Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Recent modifications to Hilltop Café enhance on-campus dining experience for students

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger

Hungry OU-C students as well as other campus members are experiencing new palate-pleasing changes at the Hilltop Café this semester. The upgrades were implemented to provide a more student-focused menu and payment option.

“We wanted to adapt to our students and revamp our menu for the fall semester,” said Ohio University General Manager, Retail Operations Christopher Schmitt. 

“Customer service is always our main focus within Auxiliaries. We review sales on a weekly basis to determine which items are popular and which items need modified. We always encourage student feedback because we are here to provide services for our students.”

Based on student feedback and sales data, the Hilltop Café cooked up some fresh new ideas. This semester the Hilltop Café discontinued its pizza offerings due to low sales volume and instead added a burrito bar. “Our fresh Mex concept is very similar to Chipotle. We wanted to provide fresh ingredients at a reasonable price for our students,” Schmitt said.

Also new for fall, for the first time ever, students can pay with Bobcat Cash for their meal at the Hilltop Cafe.

“Bobcat Cash is new to all of our regional campuses, Schmitt said.  “It is money that is put on deposit with the University so that students can use their OHIO ID card like a prepaid debit card to purchase goods and services, such as food at campus dining venues.”

Bobcat Cash is a convenient alternative to using cash or credit cards and can be used at any Ohio University culinary facility.

In addition to the new Fresh Mex offering, the Hilltop Café serves deli sandwiches, customized salads, homemade soups, Starbucks coffee and Fresh Take grab-and-go items.

The changes to the Hilltop Café this semester are part of its larger mission to ensure OU-C students continue to have wholesome, convenient and delicious food choices.

“We want to provide students with their favorite foods, at competitive prices, without leaving campus,” Schmitt said.

The Hilltop Café is located in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons area and serves an important role in fostering a sense of community on campus. As a commuter campus, OU-C does not have residence halls, and it is important that students have a comfortable place to study, hang out with friends and grab something to eat between classes. The Learning Commons has become a hub of campus activity, and the café adds to the casual, yet practical, environment.

By offering well-rounded food offerings that are tailored to the students’ tastes and busy schedules, the Hilltop Café allows students to remain on campus and make the most of their time. Many OU-C learners are balancing academics with job and family responsibilities, and this type of student-focused approach makes the most efficient use of their sometimes hectic schedules.

Recent diners Casey Thompson and Tracey Robinette, a pair of OU-C nursing students from McArthur, mentioned that they eat at the café three or four days a week. “I like the fact I can get quality food at a reasonable price. It seems as if the café is designed for students,” Thompson said. 

“With the long commute, it is nice to not have to leave campus to get a meal,” Robinette said. “It allows me to have more time for studying so I have time for my family when I am home. Also, I enjoy the healthy snacks and the selection of food.”

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