Western Illinois University will add a new dining option to its University Union Food Court during the Fall 2018 semester.
Chick-fil-A, "the home of the original chicken sandwich, will have an "express," version of its restaurant opening during mid-Fall 2018. This will replace the Sbarro at the food court, as it closed at the end of the Spring semester.
The Chick-fil-A Express and renovation of the Sbarro site is funded by a donation from Sodexo, which, along with University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS, will oversee the restaurant on the WIU campus.
"We are excited to continue to invest in Western, and to provide another food choice that our students and members of our campus and local communities have asked for," said Kay Martin, Sodexo senior vice president-universities. "Chick-fil-A is one of the largest quick-service restaurant chains in the country. It is a financially sound company that will add even greater value to the University Union and our food service offerings."
The Chick-fil-A will complement Burger King, Einstein Bros. Bagels and the One Stop Rocky Shop in the University Union Food Court.
John Biernbaum, associate vice president for student services-UHDS, said that the University's five-year contract with Sbarro is set to end this summer, which enabled Western to look at other options. Per the current agreement with Sbarro, WIU could not house another pizza-related franchise in the Union for one year.
"We looked at all of that, and we also reviewed what is currently available in our community. It is important for us to be good community partners, and to not compete with local and franchised businesses within the city of Macomb," Biernbaum added. "After much consideration, including looking at the successes of the Chick-fil-A Express venues at other public institutions in the state, we determined that this was a fiscally responsible decision for Western, and that our students and local community would be happy to see this choice added to our line-up."
Hours for the Chick-fil-A will be determined once the renovations are complete.