Indiana University Northwest students, faculty, and staff are in for a delicious change come the fall semester. Their café just got a makeover, both cafes in fact. The RedHawk Café and Little RedHawk Café closed during the summer to undergo special renovations.
“We had found out that IUN was looking for a new food service provider back in 2014,” Joshua Patrick, Director of Marketing and Special Events for Progressive Dining Group said. “And since we have so many restaurants and such a diverse lineup of food offerings under our umbrella, we felt that we would be a good fit for the university.”
Patrick and his colleagues compiled a proposal for IUN and put in their bid. It was a short process that brought things to a close, and the renovation of the cafes to fruition. Progressive Dining Group was able to transform both cafes and give them both food court-like atmospheres.
“We thought that Progressive Dining Group fit better with our campus community,” Kathy Malone, IUN Executive Assistant to the Chancellor said. “Our students want a variety of items to choose from and since they have a variety of businesses in the area we thought it was a win-win for everyone. We get to support a local company and the food served at these restaurants can come here to us.”
So Progressive Dining Group came in and shadowed the existing food provider at the cafes. They met the staff and became acclimated with the campus, and then began the process of getting the management team together and hiring staff for the cafes.
“The process happened very quickly. We retained about half of the original staff who worked with the previous food provider and hired around 15 more people,” Patrick said. “We got menus together, got our branding together and adjusted our catering menu to incorporate hybrid items from the previous catering menu that everyone has been used to for the last nine years. This way there will be new things from us and some familiar things that people remember. The transition isn’t so stark that way.”
Familiar food establishments of Progressive Dining Group can be found at the RedHawk and Little RedHawk. Jelly Pancake House will be providing breakfast and lunch favorites, Ole Mexican Grill will serve delicious south of the boarder fare, Gourmet Pizza is serving up only the best pies, and the Bullpen will provide its great food. Other convenient items will be available for purchase like fresh fruit, coffee, tea, water, soda, snacks, cereal, and more.
The RedHawk Cafe reopened with the new offerings on July 7, 2015. The Little RedHawk Cafe, which will be serving up great eats from Jelly Pancake House, is still undergoing work but will be open very shortly.
"The reactions of the students, faculty, and staff has been great," Patrick said. "We give special discounts to police officers because of all the good they do for the region, and we give discounts to IUN students, faculty, and staff at all of our restaurants in the area."
Malone echoed Patrick's thought be saying, "We are very happy with the results. I've been asking around to get people's candid reactions and I'm hearing so many good things. We have a reputation for good food service at IUN, and we're excited that this will be a continuation of that good standing reputation. And when the students come back in the fall they will definitely be surprised and happy with what they find in our new food service providers."