UCLA sees success with destination dining

ucla dining

Originally hitting 2,000 meal swipes per day when it first opened at the start of 2017, The Study at Hedrick, located within the University of California at Los Angeles campus, is now achieving around 4,500 to 5,000 swipes—even though it’s located at the very edge of the campus.

“It’s an effort to come to this location, and what we’re seeing is that [students] are making the effort,” says Al Ferrone, senior director of dining. “This particular unit has really taken off.”

Students’ affinity for The Study could be due to the fact that it touches on a number of trends in college and university dining. A mixed-use space, The Study at Hedrick features a variety of private study and lounging areas, accompanied by dining options centered on customizable dishes as well as a variety of premade to-go meals. Here’s an inside look.

 

1. Suited for studying

ucla seating

At 4,200 square feet, The Study has plenty of room for students to spread out and take advantage of amenities such as lounge seating around a fireplace, private rooms and communal tables, as well as a blue-light room to encourage quiet, focused studying. Along with plenty of outlets, most areas include a dedicated space to place a meal while working. “It’s all different features designed to make people feel comfortable while they study,” Ferrone says.

 

2. Functional food

ucla food line

Ferrone says The Study’s meals are also designed for a work-focused environment. The dining team turned to a Northern European theme centered on customizable offerings that are easy to transport and eat. In the morning, students can create their own bagel breakfast sandwich or skillet, while afternoon and evening offerings include DIY pizza, salads and sandwiches. Made-to-order Belgian waffles, crepes, soups and tartines are also available, along with a selection of premade salads and sandwiches. The space also includes a cafe with kombucha on tap, nitro coffee and fresh pastries.

3. A model for the future

ucla dining room

With the high number of orders coming through, as well as the variety of customized dishes, service isn’t quite as speedy as Ferrone would like at this point. His team is currently looking into kiosk ordering to help alleviate any backlog. Due to the success of The Study at Hedrick, the UCLA team plans to use it as a model for similar mixed-use environments around campus. “I think that the students really enjoy the fact that they have a variety of food all throughout our nine outlets,” Ferrone says. “This is another choice they have that I think they really appreciate, and the numbers are showing it.”

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