A new on-campus franchise will hit Dixie State University’s Trailblazers Cafe next semester: Chick-fil-A.
Paul Morris, vice president of administrative affairs, said the plan is to have Chick-fil-A on campus and available to students by mid-January.
The recent relocation of the salad and drink bars in the Trailblazers Cafe is just a part of the reconstruction plan in the works for Chick-fil-A, Morris said. Chick-fil-A will be located next to Blaze Grill and La Estampida on the cafe line. He said Chick-fil-A company architects have already begun the planning process to bring the Chick-fil-A kitchen into the space, and Deven Macdonald, local Chick-fil-A franchise owner and DSU donor, has been and will continue to work with DSU to offer guidance.
Macdonald said because DSU is a franchisee, his role will be more indirect, serving as a coach for DSU in making sure the operation is up to par.
Morris said there were three major criteria considered when deciding on new dining options on campus.
“Primarily we started with a student survey to gauge interest,” Morris said. “Another important factor was ownership: whether we can buy the franchise and Dixie State can own it as opposed to leasing space to another franchisee.”
Morris said ownership was a major factor so DSU could reserve more direct control over the operation while offering student employment positions.
The third criteria was cost, including up-front fees and royalties, not having anything to do with student tuition and the recent tuition increase. The only revenue used within the dining services is food sale revenue.
Martin Peterson, director of dining services, said company architects from Georgia created plans after doing a site inspection at DSU. The goal is to get the reconstruction started by Thanksgiving week. Peterson said the Chick-fil-A will offer between eight and 10 new on-campus employment positions. Because Chick-fil-A is closed Sundays, Trailblazers Cafe will begin closing its doors every Sunday as well but will begin operating Saturdays.
Peterson said although food chain franchise options, like Subway sandwiches, are more expensive than homegrown options, students choose chains.
“Students really want a name and food that they recognize,” Peterson said. “We used to have a sandwich option in our food court, but when we purchased the Subway franchise, our sales had a 400 percent increase.”
Likewise, Morris said students will appreciate having more dining options that are consistent, so students will know what to expect when they buy on campus.
Macdonald said, because the space is more limited, the on-campus Chick-fil-A will be an “express location” meaning there will be limited services while offering customers the same experience.
“It’s not going to be a full venue,” Macdonald said. “It won’t be the exact same thing, but, for the most part, it’ll be the same experience and same taste.”
Morris said DSU is also working toward sealing a deal with Pizza Hut. He said, optimistically, an on-campus Pizza Hut will be operational in January as well, although DSU has yet to confirm a contract as a franchisee with Pizza Hut.
“They gave us tentative approval this week, but we’re still waiting for documents and things,” Peterson said.
The Pizza Hut would provide about four on-campus work positions for students and would be located next to Chick-fil-A in the Gardner Center.
“Chick-fil-A is a great company to be working with, and they’ve got great principles and great food,” Peterson said.