Chili’s, located in Blanton Hall, now opens at 5 p.m. The later hour has upset some students but helped others as most dining places close early.
There are many factors to the decision to limit Chili’s operating hours.
Jim Robinson is the director of auxiliary services. He manages the dining contract, bookstore contract and card services.
Chartwells, the campus dining service and Robinson, representing the university, agreed on the decision to change operating hours in July of last year.
“Final hours are based on complying with students’ demands, and reviewing data as to when it would satisfy the majority of our students of having a restaurant open,” Robinson said. “Customer demand is very low because of the pandemic and labor [shortages].”
However, the noise level from Blanton Hall’s dining area generated concern from residents.
“Well, [Blanton] is a residence hall and the residents upstairs started complaining about the noise down in their food court so that’s why I had to limit it to 10 p.m.,” Robinson said.
The decrease in students eating at Chili’s was another reason behind the change. Some menu options also decreased in favorability.
“Customer preferences, frequency of visits, price to the customer, quality of service, menu variety each directly impact changes in service hours or continuance of a dining venue,” Robinson said. “Those changes that best meet the needs of the campus community, at large, go into dining-related changes.”
Robert Tagliaferro, a senior film and television major, said he doesn’t mind the change in hours as a campus resident.
“I enjoy it,” Tagliaferro said. “The only thing is that [Chili’s] doesn’t serve on weekends anymore.”
Alex Fadil, a junior sports communications major and commuter, was not aware of the change in operating hours at Chili’s.
“Every single time I’m in Blanton it’s closed,” Fadil said. “I don’t exactly know what times [it’s open]. I originally thought it was not open period because of the fact that it was never open when I was there. That’s the reason why I haven’t gotten to try it because [of] my schedule. I’ve noticed the change since the fall semester. Most of the stuff on campus is closed past a certain time.”
Jossie Mejia, a senior psychology major, is upset with the decision and responds in support of food service workers.
“With regards to the jobs, that’s always unfortunate,” Mejia said. “These people have put in their regular hours, they put in the regular work and all of a sudden it just got cut on them. I feel responsible as a student if it’s based on client interest. For them to open at 5 p.m. That’s a five-hour workday. That’s not much at all. People are now going to have to go get [another] part-time job. ”
Mejia is appreciative of Chili’s as it is one of the establishments on campus that is open until 10 p.m.
“Personally, as a commuter, it did help me the other day,” Mejia said. “I didn’t have [anything] to eat and it was late like around 8:30 p.m. and they were still open. They were the only store on campus open. That really helped me out because I hadn’t eaten since 12 p.m. that day.”