After experiencing several delays in its opening, Earth, Wok & Fire finally opened its doors in the University of Connecticut’s Student Union.
The restaurant, which was originally expected to open in August, faced several delays before it could open for students; issues in both equipment delivery and installment slowed down the process. Scott Hauver, Assistant Director of Retail Operations, said he’s excited to see the restaurant’s success in spite of the challenges they’ve faced.
“We had a construction schedule that had delays,” Hauver said. “We wanted to be open just at the start of the semester, at the end of August, and that got pushed back one or two times, but we did get open and we’re excited to be open.”
After a successful opening week, they’ve already begun to reflect upon the establishment’s strengths and weaknesses to gauge what students want from it. Hauver feels the quality of food they provide will be critical to Earth, Wok & Fire’s success regardless of a meal being custom-made or from the express menu.
“I think what is most appealing is that you get high-quality food on both sides, whether it’s the create-your-own or the express,” Hauver said. “The difference is that now we can provide the kind of service, depending on what the individual customer’s needs are, so all-in-all, we’ve seen more customers through the express side with limited offerings than we do on the build-your-own.”
Hauver recognizes that students are bound to draw comparisons to Panda Express, the restaurant that previously inhabited Earth, Wok & Fire’s location. Despite this challenge, he’s confident that it will live up to expectations.
“If that [Panda Express] is what you like, we have something like it available for you,” Hauver said. “We only have the two main entrées and then a special as well, so it’s not the same amount of variety that Panda had; conversely, if you like the variety, go right over here and you can get it any way you want it … If they have that as a reference, I think we’re that plus in terms of quality and what we can offer them.”
Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.