The constantly changing hours of Lane’s food court, located in the newly reconstructed Center Building, leaves many students without any other options for food besides what is sold in the Titan Store. The current hours listed on the Lane web site show most options in the food court are open until 3 p.m. with Lime Fresh being open until 5 p.m. daily except Friday. Despite this, students have gone to the cafeteria around 3 p.m. and found it to be completely closed down with employees cleaning up for the night.
“If I don’t pack my lunch, I don’t have a reliable meal and that’s very stressful,” Chris Hickok, tutor coordinator for TRiO, said. “I’ve heard people say they’ve skipped class to go eat, because there was no food on campus.”
Hickok believes the college needs to be spending more money on the cafeteria because it is currently “an inhospitable atmosphere that’s driving students away from campus.” The student workers that provide food to Lane students have a different view on the situation.
“We did expect there was going to be a lot more people coming, sort of like last year,” said Marissa Brundige, a Lane food court employee. “I think it just comes down to, they thought more people were going to be registered this term and last term, so they just don’t have the money to keep them open.”
With a lack of sales, the Lane cafeteria has been making some unexpected changes, such as closing two of the six faux-restaurants in the cafeteria and cutting back on hours and staff. Both B&Ds Country Kitchen and Five Spice are closed for Winter Term.
“It all ties in with sales, and sales aren’t what they were estimating when they originally drew up all the plans,” said Josh Hardison, the manager of Stonefire Pizza. “I would say right now with the sales the way they are with enrollment being down [it’s a problem]. The only thing is just our hands are tied with staffing. Until we start making more money they’re not going to bring in any more folks.”
The food court management has been working on figuring out the best possible times that they can afford to be open. Hardison stresses that they aren’t intending to take it out on students.
“I think we’ve corralled it a bit. I know students would like us to be open till around five or six but we’ve done that,” said Hardison. “We don’t want to take it out on the customers. It’s the business side of it. We’re trying to run a profitable business so if we’re not seeing sales at the later hours they’re just going to cut us off at those later hours.”
Hardison asks Lane students to not give up on the food court just yet, because their ultimate goal is to feed the students. They’re working on creating hours that work well for students with later classes and will also be affordable for the school.