There are several dining locations in UWG, such as East Commons Menu or Z6. Besides those dining services, there are vendors which make dining for students more diverse. Previously known as Einstein Bagels, Lobos has emerged as a premiere grab-and-go spot on campus.
“Student input guided the decision to open Mexican cafe,” said John Lyons, Director of Campus Dining at UWG. “Through the annual surveys and student focus group meetings we learned that Mexican food was a key component missing in the portfolio of offerings on campus.”
It was decided to open a grab-and-go restaurant due to limited space, and expenses for expanding, but it is an advantage to be a self-operated restaurant.
“The really great part of opening our own self-operated restaurant is that we have 100 percent control over the recipes,” Lyons said. “We are not required to adhere to a corporate strategy because we can take input from students and respond to it much more quickly and effectively.”
Einstein Bagels products were on the higher side of the value equation, that is why it was decided that Lobos will have more reasonable prices.
“We were guided with the value,” Lyons said. “The strategy was to create an opportunity for customers to get a filling meal for $5.”
Spirit of hospitality, the right product, and the right price attract customers and keeps the business running. Lobos caused a stir among students at the very beginning and slowed down a little later, but surveys help to identify what needs to be improved.
“We ask for input from customers and based on those findings we adjust the offerings, ingredients and portions sizes to meet with expectations,” Lyons said. “The food quality is excellent and consistent.”
The number of transactions needs to be increased in order to speed up the process of recouping the investment. Profitability is important, but not the primary driver for the dining services directory. Students satisfaction is what the directory wants to reach.
“We focus on operational excellence in support of student’s success,” Lyons said. “We believe that if we provide the right product and the right price at the right time and do so with a spirit of hospitality then customers will respond with their purchases. If we do all of that right then the money part will be successful.”
Lobos employees and management cares about its customer and works for them, unlike other retail businesses. The restaurant already has steady customers and this is what inspires the management to run a quality restaurant. Not every goal has been reached yet, but auxiliary services will work under its improvement.
“We will assess at the end of the semester, take feedback from students and make adjustments for the fall,” Lyons said. “I’m sure we will evaluate the menu, perhaps expand the offerings to increase the appeal of the location.”
It takes time to develop a new restaurant, but Lobos employes and the directory work hard under its development. Customer opinions and satisfaction matter, and this is what attracts clients.