When students return to campus this September, they will find a new tenant instead of L’Express.
Every five years, the contracts for tenants in the SUB food courts expire, giving the Students’ Union the chance to make changes to the vendors. While the changes to the food court aren’t planned to be announced until the next Students’ Council meeting on Tuesday, the Students’ Union’s budget principles confirm that the front end of L’Express will be shut down.
SU vice-president (operations & finance) Robyn Paches said the closure is due to financial reasons, and that the Students’ Union will focus on the catering side of the business by renovating the lower level of SUB to create a commercial kitchen.
“We’ve seen the revenues of the front end of L’Express on a steady decline for the last five to six years while we’ve seen the flip side on the catering operations,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re doing the best with student dollars and right now the most sound investment is in catering and not in operating our own front option.”
He said if students are upset about the loss of a cafeteria-style option in SUB they should “stay tuned” for the announcements to the rest of the changes to SUB food court.
“We want to make sure we’re prioritizing in the food court having a plethora of options for individuals to choose from and making sure the mix is appropriate,” he said. “Also considering the mix of vendors nearby too.”
Paches said The Undergrind in SUB’s basement may be replaced as well, but the final decision has yet to be made on whether the cafe will be there next year. However, he did confirm that The Daily Grind will stay open
As for Students’ Union employees who use their student discounts to purchase meals at L’Express and Undergrind, Paches said they will still be able to use their discounts at Room At The Top and Dewey’s, and that The Daily Grind may begin to serve food like paninis. The Students’ Union is also looking at potentially using the new commercial kitchen to expand the offerings at Room At The Top.
Paches also said they hope to offer any current front end L’Express employees with comparable positions in other Students’ Union locations including the commercial kitchen, Dewey’s, or SUBmart.
“We have notified the union and we’re working with the union to make sure there are minimal layoffs,” he said.
Any changes to the food court will occur at the end of June.
“The Students’ Union is really excited to make a change in the food court,” Paches said. “It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen a large change.”