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Stein downscaled, student response ambivalent

Published: September 5, 2008
Section: News


The Stein Restaurant reduced hours and menu offerings, and the Department of Student Activities is sponsoring fewer Stein Nights than the previous year, yet students appear unaffected by these changes.

Last year the Stein was open to serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during the weekdays.

In August, the student body received an e-mail from Peter B. French, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, informing them of the capital projects completed or started during the summer months. The community update memo stated that the Stein would only be open during dinner hours.

Michael Newmark, Director of Dining Services, explained, in an e-mail to The Hoot, “Over the past few years the Stein has seen a drop in customer traffic at lunch.”

Newmark also wrote that the other lunch venues available to students factored into the decision of shortening the Stein’s hours. “With so many lunch options…it was determined that the Stein lunch program would no longer be needed,” he wrote.

The e-mail from French listed two new lunch venues open to students, Quizno’s and the faculty club. Quizno’s, a sub-sandwich restaurant, will serve both lunch and dinner in upper Usdan, and will be open near the end of September. In addition, the faculty club is now open to the entire Brandeis community and will be serving lunch.

Newmark commented, “no one likes to see anything get eliminated but the faculty club offers as much if not more than the Stein did.” The Faculty Club offers outdoor dining, a salad bar, and hot buffets.

The cuts from the Stein’s menu were part of an effort to “increase customer satisfaction,” Newmark stated. The new menu was developed to correlate with the amount of kitchen space, equipment, and the increase in dinner volume and delivery orders.

In the previous semester there were weekly Stein Nights, featuring games, bingo, and karaoke. The Department of Student Activities sponsored the majority of these events. While the department will still be sponsoring weekly activities, the Stein will not be hosting most of them.

Instead, the events will be located in various spots around campus. Stephanie Grimes, Director of Student Activities, wrote, “[we] decided to take the funding we have used for the weekly Thursday Stein programming and spread it throughout the Fall semester. We are using a number of different locations across campus in order to maximize our budget as well as to promote multiple programming venues across campus.”

Grimes confirmed that Student Events will still be sponsoring monthly Thirsty Thursdays at the Stein, which provide free food and soda for everyone and free beer for those who are 21 and older.

Students appear to be indifferent to the changes at the Stein. Several returning students admitted to never having eaten there, while others said that they ate at the Stein occasionally. An upperclassman asked, “What are Stein Nights?”