Cafe Mac to close doors on students over Break

By Christine Elliott

Despite the fact that the residence halls remain open during Spring Break and some students remain on campus, they will be left to their own eating devices, as Café Mac will be closed. The last meal served before Break will be dinner on Friday, Mar. 11; the next available meal will be dinner on Sunday, Mar. 19, CafAc Mac General Manager Lori Hartzell said.

CafAc Mac has traditionally closed during Spring Break, Director of Business and Administrative Services Doug Rosenberg said.

Some students were unaware that Café Mac was closing until they saw signs posting the information this week in the Campus Center. And even after the signs were posted, students, especially first-years, were still unaware that CafAc Mac would not be open.

ƒ?oeItƒ?TMs inconvenient for students staying on campus,ƒ?? Tina Baum ƒ?TM09 said. ƒ?oeI know a lot of students who didnƒ?TMt even know about it until recently, they thought they wouldnƒ?TMt have to worry about meals during Break.ƒ??

Closing Café Mac over Break is both cost-effective for the school and students, Rosenberg said. If CafAc Mac were to stay open, the cost would be factored into studentsƒ?TM room and board. And while neither Hartzell nor Rosenberg was able to say how many students stay on campus during Break, since students do not check in and out of the dorms during that week, the number is low enough that it does not pay to keep CafAc Mac open.

Since the issue of Café Mac closing has not been raised in recent years, Rosenberg was unable to cite any specific figures regarding how much students or the college would have to pay if CafAc Mac remained open.

But Hartzell cited low sales at The Grille, which remains open limited hours during Spring Break but rarely breaks even in sales, as a possible indication of how few students utilize campus dining services during Break.

Hartzell said that J-term use is an indication of demand as well. During J-term and pre-season, students have to check back into their dorms, allowing the school to gauge roughly how many students are on campus during that time. Only one third of students back on campus regularly eat at CafAc Mac during J-term, Hartzell said.

During J-term, different departments and organizations are paying for students to be back on campus and use Café Mac, Rosenberg said. However, during Spring Break, no departments require students to remain on campus, so dining costs are no longer covered by departments, Rosenberg said.

The break saves money for the school in food, energy and labor costs, Rosenberg said. Café Mac employs a full staff, but during Spring Break only the managers and one staff worker will man The Grille, saving a significant amount in labor costs, Hartzell said.

Spring Break also gives maintenance a chance to do necessary repair and cleaning work in Café Mac.

Bon Appetit has posted some signs in the Campus Center to alert students of the closing. But, for the most part, students are finding out through word of mouth.

The Grille will be open limited hours during Spring Break, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Studentsƒ?TM flex dollars will still work during Break.