Star Wraps replacement to be considered

    Star Wraps restaurant at Price Center may not return next year due to its failure to meet University Center Advisory Board standards, according to UCAB officials. UCAB is considering the possibility of replacing Star Wraps with an alternative restaurant that offers wraps, but in addition to other food options.

    According to Director of University Centers Gary Ratcliff, UCAB opted for a “secret shopper” system to test Star Wraps in terms of service and taste.

    UCAB Food Committee members posed as customers and rated quality of food and service.

    The reason for considering the replacement of Star Wraps is not due to failed health inspections, which are performed by the University quarterly, but is a result of the secret shopper results, which demonstrated low satisfaction with service and food quality, according to Ratcliff.

    “The feedback from students and from the secret shopper program gave us some concerns about the food offerings of Star Wraps,” Ratcliff said. “I think it’s a good time to see if there are other restaurants that might be a better fit and provide better food.”

    Star Wraps, which has been on a month-to-month lease since August 2003, was notified in late April by University Centers that outside requests for a replacement would be considered, according to Star Wraps manager Damon Woo.

    UCAB has decided to launch a “request for proposal” for restaurants interested in a lease at Price Center. The RFP consists of a formal request for tenants interested in soliciting their business at Price Center and a process of reviewing prices and menus. Star Wraps will not be denied the RFP, and has the option of applying for a request to remain in business at Price Center.

    “There’s nothing that prevents Star Wraps from being considered in the process,” Ratcliff said. “That’s always been the case so far.”

    Woo said he is considering the RFP to extend Star Wraps’ rent, but noted the difficulty in competing with other restaurants that will be applying for an RFP.

    “[Ratcliff] suggested we run for it, but it’s kind of discouraging because, based on the secret shoppers, we’re possibly being removed,” Woo said.

    In a statement, Woo said Star Wraps experienced difficulties in upgrading kitchen facilities for their business. He also said that the secret-shopper results did not fully represent the entire UCSD student body, citing an average 20-percent increase in their yearly sales.

    “Seven out of 15 shoppers gave us fairly low scores,” Woo said. “It’s discouraging to think a small number of people are determining our fate. This is not a fair representation of over 20,000 students.”

    Woo is considering altering the current Star Wraps menu to best accommodate students’ needs.

    “I have worked here over six years and really enjoy serving the students and faculty at UCSD,” Woo said. “We at Star Wraps care about what the students want.”

    Food Committee Chair and UCAB Chair-elect Jessica Kort suggested keeping what Star Wraps already offers, but adding additional food alternatives such as a wider vegetarian menu, freshly made salads, bowls and brown rice options.

    “We definitely want to keep the price down and keep it fresh and healthy,” Kort said. “The people whom we got feedback from said they appreciate something that is eclectic and fresh.”

    With the abundance of such franchise restaurants at Price Center such as Subway, Wendy’s, Panda Express and Rubio’s, UCAB members expressed the need for the presence of smaller, privately owned restaurants that provide diverse food alternatives for students.

    The Food Committee is reviewing such “mom-and-pop” businesses, they said, as possible replacements. Tacone Wraps is one option being reviewed.

    “With something like Star Wraps or Tacone Wraps, you have a happy medium,” Kort said. “They like students and they’re always looking for contributions with ideas.”

    Tacone Wraps, however, is a restaurant chain.

    Kort also noted that UCAB likes Tacone Wraps for its “bright and interesting menu” and versatility, citing the option of changing salads into wraps.

    “I think wraps would be nice,” UCAB member Max Harrington said. “The big thing for me is [for students] to buy things for lunch under five bucks.”

    The process of deciding on a possible replacement may extend into summer and a final decision into the end of fall quarter, according to Kort. At present, Star Wraps will continue to operate its business at least until the end of the quarter, according to UCAB officials.

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