A popular food item for students in Keene State College’s Night Owl Café have ‘sizzled’ away on Fridays. Sizzlers, which are fried sandwiches with an array of fillings to choose from, are now no longer being offered to students on Fridays because of campus-wide budget cuts.
Keene State is looking far and wide for different ways to consolidate the budget within student services. With that comes a few changes for Keene State Dining Services.
“This was an area where we were asked to look at the services we provide and [figure out] which services didn’t seem to be providing as much service as the other services we’re providing,” said Keene State Dining Services General Manager Josef Quirinale.
The option to remove sizzlers from the Friday menu was one of the few things that were given as an option to curtail as an effect of the budget cuts.
“We carefully looked at all areas and on Friday’s, the sizzler isn’t as popular as it is Monday through Thursday,” said Quirinale. “The decision was made and it wasn’t made by us quite honestly. It was a campus decision, and certain items were chosen from the list that we provided as services to be curtailed.”
While most of the items on the list pertain to internal operations, a few involve the students. Some of those include slight menu changes, as well as a cease to the popular Wednesday Night Cobbler dessert line.
“We ended up having to provide the cobbler line less often because there is a labor issue associated with that,” said Quirinale. “Dessert is dessert. We make dessert, but there’s an attendant that has to set up for that event and serve it, and that is labor intensive.”
KSC junior Hannah Rettig mentioned that there are a few options that she can think of as alternatives to suspending the Friday operation of sizzlers. “It’s like four hours that you’re paying people to stand there,” said Rettig. “I feel like maybe even closing Hoot [‘n’ Scoot] instead, depending on how busy it is, might be better.”
Rettig is one of many students that have high praise for sizzlers, including telling the beauty of them to prospective students. “I know when I give tours I tell all the tours that sizzlers are awesome and they’re very unique to Keene and Keene State,” said Rettig.
Even with the high praise for sizzlers, some students say that the change hasn’t really affected them. “I don’t get sizzlers very often,” said KSC junior Courtney Dillon. “I don’t take advantage of that [sizzlers] enough. I’ve probably only had two sizzlers this year. For me, I didn’t even know it had happened.”
“I definitely think sizzlers are awesome,” said Rettig, “and they’re [Sodexo] only paying two people to stand there and make sizzlers.” She continued, “I think a lot of students take advantage of sizzlers because they’re good.”
While the decision seemed to be an easy one for the campus, Quirinale said that it wasn’t an easy choice to decide what to cut costs from.
“Our job is really to provide as much variety and as much satisfaction for the students as we possibly can,” said Quirinale. “We do that so when it comes time for us to be told we need to trim your operation a little bit [and] where can you trim it, it’s difficult for us to choose, but we have to choose what we feel will create a lesser of an effect.”
While the cobbler line will return for Thanksgiving dinner in the Zorn Dining Commons, most services will not return unless an increase in budget occurs.
“When we curtail something, we really look at the entire picture of what we’re doing,” said Quirinale, “and we find what will have the least impact on the students and those are the things we trim a little bit of.”
“It’s never an easy decision,” said Quirinale. “It really isn’t.”
Justin Mahan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org