When Texas A&M University – Kingsville (TAMUK) reopens after spring break, one operation will remain closed.
Due to low numbers, the dining hall in Turner/Bishop Hall will not open for breakfast and remain closed for the remainder of the spring semester starting on March 17.
The dining hall will still open for lunch and dinner but if students want breakfast, they will have to go to the Javelina Dining Hall.
Mohammed Aiyaz Ali, the senior director of Aramark Dining, said the dining hall is closing for breakfast because it has not been utilized as it should be.
The seating in Turner/Bishop dining hall fits approximately 200 students and the numbers for breakfast were averaging only 45.
“We have plenty of seating in Javelina Dining Hall. We can easily accommodate those 45 people that would eat at [Turner/Bishop Hall] and there will be more options,” Ali said.
Ali explained his analysis of daily numbers for all three meals of the day at the dining halls. It showed lunch and dinner numbers at 800 to 1200 and breakfast falling way behind with 150 to 250.
“You can see the discrepancy. Students like to eat lunch and dinner, but not really breakfast,” he said.
Ali said that shutting down for breakfast will benefit TAMUK and Aramark because it will save money and energy.
“When people don’t show up for breakfast, we have cooked left-overs and it just goes in the trash. That’s not sustainable from our stand point and it’s not ‘green’,” he said.
Ali added that Aramark tries to salvage what they can. He gave an example of left-over sausage getting cut up and put on pizza to serve that same day. Fruits and other uncooked food can also be used for later use if not eaten for breakfast.
As for workers that would serve breakfast in the Turner/Bishop dining hall, Ali said they will be moved to the other dining hall to keep their hours.
Ali said that students and residential staff at Turner and Bishop Hall were encouraged earlier in the semester to utilize the dining hall to increase numbers in order to keep the dining hall operating for breakfast. He said there was not an increase in numbers after communicating with students and residential staff and therefore made a decision.
“I just think students don’t like getting up that early in the morning,” Ali said about the lack of increase.
He said that the Turner/Bishop Hall dining hall will open again for breakfast in the fall because the numbers at breakfast will be sufficient due to higher enrollment.
“I’ve been analyzing spring counts for the last two years and we haven’t had a day where we serve 100 people breakfast in the spring at Turner/Bishop,” Ali said.
Despite the decision to close the dining hall for one meal, Ali said that he wants to encourage students to eat at the dining hall and to utilize the service. “We want to serve them. We want to have options for them,” Ali said about TAMUK students.
Dorcas Johnson, senior Range & Wildlife Management major and residence advisor at Bishop Hall, said she will not be affected by the closure and only knows of a few students that were upset about the change. “They just closed for breakfast. It would be different if they closed for lunch or dinner it would make more of an impact,” she said.
Johnson also added that many students would not make it on time for breakfast due to class and noted that the other dining hall was open longer than the one at Turner/Bishop.
Rey Barrera, senior Music Education major and Career Advisor at Turner Hall, said that he wouldn’t eat breakfast at Turner/Bishop dining hall because of the time. “They stop serving at 9. That’s when I get out of class and when I feel like eating breakfast,” he said.
Barrera said that the dining hall should extend the breakfast serving time a little more to increase numbers but added that only a few should be bothered by the dining hall being closed for breakfast.
Ali said the numbers will be evaluated again next spring to see if there is an increase in utilization, but if there is no increase, the dining hall will be shut down again for breakfast the following spring.