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Innovative plans to draw crowds to Upper Usdan

By Polina Potochevska

Section: Features

March 17, 2017

Cathleen Jordan is the retail manager for Upper Usdan and in charge of making Upper Usdan run smoothly. Relatively new to the position, she has been working as manager since last October. Her job is to make sure that students want to eat there. She explained that she “tries to create special and exciting events and promotions” such as free sample tables to increase interest and traffic. She said more sampling tables will be coming up this semester, including one for Italian ice. In addition, she hopes to grow the retail offerings and snacks available for purchase in the kiosk in the middle of Upper. “I want to make sure that students are happy!” she said.

Because she has not held the position of retail manager for very long, Jordan’s goals for the semester are to “watch the flow” of the space to see how it runs on an everyday basis and also to introduce new products to students and staff. A goal she has is to look for “what we don’t have that people want,” especially for students with dietary restrictions so that they can also enjoy what Upper has to offer.

Jordan has a degree in English, but is very excited to be holding her position at Brandeis. She said the team of other staff members make it “fun to come to work every day,” and that college campuses have a lot of energy. She has worked at a college before, and while it may seem a little counterintuitive since students are often so busy with work, she enjoys that Brandeis “students are unafraid to open dialogue” and bring energy into the space.

After the winter break, some of the Upper locations were rearranged, including the shift of Louis’ Deli to where the sushi bar was, the introduction of Dunkin Donuts and the replacement of the pho booth with sushi. Jordan is very excited about the changes to Upper, and said, “Dunkin is really busy, people love its new location.” She noticed an increase in traffic to Upper and said that Louis’ now has more accessibility.

The weekly specials at Louis’ is a new idea this semester that the team is trying, and will continue into next month if proven successful. Ultimately, Jordan said that she “loves the changes and growth” and that it “helps us offer more and do our jobs even better.”

Jordan realizes that because students need to buy meal plans, they can be very unsatisfied with their options, but said that Brandeis students may want to know that the staff working with Sodexo really do “try to keep it exciting,” and that “the [management] team loves being here.” All of the managers enjoy their jobs, and Jordan reiterated that she and the rest of the team “want to be accessible for any issues [that students have], and we want to resolve them.”

Jordan is truly passionate as the retail manager for Upper and is hoping to increase its popularity and efficiency even more than before. Her favorite meal that she has almost every day is “a bowl of rice and chicken from Curritos,” or a cheeseburger in Lower Usdan, because “they’re always fresh and cooked in small batches.” Not only does she enjoy the food, but she is a positive, energetic member of the team and looks forward to working with them every day, and working on improving the food quality and variety in Upper Usdan.

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