When students at Memorial University return to the St. John’s campus in the new year, they’ll be met with a new dining option in the University Centre food court.
Manchu Wok, a Canadian owned and operated Chinese food chain, was selected to take over the location vacated by Mr. Sub earlier this year. It will be the chain’s first location in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“They’re a pretty popular Asian food offering, so I think it’s going to be pretty interesting when they get to campus,” says Rex Coffin, MUN’s director of ancillary operations.
“This is another step for the refresh of food services and bringing some exciting things to campus.”
Last year, MUN welcomed Mustang Sally’s Flaming Skillet to the food court, replacing long-standing tenant Mrs. Vanelli’s.
As it turns out, the franchisee behind Manchu Wok is Niraj Shukla, who also operates Mustang Sally’s and the Dairy Queen location in the same food court.
Moreover, both Manchu and Mrs. Vanelli’s are among the 46 brands under the MTY Group.
When contacted by The Telegram, other than to confirm his involvement and a scheduled January launch, Shukla declined comment and directed The Telegram to the MTY Group. The company did not respond as of deadline on Tuesday.
Coffin notes there could be another opportunity to swap out a food vendor in 2018, but wouldn’t say which of the existing operations might disappear. In addition to the aforementioned, the other vendors in the food court are Treats, Extreme Pita and Booster Juice.
As for how MUN goes about deciding which vendors are invited, Coffin says an advisory group examines submissions based on the suitability of the concept, creativity, pricing and vendor experience, among other things.
“All around, the Manchu Wok submission scored highest amongst all of those categories.”
But they also poll students on what they crave.
“We did a food survey on campus back in April of 2016 and we had really strong participation from the campus community at that time and we had a lot of pretty diverse range of food concepts that our population was looking for,” says Coffin. “But an Asian concept, I think, might have been the top requested food concept to be added, if not among the top requests.”