Strictly by the numbers, Crossroads’ new extended hours on Thursday and Friday nights until 2:30 a.m. have been incredibly successful. The new hours are wildly popular with students, and the late night shift is the third busiest time of day at the café, after the lunch and dinner rushes, said Crossroads General Manager and senior Hailey Anderson. And it has also been profitable for Bon Appétit.
On its first evening of extended hours, Crossroads processed 250 transactions and half of the seats in the café were occupied at any given time, Anderson said.
However, many of the students who patronize Crossroads during the extended hours are less than perfect customers and many are intoxicated, she said. Anderson has witnessed many more students than usual trying to steal pizza, which is the only station open late at night, leaving excessive amounts of trash at their tables and refusing to leave when the café closes. Students have also been fighting in the café and vandalizing artwork in the hallway outside when they do leave.
Anderson said that since the café began operating on the new trial schedule the Thursday following spring break, there have been multiple occasions when groups of intoxicated students have ignored staff who asked them to leave. At least one group demanded 20 more minutes when told to leave because the café was closing.
The final version of the ASUSF Senate resolution that created the extended hours at Crossroads required that public safety make rounds through the café once every hour and at the 2:30 a.m. closing time. However, public safety has been “very inconsistent” and did not do any rounds through the café on at least two of the nights with extended hours, according to Anderson.
Despite a huge uptick in business and the profitability of the trial, Anderson has questioned the practicality of the new hours, mostly in light of student behavior at the café and safety concerns for her staff. At one point earlier this week she thought her superiors at Bon Appétit might be ready to call off the new hours, but have so far decided to continue with the trial.
“I understand students want a place to go late at night to get food but I don’t want my employees to have to serve drunk and rowdy USF students,” she said.
Safety for workers in the café was a major concern of Crossroads management as they worked with senate on a plan to offer the extended hours. Sophomore Class Representatives Lansen Leu and Patrick Sudlow, who introduced the resolution, worked closely with Anderson and Bon Appétit General Manager Holly Winslow to ensure that Crossroads workers had a way to get home safely and installed swipe access outside of the Parina Lounge handicapped door so that all students could get into the café during its extended hours when all of the other outer doors to the University Center are locked.
Despite issues with safety and student conduct during the late night hours, the new schedule has received positive feedback from students, particularly those who live on campus and have Flexi.
Freshman Mike Needham, who said he usually gets hungry after 11:30 p.m. when Crossroads would normally close, has been to the café several times since it started offering extended hours of service. “Friday night is when I would usually go to Mel’s or order food and it is nice to be able to charge food on my Flexi instead,” he said.
Leu is happy that he was able to work to fill what he saw as a serious void on the USF campus by offering late night dining. “We just wanted to fill that demand from students who can use their Flexi to pay for food,” he said. However, he is concerned that some intoxicated students may be ruining the experience for others. “If people want it they should be respectful of the space,” he said.
Whatever the outcome of the trial period, Anderson said she doubts the extended hours will continue next year because Bon Appétit plans to convert Jamba Juice into a 24-hour café where students can get a wide variety of food.
Crossroads’ extended hours trial period is set to end the week before final exams start.