Students expand SOM lunch options

A growing number of restaurants are delivering meals to the School of Management as an alternative to the food carts that line Prospect Street.
A growing number of restaurants are delivering meals to the School of Management as an alternative to the food carts that line Prospect Street. Photo by Sam Pogosov.

A growing number of restaurants are delivering meals to the School of Management as an alternative to the food carts that line Prospect Street.

Donaldson Commons, SOM’s student center, closed its cafeteria for budgetary reasons in 2010, and students will remain without their own dining hall until the new SOM campus opens in 2013. To compensate for the shortage of dining options, Sam Pogosov SOM ’12 and Jennifer Mancke SOM ’12 coordinated with local restaurants last summer and finalized plans with administrators early this fall to create a website, called Falcon, where students, staff and faculty could order lunch. This semester the Little Salad Shop became the fourth restaurant to join the service, and Pogosov said student managers of SOM’s Food for Thought Café took over Falcon’s daily operations last week since Pogosov will graduate this spring.

“My first year at Yale, as a student at the School of Management, I arrived to a campus that basically had no healthy food options,” Pogosov said. “My only options were the food carts.”

Pogosov, who came up with the idea for Falcon in an SOM course last year called “The Innovator,” said he has been able to negotiate discounts with the some of the participating businesses. The four restaurants in the program are Nica’s Market, Café Romeo, Subway and the Little Salad Shop. Falcon users pay a mark-up in the price of the orders, and the profits Falcon generates are donated to the SOM Internship Fund, an initiative that provides SOM students with money to pursue summer internships with non-profit, public or social enterprise organizations.

Pogosov said Falcon receives roughly 20 to 30 orders per day and has donated roughly $500 to the Fund, which raised approximately $275,000 in total last year. Pogosov said if the program can successfully publicize the service among members of the SOM community, he thinks it could potentially raise over $100 per day for the Internship Fund. He added that there are no immediate plans to ask other restaurants to join the service.

Etkin Tekin ’12, chief operating officer of the Little Salad Shop, said the eatery intends to help advertise the service at SOM. Though Pogosov said there are currently no immediate plans to expand to other parts of the Yale community, he said he hopes the program will expand to neighboring schools in future years.

Tekin said he thinks there is would be demand for the service across Yale if the program were to expand.

“Being at the [Little Salad Shop] all the time, I’ve spoken with law students and Drama School students and even people at the med school,” Tekin said. “They’ve heard of the Falcon program and they’ve shown interest in having the opportunity on their campuses as well.”

Four SOM students interviewed said the program was particularly suitable for the school since there are few convenient dining options near SOM.

Carlee Lemky SOM ’13, who said she orders salads through Falcon once or twice a week, said the program is more accommodating to dietary restrictions than other options currently available to SOM students.

“I know there’s a lot of people at SOM that are not interested in eating from carts for health reasons,” she said. “The quality of the food isn’t high, as delicious as it can be.”

Samik Basu SOM ’12 said many students attend talks or other meetings during lunch, which he said makes Falcon’s delivery service especially appealing. He normally orders a sandwich from either Subway or Café Romeo, he said, adding that he “probably would not” eat at either restaurant if Falcon were not available.

People who order meals through Falcon can pick up their orders at Food for Thought cafe in SOM at 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday.

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