Branford Dining Hall is attempting to be like “Five Guys” — the well-known fast-food chain — by only serving burgers, fries, the salad bar and soup every other Monday for lunch.
Because Saybrook recently began making burritos to order once every two weeks, Branford decided to also try something new, said Assistant Manager of Branford and Saybrook Dining Halls Kristin Gill.
Gill said burger lunch has one purpose: to increase student happiness by doing something fun and different. Potential reduction in costs did not play a role in its inception, she said.
“Price isn’t a factor,” Gill said. “We would never do anything that would compromise quality as far as students are concerned.”
But burgers for lunch may come into conflict with the Sustainability Service Corps “Meatless Monday” campaign, which has been implemented in all 12 residential colleges to encourage sustainable eating habits.
Jonathan Edwards College Coordinator for the SSC Jonah Bader ’16 said burgers for lunch would not prevent JE students from participating in Meatless Mondays because his group only campaigns for the cause at dinner. But he added that beef is the meat that has the largest impact on the environment, so any change that increases beef consumption is not sustainable.
SSC Branford College Coordinator Tali Perelman ’17 said she would not push Branford to move burger lunch, though the college advocates for Meatless Monday throughout the day unlike JE. Meatless Mondays is an international campaign, she said, so her group does not feel too attached to that particular day of the week. She said her main goal is not to force students to follow a strict set of rules, but instead to encourage them to eat more sustainably throughout the week.
In addition, Gill said the specialty lunch will also include veggie burgers, and that the meat patties are not frozen and are similar in quality to Yale burgers.
David Brooks, who is also assistant manager of Branford and Saybrook dining halls, was pleased with how lunch went yesterday, though he added that the volume of students was not greater than that of a typical lunch.
“The students I talked to afterward seemed very pleased with it,” he said. “The burgers were very good — they’re fresh patties.”
Gill said that in response to student enthusiasm, her staff would like to experiment further in the spring by potentially creating a milkshake bar.
Master of Branford College Elizabeth Bradley said she is excited about burger lunch.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Bradley said. “Branford has not previously had anything unique to its dining room, so we’ll see how this goes.”
Ten students interviewed in Branford had mixed feelings about the new policy. Tyler Caldwell ’18, for instance, said he is against burger lunch because it limits what students can eat.
“I don’t like that they’re taking away food option diversity,” he said. “I don’t want to have to eat a burger every other Monday.”
Haleigh Larson ’18 said she had trouble finding an alternative to burgers. Other students who did want the burgers, she added, had to stand in line for extended periods of time.
“Normally you can get something on the grill like chicken, but they wouldn’t let me do that, and I don’t like hamburgers,” she said. “Because they made the burgers as kids came, people had to wait in line for over 10 minutes.”
Colleen McCormack ’17 said she enjoyed the lunch, though she added that the dining hall should try to get avocado and bacon as additional toppings.
According to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the hamburger was invented at New Haven’s Louis’ Lunch in 1900.