When Rollins College opened the Fox Lodge dining location, the goal was simple: Give students with an all-in-one concept—so they can get everything they need without leaving campus.
Opened in August 2021, Fox Lodge was built to provide food options for residents of the newly built Lakeside apartment complexes. But the central location, diverse offerings, and late-night hours have made it popular with students across campus. The dining hub consists of a C-store, grill, and coffee shop, all housed in one building. Operating hours are 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Students entering Fox Lodge walk in through the full-service cafe, featuring locally roasted coffee, espresso, cold brew, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches. There are also rotating seasonal offerings like cinnamon roll lattes, passion fruit boba tea, orange creamsicle lemonade, and tiramisu hot chocolate. Some order in person with the cashier, but most go the mobile app route instead. "There's a pickup area on the side, away from the walkways, which has helped with bottlenecking. People see their order on the shelf, grab it, and go," says Rollins Dining Services Marketing Coordinator Emily Baker.
Past the cafe is the C-store, a one-stop shopping destination featuring groceries along with amenities such as personal care and even pet products (some dining halls allow residents to have pets). There's locally grown produce including oranges, lettuce, and tomatoes sourced from Sysco's FreshPoint program. Bulk-style bins filled with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit allow shoppers to make their own trail mix. "We also like to bring in trendy new products, like caffeinated chocolate, vegan cheese, or Chobani's new shakes with protein. Protein is really big here," Baker says.
If a student can't find a product they're looking for, they can take put in a request via email with Fox on the Run, Rollins' custom-order service. "The manager will purchase it elsewhere and store it in the back of the C-store with the student's name. If something ends up being really popular, we'll start stocking it," Baker says. "It's what we get the most positive feedback on." Also in the works: A refillable personal care products station and an area highlighting locally made products like honey, jam, spices, and even jewelry. Most of those goods are made by Rollins students or alumni.
The back of Fox Lodge houses the grill, where students can get everything from egg skillets and breakfast power bowls, wings and chicken tenders, tacos, burgers and sandwiches, desserts, and build-your-own milk shakes. Orders can be placed (and customized) at a standing kiosk or via the mobile app, which provides easy access to ingredient lists and allergen information. The kitchen receives a ticket after the order is placed, and food is typically ready for pickup in five to ten minutes, Baker says.
The mobile ordering app also provides a delivery option. "If you place an order for delivery, we'll leave it at your door. The delivery employees have access to the dorms," says Baker. Delivery orders tend to pick up in the evening, after 9:00, but the majority of students still prefer picking up their food in person. "Last spring, we had about 60,000 orders for pickup and 16,000 for delivery," says Baker.
Some students placing pickup orders opt to eat in the spacious 1,200 square-foot lounge or by the pool, where there's ample seating. Most, though, prefer to grab their food and eat it on the go. "We tend to notice everyone is rushing around, always having someplace to go," Baker says.
Avoiding crowds and bottlenecks was a priority while designing Fox Lodge. And fortunately, Rollins got the setup right on the first try. The cafe pickup area, for instance, was modeled off of another pickup area elsewhere on campus. "The first place we put it worked out really well," Baker says.
The main challenge, instead, has been keeping the C-store well stocked. "Supply chain shortages have been the biggest issue," Baker says. "When students love something it flies off the shelves, so it's mostly been a matter of keeping up with demand."
And demand has been big. Fox Lodge has generated over $2 million in sales since launching last August, and students say they love the new dining hub and the folks who staff it. "The variety and quality is fantastic!" one student wrote. "I LOVE LOVE LOVE the food here so much. And everyone is so friendly!"