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Spoke fights 'stank'
By Chris Lackner
The Wave and The Spoke are looking towards the future in the wake of Wednesday night's introduction of the 2002/2003 University Students' Council budget.
The Spoke is budgeted to finish the next fiscal year with a net profit of $215,000 an increase of approximately $65,000 from projections for the current fiscal year.
Mark Sellars, USC general manger, said capital expenses would be put into The Spoke in order to upgrade some of the restaurant's interior.
It will also focus on improving the efficiency and diversity of its food services, said Dan Smith, USC manager of campus bars, noting the process may involve a minimal increase in food cost.
"We haven't had a [real] increase in the price of food at The Spoke in years," Smith said. "The cost of goods has become much higher. The minimum cost [may have to be] passed on to students."
The Spoke is considering restructuring the physical layout of its food service area in order to allow for two to three cashiers and a cooking set up designed for fast food-style efficiency.
"[This year] we fixed The Wave, now it's The Spoke's turn. [Next year's] numbers are a bit aggressive, but the management success of The Wave can be translated to The Spoke," Sellars said.
"Regular people are going to come to The Spoke whether they fix it or not," said Andrea Nichols, a second-year sociology student.
When told of The Spoke's plans to do some refurbishing, second-year computer science student Eric Gorsky seemed unimpressed. "You can't get rid of the stank the stank is good," he explained. "It's always better to increase efficiency."
The Spoke is also currently analysing its competitors to determine pricing for alcohol sales, Smith said. "We [won't be] stacking another buck on beer prices maybe 25 cents."
Smith said capital expenditures would also allow The Spoke to make their patio more smoker friendly, with the possible addition of heaters, ashtrays and fencing.
The Wave cut down its projected losses from $104,000 in 2000/2001 to $51,024 in 2001/2002. "If not a fiscal success, [The Wave has been] a management success," Sellars said.
"The problem with The Wave has always been occupancy cost," he said, noting high utility costs and unionized labour for maintenance and cleaning have always placed a heavy burden upon the establishment. "I do believe The Wave can be profitable.
Smith said The Wave has expanded its customer base by opening up the establishment to clubs and residence groups and offering a variety of discounts and special features.