Because it is Northwestern’s largest alternative to eating at the caf, the Hub draws a large crowd and offers students a unique blend of entrees, appetizers, snacks and even desserts. Unlike the caf, the Hub presents students with a permanent menu of food options, rather than choices that change on a daily basis.
One of the people responsible for regulating this menu is Nedrick Price. Price has been serving as the General Manager of Campus Dining for a little over a year.
Although his duties include supervising the caf and the Common Grounds, much of his time is spent working on how the Hub operates. One of the things that Price has focused on over the past year is how to regularly improve the menu at the Hub.
“I spent all of last year looking at what menu items were selling or not selling,” Price said. “All my decisions regarding the Hub have been aimed at trying to streamline things.”
Price has helped improve the efficiency of the Hub by improving its organization and expanding the amount of space the staff has to work in.
Students may have noticed quite a few changes to the menu over the last few semesters. One such change that has caused quite a stir among the student body is the removal of smoothies from the Hub last winter.
“Part way through last semester I made the decision to move our smoothies over to the Common Grounds,” Price said. “Through continued dialogue with our students and meeting with the SGA, we found a desire to have some smoothie items still be available at the Hub.”
What Price and the campus dining team decided to do was compromise by having smoothies available at the Common Grounds but also having a limited selection of smoothies at The Hub.
“It will be a weekly special. The flavor will change every week and the recipes will be the same there as they are at the Common Grounds,” Price said.
Price thinks part of the problem last year was caused by smoothies being made in different ways in each place.
“Students really liked the ones that the Hub had been making,” Price said. “So after spring break last year, we did some retraining with our permanent staff to make sure that the smoothies we were making at the Common Grounds were the same as they had been at the Hub.”
Another change at the Hub this year is the removal of day-old baked goods. In the past, the Hub’s leftovers were available the next day to students for a discounted price.
“What I found was that we were selling more day-old stuff than fresh stuff, and as a restaurant person I want to be selling fresh stuff,” Price said. “My goal is to get it to where you want to buy fresh so that at the end of the day I don’t have to worry about what to do with day-olds.”
Students may notice a few other items that have been left off the menu. Pasta and taco salads were some of the slowest moving items on the menu last year and have been removed.
“It has allowed me to bring some new things in,” Price said.
Price said the Hub is trying out new items on the menu like cheesy garlic bread. It also is looking to begin offering an Asian dish concept by the end of the fall semester or early in the spring semester.
“As I take things away I am trying to bring new things in, which I think is something campus dining has struggled to do in the past,” Price said.
One of the most popular changes to the Hub over the last year was the addition of the burrito line.
“I like to take slower moving items off and bring some new things on,” Price said. “Last year I brought in the burrito line, and this year if I tried to take them away I’d be run off campus.”
Price likes change, and there has been plenty of it at the Hub since he took over. Many of these have become fan favorites among the NW student body, and Price promises that there are more changes in store at The Hub coming later this semester.