While some would assume that Eastern’s campus became quiet after the departure of students for
Thanksgiving break, the Eastern Sodexo team was brewing up their newest addition to campus: Zime. Officially opening the first week of the Spring semester, students are becoming accustomed to the new and exciting addition of healthier meal options and Starbucks coffee. I spoke with Scott Lofland, the general manager for Sodexo at Eastern, about the change and how it came to be.
A few years ago, Sodexo heard that Eastern students were not too happy with the slow wait times and greasy foods that were being served at Jammin’ Java and Eagle’s Nest. Sodexo held focus groups with Eastern students and tried their best to figure out how to better suit the Eastern population. The students expressed their desire for accessible fresh and healthy food, as well as a larger assortment of beverages. Lofland and his team began doing their research into different Sodexo brands across the country and found Zime, a healthy eating option that also served Starbucks coffee. Needless to say, they decided to bring Zime to Eastern.
Zime was originally slated to open at Eastern in the Fall 2020 semester, but due to the coronavirus restrictions put in place by Governor Wolf, construction had to be delayed. Lofland stated that due to the shutdown of construction companies in Radnor Township, none of the construction permits could be approved and Sodexo was stuck at a standstill. Thankfully, the permits were approved by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, so the team was still able to get Zime in this academic year.
While students returned to see Starbucks drinks on the menu, the biggest surprise was the updated food options that Zime has to offer. Instead of the fattening chicken fingers and turkey melts that students were used to at Eagle’s Nest, Zime offers healthier (and fresher) options like pasta, rice bowls, empanadas, and flatbreads. Lofland emphasized the freshness of the food at Zime, stating that he was proud that Zime’s service was not only faster than its predecessor but better in both quality and freshness.
The student reaction to Zime so far has been generally positive. When asked about his opinion of Zime, self-described coffee lover Michael Newman said that the new menu has impressed him. “I was pleasantly surprised not only by the new look but also by the better quality of the food,” said Newman. Senior Lindsey Thompson echoed Newman, stating that “having Starbucks (drinks) is really familiar and nice”. As a student who visits Zime on a fairly regular basis, I agree with Newman and Thompson. On top of that, the line at Zime has moved quicker than the line ever did at Jammin Java, which is a huge improvement in my eyes. Zime has quickly become the new favorite food spot of Eastern students, and we are so excited to see how Zime continues to get better.