As Miami University students ended their first morning classes of the semester on Aug. 28, Armstrong Student Center filled with hungry students looking to grab lunch.
First-years’ eyes were drawn toward the familiar name of Panera Bread, the newest addition in Aramark’s changes to Miami’s dining.
Panera’s location on the first floor of Armstrong, right next to the dining room, plus its recognizable brand ensured Elisabeth Davidson, a psychology major, would eat at the restaurant.
“I got overwhelmed, but I was looking at everything, and Panera was big and bright, and I knew it was new so it couldn’t be that bad,” Davidson said.
Davidson has a Panera in her hometown of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, but doesn’t eat there normally. She wants to try other places on campus, but this was a good option for her first day of classes.
Davidson came with her friends, and they waited in line, which they said wasn’t bad when they were there. The turkey BLT and the broccoli cheddar soup Davidson ordered took around 45 minutes, but her friends’ orders took longer. However, Davidson wasn’t worried about the wait because she didn’t have class until 1 p.m. and got her food around noon.
Wait times got longer during the lunch rush for Panera. At one point, Grubhub reported a wait time of 81 minutes.
Andrew Cook, a sophomore history major, would have ordered online before getting to Armstrong to beat these times, but he didn’t want to use his phone in class. He paid for this decision with time, waiting more than an hour for his steak and white cheddar sandwich paired with tomato soup.
Still, Cook seemed happy with the experience and the atmosphere of the new location, even though he doesn’t typically eat at the chain.
“The wait’s a little bit long, but I think the food’s going to be worth it because Panera’s pretty good,” Cook said.
Some older students remembered what stood in Armstrong before Panera: an original bagel shop called Toasted Bagel.
Some seniors mourned the restaurant while reluctantly settling for this new chain.
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“I miss Toasted Bagel when it was here,” Sabrina Burrows, a senior psychology major, said. “I wanted a sandwich, but I feel like there’s not a lot of good sandwich places.”
This early in the semester, it’s too soon to tell whether wait times will decrease or if the newest chain on campus justifies the loss of its predecessor.