Students returning to Fresno State have one fewer food option on campus after Chick-fil-A’s long-rumored closure became reality over summer.
Due to low sales and campus feedback gathered from a retail dining services survey conducted last year on campus, Fresno State decided not to renew its contract with the chicken sandwich franchise.
“Moving forward, it was determined to better address the needs and wants of the university community by replacing Chick-fil-A with a more in-demand food service,” said Moses Menchaca, president of Associated Students Inc.
Instead, Fresno State is planning to convert the space into an authentic Mexican food establishment.
“It was decided, in consultation with our food services advisory committee, to close that concept and utilize the space instead for a local quick serve authentic Mexican food concept,” said Debbie Astone, executive director for the university’s Auxiliary Corporation. .
However, unlike Chick-fil-A and other dining options on campus, such as Taco Bell, Subway and Panda Express, Fresno State is not planning on contracting with a franchise for the new restaurant. With those, the university operates the establishments itself and pays a royalty percentage to the franchise.
“This would be different as we would charge a base rent for the space to cover utilities, custodial, etc., plus a percentage of gross sales as a commission,” Astone said.
However, Fresno State would be open to franchising as well, under the right circumstances, she continued.
In the coming, weeks the university will be reaching out to local restaurant owners encouraging them to bid on the space.
Any prospective food vendor would have to meet certain requirements set by the university pertaining to its track record of consistent operation, ability to meet health department requirements, ability to invest in any minor remodel or tenant improvements in the University Student Union and cost-effective pricing.
The establishment would also have to maintain the ability to prepare food off campus due to the limited cooking facilities in the food court, according to Astone.
Food services hope this change will be completed midway through the fall semester, but could be pushed back by to the spring semester at the latest.