Multiple on-campus dining locations could close

An analysis by administrators shows largely insufficient revenue generation for University retail foodservice.

The former location of a Papa Johns in Blegen Hall – replaced by Oath Pizza – sits vacant in September 2018. Oath Pizza may now be on the chopping block, too. 

Will Tooke

The former location of a Papa Johns in Blegen Hall – replaced by Oath Pizza – sits vacant in September 2018. Oath Pizza may now be on the chopping block, too. 

Caitlin Anderson

University of Minnesota administrators are recommending the closure of multiple on-campus retail dining spotsby July , including Burger Studio and Freshii Cafe.

The dining venues were chosen based on an analysis of foodservice campus-wide, according to an email sent to deans Thursday by Vice President of University Services Michael Berthelsen. The University’s Contract Administration and an outside consultant looked at factors including finances, location, hours of operation and use of FlexDine. The recommendation for closures to the retail locations is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the email reads. 

“In the course of our work, it has become apparent retail foodservice on the Twin Cities campus writ large is unable to generate the revenue necessary to cover operating expenses and break even,” Berthelsen, who endorsed the recommendation, said in the email. “While the decision to close these locations is not an easy one, it’s a necessary next step as we define the future of dining on the Twin Cities campus.” 

East Bank locations include Freshii Café, Meta Flavors at Minnesota Marketplace, The Pod Express and The Pod Express at Freshii. West Bank locations include Burger Studio, The Bistro West, Oath Pizza and Sullivan Café. Hay Loft Café on the St. Paul campus location is .

Berthelsen’s endorsement comes during a multi-year process by administrators to inform the future of on-campus foodservice. The business model for these retail food services “requires significant subsidy from residential dining” and is largely unsustainable. The University does not expect any layoffs as a result of the closure but will rely on attrition, a gradual reduction of employee headcount over time.

Administrators will assess each location to decide whether an alternative food or beverage option could be added. The decision to close these locations has not yet been finalized.