Sodexo USA has brought many changes to the College of William and Mary this semester, but based on the number of Dining Dollars students are using, the addition of Tribe Square restaurants to the meal plan might be the most beloved new change.
Alpen Patel, the owner of Williamsburg MOOYAH and Kim Twine, the owner of Pita Pit, have both noticed an increase in business from College students
“I’d say there’s been about a 60 percent increase in students from last year,” Patel said.
Twine said Pita Pit’s business from students has doubled or even tripled as a result of its inclusion on the meal plan. Dining Dollars are now the main source of Pita Pit’s business, accounting for over $100,000 in revenue this semester.
According to Patel, the Tribe Square restaurateurs reached out to the College numerous times over the past few years about being included on the mandatory meal plan. After the College chose Sodexo USA as its dining services provider, negotiations between Tribe Square proprietors, the College and Sodexo allowed this idea to become a reality in July.
Joining the meal plan also modified Pita Pit’s and MOOYAH’s business in unforeseen ways.
“Before the meal plan, we were definitely student lunch business, and now, after the meal plan, we’re mostly student dinner business,” Twine said.
As the semester winds down and students run low or even run out of Dining Dollars, both Twine and Patel have noticed a decrease in students dining at Tribe Square.
“There’s some people that you saw at the beginning of the school year that are nowhere to be found now,” Patel said. “There’s a couple students that I saw once a week and still see them. And now we’re seeing students that we’ve never seen before that are trying to quickly spend all of their Dining Dollars.”
Patel explained the only downside to the long lunchtime lines of College students is how they sometimes scare away Williamsburg residents, including professors. Twine noticed the same problem.
“We’ve had some professors say that we’re so busy that it’s hard for them to wait in line,” Twine said.
Twine said that she expects that business might drop off next semester because of the new dining options, such as the food truck, offered on campus. However, some students are still enthusiastic about spending their Dining Dollars at the local establishments.
“I definitely go to MOOYAH and Pita Pit more than last year,” Alexis Plofchan ’16 said. “If I didn’t have Dining Dollars, I wouldn’t be coming as much.”