Changes to lunch times affect local eateries

The+menu+at+Angelos%2C+the+restaurant+nearest+to+RBHS.+Photo+by+Morgan+Berk.+

The menu at Angelo’s, the restaurant nearest to RBHS. Photo by Morgan Berk.

Harsh Singh

The menu at Angelo's, the restaurant nearest to RBHS. Photo by Morgan Berk.
The menu at Angelo’s, the restaurant nearest to RBHS. Photo by Morgan Berk.

Including passing periods, juniors and seniors have 74 minutes for lunch. Last year all students had 37 minutes. The 37 minute difference allows upperclassmen to drive downtown, find parking and grab a burrito from Chipotle.

Businesses, as close as Angelo’s and as far Chipotle, have profited from the change in the lunch schedule. The longer duration allows students to explore more meal options, including those outside of the area immediately around the school.

Junior Jared Richardson said he often went to restaurants like Shakespeare’s South or Angelo’s to eat last year to allow ample travel time. This year, his options have changed.

“I really like the hour long lunches this year,” Richardson said. “It got repetitive last year on what I ate, but this year there is almost too much time for lunch.”

The longer lunch periods haven’t only affected the people inside the building but also the places surrounding the school. The restaurants near the school have noticed a strong influence on their business, caused by the prolonged lunch for juniors and seniors. Courtney Riemer, manager of Sonic on 701 E. Nifong Blvd, said she noticed more students during lunch.

“During the whole hour, our drive-throughs are full of students,” Riemer said. “Last year it wasn’t this busy because there was only 30 minutes [for lunch].”

However, not all restaurants have noticed an increase in their profits.

Angelo Skyvalidas, manager of Angelo’s Restaurant, noticed a decrease in the amount of customers from last year.

“There was two lunch periods last year, but there is one this year,” Skyvalidas said. “The lunch periods are also longer this year so people go to other places.”

Richardson was among the students, last year, who went to Angelo’s for lunch. He said the only reason he went to Angelo’s last year was because of the limited time during lunch. This year, Richardson has time to go to places like Sonic or Taco Bell.

“Last year I went to Angelo’s sometimes because we only had about 30 minutes,” Richardson said. “However, this year I have an hour so I have much more options of lunch to choose from.”

The longer time for lunch also gave students the choice of going home to eat. Junior Rohit Rao often goes to have lunch at home with more time. He believes going home to eat is comfortable and saves money.

“It’s cheaper for me to eat at home instead of going out to eat every day,” Rao said.

The increase in lunch time isn’t the only factor lowering the number of RBHS students going to certain restaurants. Mickey Winingar, manager of the Subway located on 1201 Grindstone Pkwy, noticed less food sold to students during lunch than last year.

“Actually there are less students during lunch this year,” Winingar said. “Because only juniors and seniors can go out to eat, fewer students come here.

With open campus lunch for sophomores last year, they had the opportunity to go out to eat. Richardson said, last year, he sometimes went to further places for lunch.

“Even as a sophomore last year, I could go to places like Subway or Sonic sometimes,” Richardson said. “But this year only juniors and seniors can go so I am not surprised that some restaurants have lost customers.”

Restaurants near RBHS have noticed an increase in their daily profits while some have noticed a decrease. There are a few restaurants where the managers believe the daily earnings remained constant in comparison with last year. Salah Bedaida, manager of Panera on 3709 S. Providence Rd, said there is no change in the amount of RBHS students visiting his restaurant. Bedaida said he sees about the same amount of students coming in during their lunch periods as last year.

Senior Maaz Muhamad said he has less restraints during lunch compared to last year. He believes that even though lunch is prolonged, he will still go to restaurants near RBHS, like Shakespeare’s, because he thinks their food is better than many restaurants   .

“Just because a restaurant is far away doesn’t mean it has better food,” Muhamad said. “The places near Rock Bridge have great food so I can just go there.”

By Harsh Singh