'Delights off points, 'Bulls back on

With the voluntary departure of International Delights from the Merchants on Points lineup, the program will attempt to fill the void with the organic Soul Good Juice Cafe and an old standby, Wild Bull's Pizza.

International Delights owner Gehad Lobbad said delivering on points was more trouble than it was worth, particularly given the stress of dealing with what he called lying, impatient and incompetent students. "They are very bad, some of them, very bad," he said. "They don't even know their addresses, their telephone numbers, their room numbers; they give us everything wrong."

Lobbad also said service at the restaurant suffered during peak hours because of the heavy delivery volume, and that the food was better eaten fresh anyway. A more modest, non-points delivery program, however, will continue at International Delights.

Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee co-chair Sean Biederman said such frustrations come with the territory. "They became frustrated with the problems that anyone might have," he said. "I don't see why it would happen to them more than anyone else."

Even though Biederman said some members of DUSDAC voiced concern about the loss of diversity from the Merchants on Points lineup, Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst said he believed that the menu of International Delights was somewhat duplicated by Bread and Kabob, a two-year veteran of the program.

In contrast to the indignation of International Delights, Wild Bull's was eager to return to the Merchants on Points program after the restaurant floundered during its one-semester hiatus. "Ninety-five percent of our business is over there on the Duke campus," owner Fletcher Hester said. "That should tell you something. I couldn't survive without it."

The return of Wild Bull's coincides with a change in ownership--important for DUSDAC, since the former owners had been expelled from the Merchants on Points program for telemarketing to students. Hester, who came on at the end of last semester, said such a violation will not happen under his watch, and he welcomes the increased DUSDAC scrutiny that his restaurant will face this semester.

Biederman said that despite some lingering skepticism about Wild Bull's, DUSDAC was welcoming the restaurant back with open arms. Its late hours--open until 4 a.m. some nights--serve as a great advantage, he said.

Soul Good, a smoothie-and-sandwich outlet located in the downtown YMCA, is an unusual addition to the Merchants on Points lineup. Its extensive vegetarian and vegan offerings, however, fit in well with an effort by Wulforst to address the dearth of such options on campus.

The eatery's business has been brisk but hectic as owner Judy Carroll and her staff attempt to find their way around Duke's campus. Wulforst has permitted Soul Good to deliver during the day as well as at night because of the particular nature of their food. Ultimately, Carroll hopes to be on campus, which Wulforst will not rule out at this time.

"Any Merchants on Points company that does a great job coming to campus has an equal chance getting some real estate on campus when that real estate becomes available," he said.


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