Under a recently approved 10-year agreement with Aramark, a slew of new eateries are slated to open in UCF's Student Union.
The food court, which currently houses Nathan's Famous and Asian Chao, among others, will undergo renovations, adding Steak 'n Shake, Which Wich and Panda Express, according to a UCF release. The new additions, as well as the remaining Qdoba and Huey Magoo's, will open in 2017 or 2018, doubling the Union's seating capacity.
Additionally, Cafe Bustelo will open this summer, and Chili's will open later this year, replacing Wackadoo's. Current Union tenants will continue serving students through 2017 or 2018 when their leases end, the release states.
Over by the Leisure Pool, Pollo Tropical and a second Cafe Bustelo will open up shop. Two more locally owned eateries will be added at a later date.
“Student feedback has been a critical part of this decision-making process, as more than 7,400 students completed a recent survey,” said Rick Falco, director of the Student Union, in a press release. “We look forward to seeing these exciting new options for students, faculty and staff as part of our renovated and expanded food court.”
The renovations come after a November decision to consolidate UCF food services under Aramark, which is funding the expansion, previously estimated at $14 million. The agreement, which passed in November, sparked much controversy among students and Union tenants, who came out to a heated Board of Trustees meeting, some wielding signs that read "Don’t let Wackadoo’s go dark! Say NO! to Aramark,” “SLAP down the monopoly” and “If Aramark has their way the SU will decay.”
But UCF's chief financial officer said the deal is ultimately for the students.
“I think this is a really good program, good agreement, for the students as a whole,” said William Merck, UCF’s vice president for administration and chief financial officer, at the trustees meeting. “The whole purpose of this whole particular proposal is for students.”
Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager of the Central Florida Future. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-576-5933, or follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn.