students feel the prices are too high.
Coffey noted that the Pavilion was ready for operation only shortly before the start of school, meaning that the kitchen staff has not yet had much time to adjust to the equipment.
A number of eateries—including Pitchfork Provisions, Au Bon Pain and The Loop—have seen a spike in sales this year, Coffey said. To alleviate crowding, Au Bon Pain will be adding a fifth cash register and an additional grab-and-go station. The restaurant will also be expand via a cart on the Plaza, set to open soon.
New frozen yogurt venue Red Mango has also been successful, with sales figures 40 percent higher than expected, Coffey said.
Among other new food options is a branch of Saladelia in the Sanford School of Public Policy. In addition, the Divinity School Refectory will extend its hours next week and begin serving dinner.
There are also four new food trucks on campus—Fosters on the Fly, Gussies, Captain Ponchos and Humble Pig. Parlezvous Crepes, Chirba Chirba Dumpling and Baguettaboutit have returned to campus from last year.
Many nights feature multiple food trucks, and the schedule is accessible online, noted DUSDAC Co-Chair Chris Taylor, a senior.