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Survey Helps Choose W20 Vendor

By Tongyan Lin


Approximately 750 people have completed the dining survey that will help determine the vendor to replace Arrow St. Crepes in the student center, said Director of Campus Dining Richard D. Berlin III.

The survey, which was released online Friday, April 16, will close at the end of this week. Berlin said they intend to select a vendor by the end of this month, after the results have been compiled and discussed with the Campus Dining Board.

Student input an important factor

So far, the results, “seemed to vary from independent restaurants” to brand names, Berlin said.

Berlin said that a number of students had filled out Anna’s Taqueria as their choice of vendor, but that he was “not prejudging” any of the options.

The survey is important because it is “the vehicle we are using to evaluate our options,” Berlin said.

While he hopes to select the number one choice of the students, it depends on whether that vendor is “interested and agreeable to business with MIT.”

The vendor has a “niche to fill in the community,” Berlin said. He is not as concerned with the type of food offered because there are enough dining locations on campus that MIT does not “have to look at every location as satisfying every need.” He said the location is a good social space.

Vendor must satisfy several needs

The vendor must fit the community’s needs, MIT’s business needs, and be able to work well with the Office of Campus Dining as well, Berlin said.

Berlin said the replacement should be “operationally and financially responsible.” He said it was important to have a “long term partner,” and to avoid another situation like the current one with Arrow St. Crepes.

Berlin said that the vendor must also “agree to a form of working with our office.” The Office of Campus Dining must approve the menu, prices, and hours of location of the vendor in order to protect student purchasing power, he said.

“The other thing we want to do is make sure it opens by the fall,” he added.

Q bubble hopes to take over space

Nancy Chen, the owner of Q-Bubble, the vendor that had shared space with Arrow St. Crepes until they were forced to leave, said she hopes to obtain this contract. She is submitting a proposal to Berlin to create a location that would service Taiwanese, Cantonese, and Szechuan cuisine.

She said that she is willing to work out arrangements to address reasonable prices and later hours, if it gives her the opportunity to open this restaurant.

Berlin said that the decision would depend ultimately on the survey, though he also said that the limited equipment available at this location may not be appropriate for Asian-style cuisine.