Western students are fighting to revive the old menu offered at the Spoke.
Last week, Akhil Khithani, a second-year science student, started a Facebook group called “Bring back Spoke Lounge bar food!” in response to concerns raised about the restaurant’s new menu.
“Alright everyone, the Man decided it would be a good idea to take away the exquisite bar food at the Spoke [...] let’s bring back what’s rightfully ours!! Our beloved Spoke is not quite right without it,” the group description reads.
“I spoke with a person in the [University Students’ Council] and she said if enough people were interested [in bringing back the old menu], she would bring up the issue at a USC meeting,” Khithani said.
According to Sacha Kumar, vice-president finance for the USC, the Spoke implemented a new menu starting this academic year. However, due to the lack of sales, the food and beverage management team decided to switch back to a version of the menu similar to previous years.
“All throughout the [second quarter], the food and beverage management team had been looking at what they were going to change the menu to,” Kumar said, adding the bar menu wasn’t selling as anticipated. “They knew they needed to change it and we were working on it […] over two months or so.”
Kumar noted the old menu was implemented to complement the Spoke’s new image as a pub. However, while the pub-style food was selling during the evening hours, it lacked popularity during the day.
“The numbers do not match up to the so-called demand we’re seeing now. People say they loved the food, but they weren’t actually buying it [...] They’re requesting the old menu [but] I already know that that wasn’t doing well.”
Kumar noted sales based on the current menu have increased as compared to the previous one: “The new one is selling […] 40 per cent more than the old one [...] Part of the increase is because of the patio but at least half of it is because of the new menu.”
While Kumar said switching back to the old menu is unlikely, he said if demand exists, it’s possible to add a few individual items back to the menu.
“If these students get more specific, and point out one or two specific items on the menu that they really liked, well then maybe we’ll bring that back [...] But we’re not going to go back to the exact same menu as before because it just wasn’t working,” he said.
“Once the group reaches 1,000 [members], I will speak with the manager,” Khithani mentioned. At press time yesterday, there were 615 members in the group.
“We can be fast, we can be cheap or we can be good. You can pick two of the three. You can’t be cheap, fast and good,” Jeff Armour, food and beverage manager for the USC said.
“If that group really takes off and if those people really say, ‘We want this,’ I am listening and we will make changes,” Armour added. “Is [the Facebook group] the voice of one person who is just creative and a couple other people? Yes. But I need some real support to change it again.”