The Market at Corcoran opened on Jan. 13 on the first floor of Corcoran Commons, and is meant to be a new convenient way for students to have access to grocery store foods, as well as an alternative to dining hall meals through a pop-up concept. Available at The Market are fresh fruits and vegetables, cooking and baking ingredients, and pre-made meals, among other items. Also served at the Market is Starbucks coffee.
In an attempt to give students a break from the monotony of dining hall food, Dining Services also decided to include a pop-up restaurant concept in The Market, which is currently serving a variety of poke bowls.
Dining Service’s goal is to change the menu anywhere from two to four times per semester, according to Phyllis Kaplowitz, production manager of The Market. By training staff to specialize in a single dish over a longer period of time, Dining Services hopes to consistently guarantee a well-planned, delicious meal, she said.
The Market is the completion of a project years in the making that included the opening and redesigning of CoRo Cafe in McElroy Commons, as well as the introduction of Legal Grounds on Newton Campus. There are no current plans for expansion of this project, according to O’Neill.
“Way back in 2008, a lot of universities were laying staff off because there was a recession. ” said Megan O’Neill, associate director of restaurant operations. “Boston College refused to lay people off, but what they did say to us was that we needed to help pay for things across campus.”
From this dilemma emerged Eagle Bucks, O’Neill said, a payment option designed for students to purchase concessions that helps Dining Services achieve its goal of breaking even with its costs at the end of each year. By transferring existing concession items from the dining halls to separate markets and expanding its selection, Dining Services hoped to encourage students to purchase meals with their meal plan money, but also to keep money flowing through its other programs. Eagle Bucks is the currency used at Legal Grounds, CoRo Cafe, and now, the Market.
“We pay a square footage for every space that dining is in on campus,” said O’Neill. “We pay the rent, pay for the light, and help the services at the University who don’t have any revenue coming in, such as Facilities.”
Open 50 weeks a year, Dining Services relies on profits made during the 36-week school year to pay for its own costs, as well as aid with the costs of other services at BC. Charging higher pracies relative to grocery stores helps Dining Services offset costs and give benefits to the staff, according to O’Neill.
“If you go to a grocery store, you’re going to find cheaper costs, but what you’re not going to find is the cashier at Shaw’s making the same benefits as your favorite professor,” O’Neill said.
Featured Image by Keara Hanlon / For The Heights