Familiar faces are now a phone call away
Students living in A&T residence halls have made friends with men from two local restaurants over the pizza and egg rolls that became staples of their diets.For the past three years Karl Lovette from Domino’s and Andy Chen from Grand China made it their goal to provide friendly, quality food service by making unsolicited deliveries to the dorms. When they arrived, the residence hall staff would announce that residents could come to the lobby to buy their food. But this service ended earlier this fall, as a result of complaints from another restaurant and concerns that the food sales violated a contract the university has with its food service provider. Lovette, the unit manager of the Domino’s at 948 E. Bessemer Ave., was responsible for the Domino’s deliveries. He would sell one-topping pizzas at the dorms for $5.”I have been working for Domino’s for 17 years. I first started this practice in Detroit, when I would make runs to Wayne State and Detroit College,” said Lovette. “I moved to Greensboro in 1993, and I started doing the same thing here at A&T. Everybody wins: We sell the pizzas, and the students save money.” Students like Sharonda Eggleton often benefited from Domino’s deliveries. “I like Domino’s because it was cheap, and a change from the same old café food,” Eggleton said. The students were not the only ones who appreciated the pizzas. “Karl is really a nice guy,” said Scott B Hall director Thomas Hastye. “For instance, if he brought 10 pizzas to sell to the students, then he would always bring some extra free ones for the staff to eat.” Grand China is a family-owned business that has catered to A&T students since opening on 1457 E. Cone Blvd. three years ago. Grand China’s deliveries included meals ranging from sesame chicken and egg rolls, to shrimp fried rice and chicken wings.”We offer a lot of things on our student discount menus, and we realize that many people don’t have cars,” Chen said. “I get to know people when they first get here as a freshman, and we become and stay friends as the years go by.”Brian Holder, a sophomore from Barbados, knows first-hand how nice Chen can be. “Last year I was hungry, and the store was closed. Andy realized that I was new. I was not from around here, and I did not have a way of getting around town. “He drove me to McDonald’s so I wouldn’t be hungry anymore,” Holder said. “That was really nice of him; he went out of his way to do something that he didn’t have to do.” But the random deliveries that made Domino’s and Grand China so popular with students do not exist anymore.In a Sept. 14 memo, Todd Johnson, director of auxiliary services, explained that vendors are no longer able to bring food to A&T unannounced, because it was a violation to the university’s solicitation policy. “We received complaints from other vendors,” Johnson said, “because Domino’s was monopolizing the student consumer market.” He added, “The solicitation policy states that since we have a contract with Sodexho Marriott, that no other vendor can sell food on campus without being called upon by phone.” Sodexho Marriott has the contract for food services at the cafeteria and the student union.The action was prompted by Ali Bib, an A&T alumnus managing Golden Pizza on 2278 Golden Gate Drive who believed that Domino’s and Grand China were using unfair business practices. “I don’t want to hurt anybody, but everybody has to follow A&T policy. If they don’t, they have to be stopped,” Bib said. One of the major principles in the business world is the law of supply and demand. Domino’s and Grand China were the first in this area to meet the demand and target their service to A&T. “I hope we can start making random deliveries again. We were helping the students and ourselves at the same time,” Lovette said.