September 26, 2012 – Two weeks ago, Fort Valley State University management student Travis Brown raced across campus, hoping to catch the late call for dinner. Instead he bumped into some friends and got derailed.
“It was getting late, and they told me they had just come from something called Upscale Wednesday in the Georgia Room. They suggested I check it out,” Brown recalled. “They said since I had a meal plan it would only cost me $5 in Wildcat Cash.”
So Brown headed to the Georgia Room where he was greeted at the door, sat at a well-dressed table and given a menu.
“It was great,” Brown said. “It was really upscale, like one of the better restaurants. The lights were soft and the music was nice. I ordered the rib eye steak with steamed broccoli.”
The following week Brown was back again. This time he accompanied his friends.
“I decided to try the baby back ribs,” he said, noting that the menu also included grilled salmon and chicken with shrimp entrees. “This is really a great idea. This gives students a feeling of maturity and it’s a break from our routine dining. Since it is already Dress-for-Success Wednesday at Fort Valley State, we don’t really have to change clothes to go upscale.”
Each week from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Georgia Room is transformed to offer upscale dining to students, faculty, staff and community members. Gentle music fills the atmosphere and tables are set for fine dining. Enjoying Upscale Wednesday comes at a cost of $13. However, students who are on a meal plan need only pay $5, which they can pay with Wildcat Cash.
“Students always ask for variety,” said Andre Burgess, operations manager, SodexoDining Services. “In every survey, that’s always requested. There’s not a sit-down diner or an upscale restaurant they can go to in Fort Valley. Whenever I go out to eat, I always see students in Warner Robins. I wanted to offer them something comparable or better right here on their own campus. Upscale Wednesday is now a regular option for our customers. Some students are here for four years and have never walked into the Georgia Room. This helps to change that.”
Burgess said students also requested more opportunities for employment on campus.
“We’ll have at least 10 students working here every Wednesday and they are developing the skills I can use in other catered events,” he said.
“In the kitchen, Upscale Wednesday will offer chefs the opportunity to show their stuff,” said Sodexo’s Executive Chef Justin Gillette.
“All the food we purchase at FVSU is top-tier quality, but for Upscale Wednesday we take it to another level,” Gillette said. “The salmon comes in fresh, we clean it and filet it. Vegetables are organic. We use local broccoli and asparagus. I have been given full flexibility. The first few weeks of Upscale Wednesday will be a pretty basic menu, but after that, it’s going to get crazy. The team we have here, we all have hotel, restaurant and cruise line backgrounds. We’re looking forward to duck, veal and sea bass. We’re going to have fun with this. Everyone is enthusiastic.”
“The Georgia Room is a place on campus, [where] you can bring a date,” Gillette added. “Nothing is fried; everything is grilled. We’re taking a healthier twist along with good dining. You better make reservations once things start popping.”
For more information about Upscale Wednesdays or Sodexo, please contact Burgess firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roger Barnes, writer
Marketing and Communications
(478) 827-3110, email@example.com