Rafskeller Makeover Looks Likely
by Kim Rodgers
The Rafskeller may soon be history. Or at least, everything about the Raf except its name may be renovated as early as the summer of 2010.
Sodexo, the company that currently supplies food to all campus eateries, is working with the Transylvania administration, the Student Government Association and the student body to design both a new menu and a new look for the Raf.
Yesterday, representatives from SGA and several faculty and staff members met to watch a presentation by Celia Daniels, the district manager for Sodexo, about available food options for the new Raf. In addition to the presentation, Sodexo provided a sample meal from Sandella’s, one of the brand-name restaurants that could be installed in the Raf.
Daniels said the other four options besides Sandella’s that are flexible enough to meet the dining needs of a small college and provide food options that most Transy students would enjoy are Pizza Hut, Sub Connection, the Original Burger Company and the World of Wings (WOW). Two would be chosen from this list.
Of the five food options under consideration, Daniels said that WOW, Sub Connection and Sandella’s provide the greatest variety of menu options.
It was agreed at the meeting that it was important to sample more than just Sandella’s before reaching any decision.
Daniels said she was able to gauge what food choices appeal to Transy students by using a survey done by the Nielson Company, which used students’ ZIP codes to survey their spending habits.
Daniels said she combined information from the Nielson study with a survey that Sodexo sent to students last year, as well as a more specific survey about food in the Raf that was recently completed by 65 students and faculty and staff members.
Mark Matthews, Transylvania’s vice president for finance and business, said he was very hopeful that renovations might start this coming summer.
“If we come to terms with a contract with the food concepts, and at the same time can nail down what students prefer, they could be done with construction by Sept. 1,” Matthews said.
Matthews added that he thought reconstruction of the Raf would proceed quickly, even though the current plans being considered include raising the ceiling, taking down the wooden partitions and increasing lighting.
“We (Sodexo) will pay for whatever is done,” Daniels said. “We would consider that an investment.”
Matthews said that Sodexo has invested in Transy dining options in the past.
“Typically, as part of its contract with the university, Sodexo will make an investment in the food area, as they did that in the past with Jazzman’s. The university is not in a position to fund the renovation of the Raf right now,” Matthews said.
On March 1, select SGA senators will travel to Bellarmine College to sample their dining services since they have four food options, including WOW and Pizza Hut.