D2 and Hokie Grill have opened their doors for limited weekend business at Virginia Tech, bringing in more revenue and providing less crowded dining halls for students on campus.
Ranked among the top dining facilities at a university by the Princeton Review, dining halls at Tech are serving elevated numbers of students each day, creating long lines and wait times for meals.
Ted J. Faulkner, associate director of dining services, said that opening D2 on the weekend this year was approved and funded in the 2008-09 budget.
"Dining Services is still waiting on approval on the budget for next year, which will help determine the course of action that awaits for the 2009-10 operating year," Faulkner said.
Faulkner also said that since 2006, Dining Services has been dealing with requests from students and organizations on campus to provide more service on the weekends.
"The additional meal plan holders, over the course of the last three years, provided an opportunity for dining to provide these new services," Faulkner said. "We recognized the need and enacted a plan to open some more dining facilities on campus when the final approval on the budget came through."
Kelvin Bergsten, unit manager of Dietrick Dining Programs, said that opening D2 on Sundays has put less of a strain on the other dining facilities on campus.
"Opening D2 on the weekends has made a positive difference in the other facilities with regard to overcrowding and service," Bergsten said. "We have seen the time period of 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. to be the most popular."
Bergsten said that D2 offers many different dining options throughout the day, be that on a weekday or a Sunday. He believes that if the students eating at D2 could spread out their arrival times other than between the noon to 1:30 p.m. time slot, they would encounter even less crowded dining facilities.
Although D2 is only open on Sunday for abbreviated hours, Bergsten said this may change in the future.
"We are always looking and evaluating what our customers want; we have to assess each circumstance and try to provide excellent customer service," Bergsten said. "The current state of the commonwealth and the budget cuts requested may influence the direction of future services."
Hokie Grill manager Steve Opeka has also seen many changes with Hokie Grill now open on Saturday.
"We actually began opening on the weekend before Christmas break started last semester," Opeka said. "We are not open on Sundays because of our franchise, Chick-fil-A's, policy."
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy decided that when he opened his first Chick-fil-A in 1967, he would not operate business on Sunday because of religious purposes.
Opeka said that Hokie Grill has been getting extra sales because of the two franchises, Pizza Hut and Chick-fil-A, and are doing very well financially.
"The business that Hokie Grill gets on the weekend is business that other dining halls do not receive, which helps Hokie Grill out financially," Opeka said. "Hokie Grill is trying to help take a little extra congestion away from the other dining halls, and in doing so, the crowds and the lines in the other dining halls are not as overwhelming on the weekends as they used to be."
Opeka said that the recent addition of Carvel Ice Cream has also caused business at Hokie Grill to increase.
"We have just added the Carvel Ice Cream location, so now the space outside of the main area of Hokie Grill is split between Cinnabon and Carvel," Opeka said. "The business that we receive from those two franchises has also been doing very well since we opened them."
As of right now, Opeka said that there are no new ideas in the works about changing the times that Hokie Grill is open.
"The times will stay the same," Opeka said. "We are open an hour later than the other food courts during the weekdays, so that is also helping out the business at Hokie Grill."
The new hours for D2 on Sunday are noon until 4 p.m. for brunch, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner. Hokie Grill is now open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.