Drop in Drag restaurant sales over break suggests heavy student reliance on eating out

Christina Breitbeil

The strip of restaurants lining Guadalupe next to the University, commonly known as “The Drag,” experiences significant drops in sales over spring, summer and winter breaks, according to several store managers.

Virginia Navarate, general manager of Qdoba Mexican Grill on 24th Street off Guadalupe, said the store experiences about a 60 percent drop in sales during breaks because of the diminished foot traffic.

“We change up the [operating] times, so when usually we open at 10 a.m. and close at 3 a.m., we operate [during breaks] from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.,” Navarate said. “We do everything else the same because we must expect it may be busy, but it never is. It’s kind of like a break for the store, too.”

Which Wich general manager Francisco Orozco said the store has an average of 40-45 percent drop in sales during breaks. Chipotle general manager Breck McBride said the store has about a 50 percent drop in sales, and Campus Candy general manager Dan Morales said the store has a 25 percent drop in sales during summer break and a 70 percent drop in sales during winter break.

Morales also said the drop in sales demonstrates the extent to which students at UT rely on eating out, specifically at restaurants on The Drag.

“I don’t see it as a big issue, though,” Morales said. “We push about 30,000 students a week through those doors, [so] we make plenty. The fact of the matter is that probably [most] of what students eat is purchased [on The Drag]. If The Drag wasn’t here, UT wouldn’t be the campus that it is.”

Steve Salazar, general manager of Tyler’s, a store selling clothing and other merchandise, said he does not see a significant drop in sales for the store during breaks.

“I would imagine people come here because they know what they want,” Salazar said. “It’s not like that with food, per se. We have a lot of out-of-towners, because they want more local things.”