It is no question that Mississippi College students have an addiction to Chick-fil-A. They make time between classes and other obligations to flock to the nearest location and consume their weekly, sometimes daily, dose of the “Christian chicken.”
So it would be nothing short of a miracle if they could get their Chick-fil-A fix without even having to leave campus. In fact, that is exactly what Mississippi College hopes to provide for students in the near future.
Steve Stanford, the Vice President for Administration and Government Relations, assures students that MC has been working since last semester in an effort to install a Chick-fil-A in the current Hampstead’s location.
But do not count your chickens just yet. The earliest possible opening of a Chick-fil-A on campus would not be until fall 2014.
“The process brought many challenges and issues that we simply could not successfully work through in order to have the operation in place this term,” Stanford said. “There are significant requirements by Chick-fil-A that corresponds with a significant financial investment by MC.”
Transforming Hampstead’s to a Chick-fil-A involves not only remodeling the space to reflect the chicken franchise’s notable atmosphere, but also installing more cash registers and replacing kitchen appliances with specific equipment required by Chick-fil-A.
“Basically, the entire assessment and approval side of the process is in the hands of Chick-fil-A,” Standford said. He explained that even a Chick-fil-A at Mississippi College must “appear and taste just like their product at any other site.”
Even if Mississippi College were to meet the financial and remodeling requirements by next spring, which was hoped for, Chick-fil-A does not approve openings at that time of the year.
Due to the ‘Fil-A delay,’ Hampstead’s has opened its doors again for the current year. With Tuscany’s now closed and the Caf more crowd
ed, MC is looking to offer a better campus dining experience.
Mike Prince, head of Campus Dining Services, said that MC is running a different kind of Hampstead’s this semester.
A new menu has been introduced with choices that include pizzas, quesadillas, Philly steak sandwiches, as well as more “grab-n-go” items. Many of the new food options allow for faster cooking times so customers can get their meals quicker. New smoothie sizes are also being introduced to help cut down on prices for customers.
In response to the complaints of slow service at Hampstead’s, Prince explained that working with a small kitchen makes it difficult to serve food as timely as the staff would like, and he thinks the changes that are being made will make a noticeable difference in customer service.
“We would like our ticket times to be between four to five min,” Prince said.
Prince also explained that if Hampstead’s begins getting new equipment in preparation for the Chick-fil-A remodel, then the service would most likely improve as well.
While an opening of a future Chick-fil-A on MC’s campus seems almost certain for next August or September if the specific requirements can be met, Hampstead’s is still in business in the mean time. With the new changes to its menu and service, Hampstead’s may draw in more customers this year. But do not expect the staff to start replying with “My Pleasure” any time soon.
– Abbie Walker, News Editor