Improvements to Mines Market

For more on this issue, see the results of our campus survey here, an article about the issue from one of the Oredigger staff writers here and an opinion piece from Undergraduate Student Government here.

The January opening of Mines Market as the newest, largest, and most state-of-the-art dining facility on the Mines campus marked a significant milestone toward creating a best-in-class residential and dining experience for on- and off-campus students, faculty, and staff.  Since opening, Mines Dining by Sodexo and Student Life have received a variety of helpful suggestions and feedback from the campus, through in-person conversations, USG meeting, student food service committee, and other feedback loops.

Many changes have already been incorporated, based on feedback received since the opening of Mines Market. Mines Dining is committed to hearing and responding to feedback from students, faculty, staff, and other guests. Some changes that have already been incorporated include the following:

mines market1Expanded late-night options in Mines Market, including salads, desserts, sandwiches, side dishes, and rotating entree specials, as well as whole pizzas and pizza by the slice.

Late-night à la carte menu items, which can be purchased individually, including snacks (popcorn, chips, candy bars, trail mix) and specialty beverages (Naked Juice, Muscle Milk).

Rotating late-night menu options will be advertised during the day, so students can plan their late-night dining options in advance.

Gluten-free, Halal, vegetarian, and other options for special dietary needs are always available upon request, at any time in Mines Market. For example, gluten-free pizza crusts are always available upon request.

The to-go container option that had been available in Slate Cafe is now available in Mines Market.

If you have a dietary need, concern, or question, please just ask! Mines Dining is always happy to accommodate special dietary needs and/or respond to questions or feedback.

Although Mines Dining has been able to respond to most of these critiques promptly, other critiques such as the overall hours of operation in Mines Market and Digger Den are less easy to change during the semester, largely for financial and personnel reasons. When campus dining hours of operation are determined jointly by Sodexo and Student Life each semester, many factors are taken into account, including customer demand by location, day, and time. When opening Mines Market (which seats 600 people as compared to about 330 in Slate Cafe), we expected to see a reduction in patrons at Digger Den, especially during the crowded lunch period at Digger Den. Additionally, as part of the Student Center renovation which is already under way, the Digger Den will eventually close and be replaced by a new retail-style food court in the location of the former Slate Cafe, which will open in Fall 2015 and include a full Starbucks, convenience store, WOW Cafe (grill, pizza, salad, wraps, etc), and Habanero’s (a Chipotle-style southwest concept). Thus, dining location hours will be adjusted again in the fall semester, in order to anticipate changing behavior patterns of the campus community in response to new dining concepts and locations on campus.

The following two charts show daily customer counts by location for the first two weeks of both Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. As anticipated, Mines Market received significantly more customers in the first two weeks of the semester than did the Slate Cafe. Digger Den counts remained relatively steady, and other campus dining locations saw a reasonable decrease. Notably, in the first week, there was a 2.5 times increase in faculty, staff, commuter student, and visitor sales in Mines Market, as compared to Slate Cafe. Overall, weekly customer counts on campus held steady, but we have seen a more consistent distribution of customers throughout the weekdays and higher participation in campus dining overall on weekends. Mines Dining and Student Life will continue to monitor customer demand and student and faculty/staff feedback and respond accordingly, in order to continue to offer a best-in-class dining experience for the entire campus community. 

For more on this issue, see the results of our campus survey here, an article about the issue from one of the Oredigger staff writers here and an opinion piece from Undergraduate Student Government here.

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