Students and Wilmore business owners discuss student discounts

By Hunter Miller
Contributing Writer

Every weekend, Asbury students vacate Wilmore to eat at restaurants in Nicholasville and Lexington. Would student discounts at Wilmore restaurants bring in more business? Some students agreed with Wilmore restaurant owners when they said that discounts would not make a difference, but others said that the lack of discounts was the reason for their decreased support. 

For many students, a discount would be a small step to alleviate their financial burdens. “I don’t really like to spend money on food when I have a meal plan that’s already been paid for,” said junior Abby Wells. 

However, Erin Gibson, owner of Solomon’s Porch, feels that her restaurant has a strong customer base and will not suffer from a lack of student discounts or decrease in student patronage. “I think more students might come if we offered a discount, but our prices would also have to increase to cover the discounted rates,” she said. 

Some students would increase their support of Wilmore businesses if Asbury were like other schools around the country and had the local restaurants on their meal plans. 

The University of Kentucky meal plan allows students to swipe their student ID like a debit card at the various campus dining locations, such as Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Starbucks and Sbarro. “If they let me swipe in for meals like they do for the University of Kentucky students in Lexington, then I would eat more frequently at Wilmore restaurants,” said senior Kirsten Joss. “I eat in Lexington more than I ever eat in Wilmore; I never eat at Wilmore restaurants.” 

Only one out of the six restaurants in Wilmore offers an Asbury University student discount. Subway offers a 10 percent discount for Asbury University students who show their ID. The owners of Tastebuds I and II, La Casa de Jose and Great Wall declined to comment.

Subway owner David Wier, when asked if Subway would increase their discount if other restaurants in Wilmore were to give student discounts, said, “A bigger discount? Remember, we are in business, not giveaway. I am against a society which is driven by entitlements.”

Subway will continue their Asbury University discount as well as their specials. “Our specials seem to impact our business more than the student discount,” he said.
In agreement, Wells said that even if Subway did not have a student discount, she would continue to go there because “it’s quick, easy, good for on-the-go food and is open later than the cafeteria.”

When faced with the question of whether or not they will offer a student discount like Subway, Gibson said, “Subway is a national chain and has good ability to offer those promotions. We do not try to compete with Subway.” 

Even though no student discounts are in the foreseeable future, a common thread that all Wilmore restaurants share is the close proximity to campus and the desire to provide students with great, affordable food. “I believe that students do respond to discounts, but I also believe that students will patronize any business if they believe that place has good service and delicious food, which is what we work hard to provide for our community,” said Gibson.