Running numbers on AMU’s Marquette Place Dining

“We do about 1,500 to 1,700 people a day. It’s very busy.” Sara Maveal, kitchen chef supervisor for the Alumni Memorial Union dining hall Marquette place said. “But I think between all the stations we through it as efficiently as possible.” 

Maveal said she assesses these numbers and statistics about the Marquette Place all the time, in order to work out what is needed for the coming weeks. Maveal said she needs to be on the ball when it comes to orders to make sure everyone gets what they want.

Monday and Wednesdays are typically the busiest days, hitting over the weekly average of student orders, Maveal said. Throughout the course of a day there are rushes of students flooding in to get food at Grill 155, Erbert and Gerbert’s, Taqueria, and others.

Maveal said the work of her and her staff is nonstop on-your-toes action, especially around lunchtime. But it takes a whole team to coordinate so many meals and make sure students are fed. 

“Some of our workers are actually working in Taqueria but has been working at Erbert & Gerbert’s to help make sandwiches. So it’s nice that they have each others backs.” Maveal said.

The first rush is from 11:00-11:30 a.m., right when lunch classes get out. Twelve-1:00 p.m. is another popular time as well as 1:30-2:00 p.m.. Then right at the end of the day 5:00-5:30 p.m. there is a final rush of students coming in to get dinner. 

Maveal said in between the rushes is when orders slow, but there are still students are still trickling in.

Maya Montgomery, a first-year in the College of Health Sciences, comes to the AMU about five times a week and recognizes how busy it gets at points.

“It’s so crowded it’s ridiculous. When you come around 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. when classes get out there will be a line going all the way to the register. And I’m not going to wait around when it’s out in the hallway,” Montgomery said.  

 But Montgomery said she is delighted when she catches lunch during one of the off periods.

“The feeling [when you catch the AMU during a slow period], it’s like waking up and it’s Christmas morning. It’s refreshing. It’s like you know it’s going to be a good day when there is no one around,” Montgomery said. 

Cody Harrison, a first-year in the College of Engineering, comes to the AMU every day and was caught waiting out the storm of the rush. He said that getting meals at Marquette Place is essential to getting through the day.

“It’s my second time here today. I’m grabbing lunch and then after my class I’m fixing to come back,” Harrison said. “You find me here at around 4:30 and I’m smacking dinner. Usually I’m getting a Tappy (Ebert & Gerbert’s) or Taqueria.” 

Harrison is not alone in his choices of chow. At Erbert & Gerbert’s the Tappy is the most popular sandwich. Taqueria typically serves about 200 to 250 people a day, Maveal said. 

In the morning, Einstein Bagels, is quite busy and serves about 150-180 bacon egg and cheese sandwiches every day, Maveal said. 

“The bagels and avocado toast are way more than that [bacon egg and cheeses]. I’m pretty sure those are close to 600 people a day. They are doing a lot, they are kicking butt,” Maveal said. 

Besides the traditional options, Maveal and her team are always working to come up with new, innovative ideas to spice things up at Marquette Place. Limited time offers and vegan options are available, like the Monte Cristo burger and incogmeato chicken at Grill 155.

Maveal said to look forward to Power Bowl coming out with a punch card where the fifth bowl you get will be free. And to keep your eyes and mouths open for new limited time offers. In March, buffalo tenders will be available at Grill 155 and chicken quesadillas at Taqueria, as well as a slew of other options. 

“We all get into a huddle every day and talk about safety training. We do employee appreciation and birthdays. In March it’s Women’s History Month so we are focusing on a lot of female employees … I really want to focus on them and I think that helps them get through these rushes and the staffing issues we have. I think they all work really well together as a team,” Maveal said. 

Harrison said he is very thankful for all the workers and emphasized expressing gratitude for the staff working to keep students energized for the day.

“The workers in there are all beauties. Make sure you let them know, ‘thanks I hope you have a great day.’ They’re doing their best, they’re making your day. Think about if you don’t have the Marquette Place, what are you doing?” Harrison said. 

This story was written by Connor Baldwin. He can be reached at connor.baldwin@marquette.edu