Chick-fil-A has its debut opening this past week


Nadya Makay/The Gannon Knight

Gannon University sophomore Cassie Irwin gets ready to eat her first meal at the new Chick-fil-A that has just opened on the Erie campus.

Chloe Palmiere, News Editor

The long-awaited Chick-fil-A location on Gannon University’s campus made its debut in the Waldron Campus Center Jan. 18.

The university’s Erie campus, Metz Culinary Management and Chick-fil-A announced at the end of the spring 2021 semester that they would be working together to create a new dining option on campus. It took the place of a previous dining option, Knights Cove.

Chick-fil-A’s general manager, Mary Beth Blasco, has confidence that Chick-fil-A will be much more popular than the previous spot.

“Chick-fil-A just has such a good reputation, and everyone’s been talking about it for years. We’ve already done an amazing job this past week,” Blansco said.

“What we offer is just different than Knights Cove… you can get Knight’s Cove kind of at Docs or the café. This is Chick-fil-A. I mean it has a brand to its name and people follow it, so I think it’s going to just blow Knights Cove out of the water in the long run.”

The Erie campus location was originally supposed to be ready at the start of the fall 2021 semester, but that was pushed back due to construction and issues that occurred in the staffing process.

The arrival of the fast food chain on campus has been a highly anticipated one.

“I am really glad that they have a Chick-fil-A on our campus now,” Mason Palmiere, a sophomore history major, said. “It is one of my favorite fast-food stops and I think it is more convenient to have that available to the students instead of having to drive somewhere. Especially for the students who don’t have cars available on campus.”

The new dining option allows sit-down and take-out services to students, staff and Erie community members.

The opening was highly awaited by students at the Erie campus due to the restaurant’s popularity and it being the first chain restaurant on the campus.

Katie McMillen, a sophomore physician assistant major, appreciates the accessibility to a popular food chain that the addition of the restaurant brings.

“Instead of having to Door Dash or drive off campus, we can just walk right to Waldron,” she said. “I am also just happy to have it as another food option on campus. I appreciate Gannon for making all this possible.”

Some students, however, felt like this new dining option could have been utilized in a different way and felt like they could not eat there as much due to diet restrictions.

Others mentioned that the new food outlet only takes GU Gold, debit or credit cards and cash rather than meal swipes, which most students on campus have.

“I do know some students are experiencing technical issues when using GU Gold, which can be frustrating,” said McMillen.

While GU Gold and how to actually purchase Chick-fil-A is a worry for some students, Blasco said despite the few technical issues, it will likely continue to be popular despite not taking meal swipes.

“I think that if the kids want it, they’re going to find a way to get it,” she said. “It is not always about full meals; sometimes they come in late night for a shake or just fries. I just think if they want Chick-fil-A they will find a way to get the money.”

Sophomore Claire D’Amore focused more on the diet restrictions that comes with this new dining option.

“Being a vegetarian, I am disappointed in the Chick-fil-A opening,” D’Amore said. “It does have good food. However, like the rest of the dining options we have here on campus, it is very limited on choices for various diets. It has little to no vegetarian or vegan options, and with the few options it does have, they are not substantial enough to be a meal.”

The topic of an overall healthier option was discussed around campus once Chick-fil-A officially opened.

Nicole Rich, a sophomore nursing major, said she wants dining options to focus more on nutrition and health.

“I am excited that it is on campus,” she said. “However, I would rather have a healthier option, something like a juicery or a salad place. Gannon already has a grill-styled meal option with limited options for fruits and vegetables.”

While the opening of Chick-fil-A had elicited both positive responses and some concerns, many students, like senior nursing major Muriel Very, were excited for the opening, yet understanding why some of the students were focusing on the diet restrictions and GU Gold.

“I am personally all for having Chick-fil-A on our campus; it is one of my favorites and it is exciting since the closest one is about 10 minutes away,” Very said. “But I do think that having something more vegan and or vegetarian friendly would be nice to have on campus as well and allow more students to have different options.”

While these different challenges come to the students’ mind, Blasco has been dealing with them in a different way. “The biggest challenge is definitely employees…,” Blasco said. “Training is quite easy for working with Chick-fil-A, but my biggest thing is show. This past week I had six people just not show up for their shifts… so we really need people that want to work and that we can rely on to make this a team effort.”

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