Stirling’s Coffee House’s new ordering system is pre-order only to avoid a congregation of patrons in the store. Photo by Rob Mohr (C’21).
By Amelia Leaphart
Since August 24, Stirling’s Coffee House now offers a meal-board plan for students. As a way to diversify students’ options amid COVID regulations, students can use their Banner card for a free meal at Stirling’s off of a condensed menu as a way to diversify students’ options amid COVID regulations. Stirling’s and Tiger Bay Pub already existed as a part of Sewanee dining, so the board options are a part of the meal plan students pay for. At Stirling’s, Students can either call in or order on the Toast TakeOut app.
Rick Wright, director of Sewanee Dining, says that Stirling’s menu needed to be condensed in order to maintain social distancing among staff.
McClurg’s capacity needed to be reduced by 50 percent in order to safely distance everyone. Before the pandemic, McClurg’s capacity was just over 800. However, the 50 percent needed to be reduced further to guarantee six feet distance between seats. Now, there are less than 235 seats inside the building.
“Students have to wait in a queue [at McClurg] sometimes for 15 minutes,” Wright said.
“We wanted to make sure we were feeding the students,” remarked Wright, “I was worried there weren’t enough options, and we were missing people. I don’t want anyone to be hungry, and the University was wise and generous enough to include these in the meal plan.”
Student’s cannot sit down inside Stirling’s, and COVID protocols still apply outside.
“I see an opportunity for meal replacements in the future, when things may be back to normal. But I really don’t anticipate that. I think food service has changed and continues to change. I think we’ll see more people wanting to take food to-go and less large gatherings around food, but it’s hard to predict,” Wright says.
Wright and the dining hall staff have been talking about a to-go option for years, but it’s been difficult under normal conditions and became necessary under COVID-19.
“Nothing is like it used to be,” Rick says.