After The Loft’s nine months of poor profits in the smoothie and specialty drinks business, Dining Services said the key to boosting sales might be Japanese noodles.
Beginning this January Term, The Loft will still offer smoothies and coffee, but add a Japanese noodle bar as a way to attract customers. Gayle Lamb, manager of cash operations for Dining Services, said she thinks the addition will do exactly that.
The Loft is located on the third floor of the Anderson Student Center. Gayle Lamb, manager of cash operations for Dining Services, said she thinks the addition will help get students to buy. (Kayla Bengtson/TommieMedia).
“We know it will be a winner,” Lamb said.
Lamb said the idea came after she and a colleague attended a professional conference and visited a booth for Ariake U.S.A., Inc.
“They were doing samples for their Japanese noodle bar,” Lamb said. “Mona (her colleague) thought this would be perfect for up there (The Loft),” Lamb said.
Junior Adam Hooley said he thinks the location would be worth the trip up.
“I would go up to check it out. It seems like it would be a unique environment for a noodle bar,” Hooley said.
The Loft’s Japanese noodle bar will offer noodles served over a hot broth in a sugar cane bowl with fresh meats and vegetables. Customers can choose from chicken, pork and meso sauces.
Lamb said the price for the bowl of noodles depends on a couple of variables.
“The price has yet to be determined,” Lamb said. “It all depends on how exotic we decide the vegetables to be and other things.”
While the noodle bar will not take meal plans, it will accept cash, credit cards, eXpress and Flex dollars.
Lamb said she thinks the noodle bar will go ahead as planned after Dining Services brings The Loft up to health code for this type of food.
“We’ve had some restrictions with the health department that have to be approved because we’re having something hot up there without an exhaust hood system,” Lamb said.
Some students, like sophomore Jessica Danner, do not think Japanese noodles will be The Loft’s saving grace.
“I do not see the point in having a ramen soup bar when we can easily get ramen noodles at the Summit Marketplace,” Danner said.
Sophomore Luke Adams said a Japanese noodle bar is “well worth three flights of stairs” to The Loft.
“Three flights of stairs would never stop me from getting some authentic Japanese food,” Adams said.
Kayla Bengtson can be reached at Beng2004@stthomas.edu.