Published: September 25, 2015
The bustling dining area wafting the smell of freshly baked bread is the first thing to catch the eye upon entering the new Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall for the first time.
The new rehabilitation center on campus, ELH, dedicated Sept. 18, is also the new home to the only Einstein Bros. Bagels in Scranton, and students are loving the bagels and ‘shmear.’
This time last year, the only food option on the lower half of campus below Madison Avenue was a small counter tucked into a corner of Hyland Hall, called Hyland Café. Students loved the homey feel and delicious sandwiches, but Joe Boyd, director of operations for dining services, felt that the area was just too small to accommodate students any longer.
When plans for ELH were solidified, Boyd saw an opportunity to offer a more suitable dining location on the lower part of campus. He recognized that opening EBB meant closing Hyland Café, but feels that it is a major improvement and students will appreciate the changes. Boyd said EBB has good food, a much more extensive menu with healthy options and the same staff from Hyland who students love to chat with when they order their lunch.
“Change is difficult sometimes, but I believe it is a process that is developing those who are on campus for the better,” Boyd said. “It definitely is a better location. It’s more inviting. It has that open air atmosphere.”
Dining services made no staff reductions in the move, in fact staff increased from three people to nine, with a search for one or two more ensue.
One staff member, the manager of EBB, Rochelle Stahl, said she enjoys working in a busy atmosphere with high brand standards.
“This is a better opportunity…a growing opportunity,” Stahl said. “We offer so much more.”
Stahl said she has seen the students enjoying the food and convenience immensely.
“I really like it because I’m in McGurrin a lot, so having some place close to eat or grab a drink or a sandwich or something really helps with time and being able to eat between classes,” junior Kaila Cahoon said.
Boyd said Hyland was starting to become tired and that the area of campus needed a bigger location to serve all the students. An estimated 3,000 people frequent Leahy Hall and EBB allows them to get any meal without having to cross the street.
“We’re in it to be a partner on campus. We’re looking out for the benefit of Aramark and The University, but more so on the side of The University,” Boyd said. “This is what we’ve heard that the kids are looking for that would produce a quality product that is going to be something that they’ve asked for.”
Boyd said the opportunity to give the students what they want presented itself with the plans for ELH.
Soon after plans to build ELH were drawn up, Boyd pulled together his team to brainstorm which chain they would place in the new building. Aramark has a selection of national chains and original concepts to choose from and Boyd said that his team and he decided on EBB because of its healthy options and high brand standards.
That high standard is a priority to EBB, which is why they sent a team out to Denver over the summer to train university employees how to run the operation including Carrie Sowinski, food production manager at The University, and several staff members previously employed at Hyland.
The team spent 13 grueling hours each day at “bagel boot camp” for 10 days perfecting the standards EBB expects.
Sowinski said the staff adapted well to the change and they were eager to learn.
JB Skoff, retail operations food service director said that the success of EBB really depends on the team in place and how they deliver the service.
“A lot has to do with what and who you put there,” Skoff said.
Skoff and the rest of the Aramark team are confident EBB will be a success and a staple on campus.