The University of Connecticut has replaced the Rec Center’s Freshens with the university-owned Mango with the aim of diversifying menu offerings.
Scott Hauver, assistant director of retail operations in the department of dining services, spoke about what catalyzed the change. Hauver cited menu limitations at Freshens as an aspect that caused them to reassess their contract.
“We wanted to be able to offer some variety of items that we were not allowed to with our existing arrangement,” Hauver said. “Specifically, some of the items we wanted to offer were more vegetarian-type items; tofu is an item that came up that we wanted to offer, and that was one of the things that prompted our decision.”
These desires for an expanded menu coincided with the nearing end of their contract, Hauver said. He stated that this factor also played a role.
“We weren’t really pursuing anything until we hit some resistance with some menu suggestions and changes, that’s what kind of put things in gear. So it coincided with the ending of the contract; the contract ended in the spring,” Hauver said.
When speaking about the changes in the menu from Freshens to Mango, Hauver assured that the menu would still contain many of the student favorites found in the Freshens menu.
“Some of the things that, you know, we’re excited about are the menu offerings,” Hauver said. “We’re going to offer sandwiches, and salads, and wraps, and grain bowls, and smoothies. You know, that’s what it was founded on, the smoothies.”
On top of these returning offers, Hauver noted that there would be additional menu options available at Mango. He feels that this will be one of the first things that students notice in the change.
“I think that they’ll also notice that not only do we have some indulgent items; for example, we have the grilled cheese and the spinach artichoke, gooey sandwiches, a buffalo chicken ranch, so some indulgent items. We also have some healthier choices with the grain bowls and with the vegetarian options, tofu for example,” Hauver said.
Hauver touched on the changes made to recipes with the switch. He feels that this menu, built and tested at the university by Rob Landolphi, culinary operations manager, and Ethan Haggerty, area manager of Mango, could be a major success.
“All the recipes are new and developed in-house by our managers for that location as well as… Rob Landolphi…We’re looking forward to it, we’re excited about it, it was a success prior in terms of its popularity and people liking it, so we think we can hit a home run with something we developed in-house,” Hauver said.