In January 2010 a new and exciting ground floor catering facility will open that will deliver improvements to all catering users from students to academics, general staff and visitors.
As many of you will be aware, Estates have recently relocated to the South Wing. What you may not know though is that the reason for this is to allow work to begin on this extensive project.
The project was initiated with a number of objectives:
To create an accessible catering offer for staff, students and visitors to the University
To replace the current 6th floor catering offer within Café Lago
To increase catering capacity space to 250
To provide a wider choice of dining options to suit the variety of tastes within the University’s consumer markets
To create a flexible social dining space for Aston’s different markets.
A fresh perspective
The innovative concept brings an extensive choice of eateries to satisfy different tastes and budgets. For those in a hurry, there will be an express area that will offer a selection of grab and go salads, baked potatoes, wraps and sandwiches. The health counter will cater for the more diet conscious diner. A selection of premium counters will include cuisine from across the globe as well as a traditional counter serving everything from a full English breakfast to an assortment of British lunchtime dishes. Incorporated within the design will be the facility for “live cooking” areas that will enable you to watch your lunch order being cooked by a chef, right in front of you.
Alongside these fantastic food concepts, will be a premium Costa Coffee lounge where you can grab your early morning Latte or relax during the day with visitors to the campus. A traditional fresh ground coffee counter will also be available and for those who want to grab and go, the express coffee counter will provide you with exceptional choice when time is limited.
The design will maximise dining capacity and social space. We will encourage greater use of the facility from a wider selection of the University population.
The consultation process
The full design concept is now complete. The first stage of the consultation process involved the Aston Students’ Guild President and Vice President (representing the student body) plus 17 representatives from across the different Schools and departments who have been instrumental in ensuring this project meets needs and expectations. A huge thank you goes to those who have supported the project with their valuable input.
Some of the points we’ve incorporated include a request for a premium coffee brand through Costa and a revamp to the catering website to ensure communication is relevant and effective. As part of this feedback, we are currently developing the catering website which will include a Catering blog for your views and feedback on the new project and the sort of information you’d like to see communicated within the new facility. We will be announcing the launch of this through Aspects within the next month. The next consultation takes place on 15th October where we will be involving the new student intake alongside the existing representatives to discuss the service offering and menu choices.
Aspects will be providing regular updates so keep your eyes open for the launch of the naming competition in October which will invite staff and students from across the University to put their ideas forward on what they think the new facility should be called. The prize for the winning entry will be FREE coffee for a year courtesy of the new Costa Coffee bar on the ground floor.
Mood boards and floor plans of the new facilities will be displayed shortly in Café Lago and in the vicinity of the new area on the ground floor to help you get an even clearer idea of the future of catering at Aston University.
Words by Fiona Foster