Inside the Zorn Dining Commons (DC) at Keene State College, students may have noticed a gallery of napkins along the bulletin boards. The napkins typically have hand-written suggestions on them from students to improve the dining experience during their time at KSC.
Some of these suggestions have been brought to life at the start of this semester. Lloyd’s Marketplace has undergone several renovations in an attempt to give healthier and quicker options before, in-between and after classes.
Retail Manager of Lloyd’s Marketplace Kristin Mattheson said some of the ideas that were implemented this year stemmed from reading the napkins posted within the DC . Some of these new options include a smoothie bar, a bistro sandwich station and an express lane.
“I started looking at food trends [last year] and then I also started doing my own experimentations, starting with smoothies,” Mattheson said. “Shortly after, I started really looking at the numbers of what I was selling and what I was not. I noticed the number of deli sandwiches started to go down quite a bit.”
On average, Mattheson said the deli was selling between 22 to 25 sandwiches per day. She added that on days they sold smoothies, they would sell upwards of 100, which sparked the idea of creating a designated smoothie section. “I decided, let’s get rid of the deli and put in smoothies because when I would have smoothies once a week, I would be getting great responses,” Mattheson said.
The new smoothie bar, “Smoothie Hooooo,” includes five different specialty flavors, as well as a build-your-own smoothie option and a chance to add protein powder or chia seeds. Mattheson said new equipment was purchased for this station to reach its full potential.
“I needed to buy the new cooler that has the big glass front so people can see what is inside there, as well as the industrial blenders,” Mattheson said.
Even without the deli to create your own sandwich, there are still sandwich options available. Inside the open-air coolers on the left side of the store are Simply To-Go fresh, pre-packaged sandwiches, as well as a new bistro sandwich station, Mattheson said.
Referring back to Lloyds’ sales, Mattheson said when she served a specialty “bistro or artisan-like sandwich” available, it would sell much better than the typical deli sandwich. With that trend in mind, “The Local Press” station was created. Similar to the smoothie bar, the bistro sandwich station has five different specialty options. However, there is not a build-your-own sandwich option.
The last change and fastest option is the new express lane, “Lloyd’s Express,” which replaced “Lloyd’s Oven” that consisted of Italian-style dishes. The menu consists of the most popular fried food items, according to Mattheson, along with pre-made breakfast sandwiches and made to order pastas and pizza.
“There’s items, such as chicken tenders, that students can’t get enough of,” Mattheson said. “People just want them, want them, want them, but they’d have to wait about seven minutes for them to cook. If I can stay ahead of the number of people who are coming through the door, people can just come right there and go without having to stand in line.”
Mattheson said she has heard nothing but positive feedback so far. KSC senior Kenadee Cadieux is among the students who are pleased with seeing change.
“I think the grab-and-go option is a huge selling point so that people won’t have to wait in line for 10-15 minutes for mozzarella sticks,” Cadieux said.
She added the smoothie bar is her favorite modification. “It’s nice to see our money being spent towards things like this,” Cadieux said. “I love smoothies and I’ve had two [of the specialty smoothies] already. My goal is to try the rest of them by next week.”
KSC junior Chris Garian said he thinks since the renovation has been made, the quality of the food is much better. “I think they made a lot of improvements and that show they do care about the quality of the food,” Garian said.
He added that while he is pleased with the changes, he would like to see other changes in the future.
Similar to Garian, Cadieux said there are some items she would like to see added to the menu.
“I think it’d be cool to have more flavors of iced coffee throughout the week instead of just two. I feel like iced coffee is something students get more than hot coffee, so I would love to see that,” Cadieux said.
There are still changes to the menu in the works, according to Mattheson. With the purchase of the industrial blenders for the smoothies was also the purchase of a juicer. Mattheson said one of their ideas is to have fresh orange juice pre-packaged in the open-air coolers within the next couple months, but there are logistics that have not been worked out yet.
“I think we are trying to ease into [juicing] because our staff members need to learn everything about making smoothies and to be efficient first before adding another thing,” Mattheson said.
Only one juicer was purchased, and because of this, Mattheson said she is not sure at the moment if she will be providing one specific type of juice each day or if she will have a variety to select from. She added she is wary of food allergies and wants to take the best approach possible.
There will also soon be warm, soft pretzels and a new drink at Bean and Bagel that has been implemented on other college campuses called a “razzbull” — a RedBull energy drink mixed with raspberry syrup — within the next few weeks. These items are readily available, but have simply not been added to the new menus yet, Mattheson said.
She added the current menus hung up are only temporary because of a new Food and Drug Administration regulation. “The FDA is requiring places to post calories,” Mattheson said. “We are currently finalizing the calorie counts with one of our nutrition interns so that we can have our permanent menus up as soon as we can.”
However, the signs do not have to contain the calorie count until May 2018, according to Mattheson.
She said she intends to be posting updates of the renovations on Lloyd’s Snapchat account, “Lloyds_BnB.”
Olivia Belanger can be contacted at email@example.com