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UAS Review Chops Stocks and Stems Hours

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After its first semester in the Campus Center, soup and salad venue Stocks and Stems is no longer open for dinner or on the weekends.

A University Auxiliary Services intersession review determined that the venue’s business was insufficient to continue using resources for hours other than weekday lunch times.

UAS Executive Director Steve Pearse said this decision was “driven by numbers.” The review included a look at customer counts and sales volume at each venue.

Stocks and Stems was near the bottom of the list in terms of money and was above only a few venues like Jazzmans, Zime, and the Patroon Room.

The soup and salad place this semester has drawn in what Pearse noted to be a longer line at lunchtime.

“We noticed there was a longer line,” Pearse said. “The line seems to not move as quickly as it could.”

If Stocks and Stems were to draw in more business, Pearse said it would be possible to expand hours again.

“It’s not that we want to close it down, it’s just allocation of resources,” the UAS director said.

Employees are included in the resources. Since some venues have shortened hours, that opens the opportunity for employees to shift to venues with extended hours or new venues.

But should venues like Stocks and Stems maintain extended hours despite lack of business, overhead costs for meal plans could increase.

The overhead meal plan model includes a base cost for operating expenses other than food.

“We don’t really want to increase that dramatically,” Pearse said.

The myFlex meal plans, typically used by non-freshman campus residents, have an overhead cost of $1,429 with options for different amounts of discount dollars.

Ph.D. student Jayanta Talukder is not on this meal plan. Though he lives off campus, Talukder frequently buys lunch on campus since he stays until around 5 p.m.

Noting that he usually eats salad once a week, Talukder added, “I understand that a lot of people might not be buying salads a lot.”

Numbers show that Fountain Grill—with burgers, fries, and milkshakes among its offerings—raked in about four times as much money as Stocks and Stems, coming in first for fall semester sales.

Hours of operation factor into how much money a venue makes. For instance, Fountain Grill had the most hours, with 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

Although Fountain Grill is open for more hours than Stocks and Stems, there are other options for students craving a salad at night or on the weekends.

SubConnection offers a build-your-own salad and the dining halls have salad options.

Sophomore and human biology major Saraly de Jesus has tried the salad at Subconnection, but prefers Stocks and Stems. “I don’t like the salad from the sandwich place. I feel like it’s not as good,” she said.

Another option is the dining hall. At $12 without discounts or $4.80 with discount dollars, it is more expensive than only buying a salad from Stocks and Stems.

A salad at Stocks and Stems is $3.44 with discount dollars or $6.89 without a meal plan and before tax.

But adding a drink and other items could make a Stocks and Stems order more expensive than the dining hall.

Though Stocks and Stems has reduced hours, other venues are opening or have extended hours.

In a couple weeks, smoothies will come to the 518 Market once the blenders are ready, Pearse said.

WOW, originally known as World of Wings Cafe, is slated to open on Feb. 12 in the space now called Damien’s.

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Elise Coombs, a Syracuse native, is the editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press. She is the co-Vice President of the UAlbany Mock Trial team, a member of Presidential Honors Society, and a peer mentor for the pre-law section of Writing and Critical Inquiry. After her time at UAlbany, she plans to go to law school and become a First Amendment lawyer.

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