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Blackstone Cafe lacks interest

Since it’s opening, the cafe’s revenue is short due to its distant location and limited menu. | Johnathan Burkhardt/THE CHIMES

 

In the first four weeks of the school year, Blackstone Cafe has fallen short of previous expectations set by both Bon Appetit staff and Biola students.

A Mixed Reaction 

“It’s not meeting our expectations as far as revenue. It’s falling short a couple hundred dollars a day,” said Steve Rall, general manager of Bon Appetit.

Rall stated one of the main concerns students expressed while talking about the cafe is its location. Students from lower campus have a farther distance to travel to the cafe because of its placement at the northernmost area of campus.

“Talking to students, the number one thing so far [that has been problematic] has been it’s too far for anybody that lives on the south side of campus, they’re the ones really saying it,” Rall said.

However, for commuter students, the placement is beneficial since there were previously not any eateries on that side of campus.

“It’s actually more on the way from where my house is so I have to ride past it on my bike, if I bike to school, anyways,” said Kelly Stanek, senior biology major.

Hours of Opperation

Though it was announced last semester that the cafe would be open until 1 a.m., it is now only open until 10 p.m. on weekdays due to financial constraints.

“We went through the budget process and it’s really not feasible,” Rall said. “It’s a huge financial commitment to stay open that late at night.”

Students have shared that they find the hours inconvenient and would be interested in visiting the eatery later at night.

“I think it should be open later because it closes relatively early and it’s not open on the weekend, so I think that it would be very helpful if it was open later and on the weekends,” said Riley Grant, freshman business major.

A Surplus of Meal Exchange

Though the cafe has not been meeting their monetary goal, they have received a large amount of orders for meal exchanges. There are approximately 140 meal exchange orders a day at Blackstone Cafe – Eagle’s Nest receives 200, and Common Grounds and the Talon have 100 each, Rall said. The meal exchange from Blackstone Cafe includes a breakfast item, drink, granola bar and fresh fruit.

Students have also expressed that it would be beneficial to have a larger menu with non-breakfast options.

“It’s all breakfast-oriented, which is fine, but I feel like there should be more options of stuff,” Grant said.

Expanding the Menu

In regard to this issue, Rall explained that Bon Appetit is looking to expand the menu and also consider adding convenience store food items, such as small boxes of cereal, liters of milk and individual jars of peanut butter and jelly. He plans to conduct a survey among the students to find out what would be most beneficial, as well as raise more awareness about the cafe.

“We’re trying to do creative things. We gave away free chocolate waffles. We had two hundred free ones to get people out there. We had advertised it and we started at 2:30 in the afternoon, we had about 30 people in line and that was about it,” Rall said.

A Clean Ambiance

One positive aspect of the cafe is the modern design and the atmosphere created by the combination of green and orange coloring and unique art prints inside.

“I like the ambiance because Blackstone has very bright colors,” said Jamie Kim, freshman Christian Ministries major. “The vibe, the ambiance of the setting I think is a little cleaner.”

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