For some students this week, dinner time consisted of standing around the microwave for the four and half minutes it takes to cook Easy Mac. But for others, who discovered that the $89 meal plan rebate was burning a hole in their pocket, it was time to eat out.
Most local restaurants had a small increase in business over the past week, though it was not quite the jump some restauranteurs expected. A-1 Pizza manager Ali Yaglidere said his business increased 10 to 15 percent.
“Business is doing good,” Yaglidere said.
George Koutroumanis, the manager of Yorkside Pizzeria and Restaurant, said the effect on his business depended on the time. Lunch was about the same, with an increased amount of students replacing the workers on strike who make up many of his regular customers. He said there was an “extra-heavy dinner rush” but a slight drop off in the number of customers who come in after 10 p.m. Koutroumanis suggested that some of the people who regularly came in late spent their money at dinner instead. He said there was also a rise in the number of take-out orders.
The increase was not as significant as the last strike in 1996, Koutroumanis said. He said this was due to the increased competition for the students’ business, with numerous new restaurants having opened in the area and food carts directly across the street.
“There are the same amount of students and more than double the amount of restaurants,” Koutroumanis said.
The strike helped Koffee? directly. Owner Duncan Goodall ’95 said some teaching assistants moved their sections to his store. In addition, workers picketing on Prospect Street had come in to get out of the cold, he said. He said business was especially good for breakfast.
“In general, our business has been pretty good,” Goodall said. “I wish I had more seating space.”
Despite the low temperatures, even Ashley’s Ice Cream experienced a slight increase in business. Manager Mike Kochis said sales were not up a lot, but he had seen some increase.
But other restaurant owners said the strike had no overall effect. Karl Ryan, the manager of Atticus Bookstore and Cafe, said the week was overall “a wash.” He said Atticus felt busier but that sales this week were almost exactly the same as last year at the same time.
“I think we were sort of up one day and down the other day,” Ryan said.
Art DeMayo, the manager of Claire’s Corner Copia, agreed with Ryan. He said business was “same as always.”
Before the strike began on Monday, some had feared harm to their businesses, but Director of University Properties David Newton said no significant problems were reported. Local restaurant owners were aided by advance warning about the strike, Newton said, which gave them sufficient time to prepare. He said University Properties told its restaurants last week that the dining halls would be shut down and students would be looking elsewhere to eat.
“So my sense is that everything has gone pretty well,” Newton said.