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Tully Cafe Brings Mediterranean Twist to BC Dining

With the opening of the long-awaited Integrated Science Building comes a new campus dining spot that has a Mediterranean twist—the Tully Family Cafe and Commons. 

“When you have a brand new building being built with exciting new programs, you can’t just open dining with the same thing you get at Mac right?” Frank Bailey, associate director of food and beverage at BC Dining, said.

According to Bailey, the project was already underway when he took over, and the first item on his to-do list was to create a vision for the menu. 

“Honestly, the idea all came from going out to lunch with my daughter who wanted to go to Cava,” Bailey said. “I thought this makes sense to me. This is different from what we do, so many different flavors going on colors and textures. I thought that would be a lot of fun.”

The creation of a modern, state-of-the-art building like 245 Beacon meant BC Dining had to translate the building’s aesthetics into the dining experience of the new cafe, Bailey said.

“It has to be different,” he said. “It has to be exciting. We worked with Laura Steinberg, the director of the Schiller Institute, on some of the aesthetics and even the menu.”

Tully also incorporates a new ordering system, which involves a completely cashless kiosk and mobile ordering option.

“I ordered through the kiosk for the first time today,” Skylyn Senghor, MCAS ’24, said. “That’s because the app usually [is at] capacity. But it only took seven minutes.”  

Bailey said Tully Cafe experienced a steep learning curve with the rollout of the kiosks.

“Teaching this brand new technology was a bit scary initially, so the first day was maybe not the best customer experience,” he said. “But we have a good sense of what we’re doing now.”

With BC Dining already struggling with lack of staff, the kiosk system provides a way to investigate a more time efficient new ordering system. 

“We’ve been flirting with the kiosk system for years, but we really didn’t have a good place to put it,” Bailey said. “This gave us a great opportunity.”

Students pay at Tully using any discretionary plan—such as flex plans, Eagle Bucks, and residential dining dollars—or credit cards, because it is a “premium service” with the use of extra technology, according to Bailey.

The excitement around the new opening led to long lines and wait times, which Bailey said led to some complaints from customers.

“We always take in customer feedback because that’s who we’re there for,” Bailey said. “It’s new, so it’s a little uncomfortable for people. I have already looked at possibly adding a third kiosk. But I’m already seeing a system that’s working surprisingly well and will only get better with a little more time.”

Claire Ellis, MCAS ’23, said she is slightly unsatisfied with the cafe, though she said she wants to try more items.

“I would definitely rank Eagles Nest higher,” Ellis said. “But there’s other options here, so I think I would have to try out the other things to really give it a fair say.”

According to Bailey, BC Dining has seen success with Tully, leading them to look for other ways to roll out Tully’s new cuisine and ordering system to the wider community.

“Our executive chef, Brad Shannon, is working with cultural groups on campus to work on some projects throughout the large dining halls,” Bailey said. 

Featured Image by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

January 27, 2022