Students upset over changes to Fran’s


Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Medill sophomore Ryan Daggs enjoys a chicken quesadilla with friends at Fran’s Cafe. The dining spot recently cut down the number of items offered on its menu.

Tyler Pager, Reporter

Students craving late-night meals at Fran’s Cafe this quarter are finding fewer menu items and different staff members, changes they say have left them disappointed and confused.

A number of dishes are no longer offered at the Willard dining hall location, although nuCuisine staff provided different accounts of the menu revisions. Staff alterations have also affected Fran’s, where some employees, including a former supervisor, were moved to other parts of campus.

The alterations were made over the summer due to a lack of business, said Joe Burdi, nuCuisine’s executive chef for South Campus.

“We reviewed our sales, and we were trying to identify our top sellers and which weren’t selling as well,” he said. “We also looked at the menu to ensure we are putting out the freshest quality product we could.”

The changes come as nuCuisine also cut down dining hours at Norris University Center at the beginning of Fall Quarter, citing budgetary reasons. Willie’s Food Court, with the exception of Subway and North Shore Pizza Company, will be closed for dinner on weekdays this year.

Burdi said only four items were taken off the Fran’s menu: burritos, tacos, an Asian salad and sliders. Although these were removed, he said they were replaced with more popular items such as full-sized burgers and additional sandwich options. NuCuisine spokesman Jason Sophian said a chipotle turkey panini was added to the menu and chicken tenders are now available as a side item.

“The menu is still a moving part,” Burdi said. “There can always be changes to the menu based on feedback.”

Burdi said nuCuisine will begin offering weekly specials at Fran’s next week and will consider placing them on the regular menu if they are popular with students.

Weinberg sophomore Laura Goldring said many people have been disappointed with the changes to the menu.

“(Fran’s) was much more organized last year in terms of prices and options,” she said. “They added and subtracted things randomly.”

The changes to Fran’s prompted Bruce King, the location’s former supervisor, to encourage students to voice their dissent via social media, Willard residents and staff say.

“When Fran’s opened, Bruce said that if we were upset, it was our duty to tell nuCuisine using the tools we have such as Facebook and Twitter,” Weinberg sophomore Nicole Martinez said.

James Kelley, the current supervisor of Fran’s, said King was recently transferred to Allison’s dining hall.

“Every manager is switched around,” Kelley said. “It’s a corporation policy. Everybody should know what everybody else does because every location does something a little different.”

However, according to employees at Fran’s, King was not happy at Allison and quit soon after transferring.

Many students were unaware that King was no longer working at Fran’s.

“Bruce is definitely part of the atmosphere here,” Martinez said. “He’s passionate about being here. It’s sad. We are really going to miss him here.”

Sophian said there was a lot of staff movement this summer.

“We were looking at how we could best utilize everyone,” he said. “With the menu being overhauled, we thought people could be better utilized in other places. While we are making adjustments, we want to make sure we can provide the sufficient service to people that do go to Fran’s on a nightly basis.”

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