Reduced hours leave students hungry for options


Bobby Bishop

Students in the cafeteria enjoying food and friends near the Rio Bistro.

Scott Redmond, Staff Writer

The dining area at any campus tends to be a gathering place as students not only come to study and hang out with friends, but also try to sneak in  a few moments to get a bite to eat to keep them going throughout the day.

Over the last year, students have had to face numerous changes to the hours of the establishments that provide food at Cosumnes River College.

The Rio Bistro Cafe’s hours have changed so that it does not open till 11 a.m. and The Raging Burrito, one of the food stations within the cafe, closed last semester. Another change is that now Java City is closing at 1:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. on Fridays.

The majority of students interviewed were unaware that the hours had changed, while others had thoughts about  what adjustments their fellow students will end up making.

“It definitely increases activity for restaurants around here, so that would be good for them I guess,” said Ricky Rivera, 21, an undeclared major. “But it’s still pretty inconvenient and more expensive, so it is pretty bad for students that can’t afford to eat out every day.”

Omar Gutierrez, 18, a business major, agreed and said that off campus might be a choice for students.

“They might bring their food [from home] or choose alternatives [and] go somewhere else to buy food,” Gutierrez said.

While the main cafeteria, where breakfast and lunch are served, might not be open to the public until 11 a.m., students and faculty still have the option to purchase the same breakfast foods from the cafeteria through Java City. After filling out a small piece of paper, their order is relayed to the kitchen through a window that connects the two establishments.

It’s a change, but students are still able to obtain the same food just in a different manner.

Rivera and Gutierrez both said that the changes were likely made to save money. Computer science major Max Romero, 20, said that the economy overall was likely a reason.

“They probably were thinking ahead about how the economy’s probably going to take a downturn for the worst,” Romero said. “Maybe it’s downsizing, for monetary reasons.”

They weren’t far off as Vice President of Administrative Services and Student Support Cory Wathen said declining sales played a part in the changes.

“Changes in service levels are determined based on an evaluation of demand,” Wathen said.

“The reduction in hours was a result of cost saving measures necessitated by declines in sales due to partly from declining enrollment over the last five years,” Wathen said.

“Customer counts were evaluated by the hour in order to reduce hours at times with the least impact on customers,” he said

Wathen added that the rise in minimum wage did not play into the change of hours, as the service hours were adjusted prior to the change in minimum wage. He said that as enrollment increases in the future, additional hours may be added.

As for the closure of Raging Burrito, Wathen said that budget and lack of customers both played into the closure.

“Each food station requires extra product costs and staff to prep and serve the food,” Wathen said. “The higher the sales volume, the more stations can be supported. As sales declined, the stations were evaluated and the Raging Burrito concept was eliminated because it had the least amount of sales.”