Widgets Magazine

Ike’s Place to close, R&DE outlet to replace it

NICK SALAZAR/The Stanford Daily

NICK SALAZAR/The Stanford Daily

Ike’s Place, the popular sandwich eatery located in the Huang Engineering Center, will leave campus at the end of this academic year at the expiration of its current contract.

Ike’s will be replaced in the Forbes Family Café space by a food outlet operated by Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE). The new outlet, whose format has yet to be finalized, will open on September 2, 2014.

A committee of students and staff from the Engineering Quad voted unanimously in favor of R&DE’s proposal, reaching their decision following the assessment of competing proposals against criteria like the potential partner’s commitment to green practices and the conclusion of a survey of Engineering Quad community members.

Engineering Quad community members surveyed identified their priorities for Ike’s replacement as the quality of food, value for money, convenience and the availability of healthy options and varied or seasonal offerings. Those surveyed supported food prices between $5.00 and $7.50 and wait times of less than 10 minutes.

Students protested against the plan on Saturday afternoon in White Plaza, with some in attendance suggesting that the establishment of another R&DE outlet on campus would create an uneven playing field for interested outside vendors.

Ike’s will remain open through Commencement Sunday — June 15.


Contact Marshall Watkins at mtwatkins ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

About Marshall Watkins

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.
  • Andrew T Aude

    This is just sad. The University is out of touch.

  • Ike’s fan

    In what world does it make sense to close a place because it’s too popular and replace it with a format “yet to be finalized” — i.e., unknown? If the wait was a problem for people they simply wouldn’t go to Ike’s, there are many options nearby. If R&DE really needs another restaurant, they should replace the small Coupa in Huang that is unpopular and about a thousand feet away from a larger, full service Coupa. Let that compete with Ike’s and see if the lower price point and shorter wait sways people rather than taking Ike’s out in favor of an unknown future restaurant. Typical bureaucratic garbage from the university, dressed up as a unanimous vote by “students” (How many? Who asked them to represent the student body?) likely pressured into agreement.

  • Tom Colvin

    Who are the “Engineering Quad” committee members?

    Ikes is expensive, yet it’s popular, so the public appears to demand it. The wait is trivial if you order ahead. Ike’s isn’t healthy, but neither is a lot of R&DE food. I rarely eat Ike’s, but this is obviously a stupid decision. In an odd way, Ike’s has actually become a campus institution. Stanford is really starting to piss me off with their bogus food-related policies (like kicking the all-profits-go-to-orphanages-in-vietnam asian-buffet food truck off of campus). Grrr.

  • Everyone at Stanford

    what kind of students would vote for this

  • I like Ike’s

    The survey was a sham at best.. Did not even have an option to choose “I would like to keep Ike’s place”. I fail to see how this will be an improvement on Ike’s, it was obviously extremely popular, hence the long queue times!

  • solis

    tear tear :'(

  • Andrew T Aude

    Sign the Keep Ike’s petition at saveikes.net

  • Kristian Davis Bailey

    This is a small issue in the scheme of things, but what does it say about the university that it can unilaterally make decisions in the alleged interest of students against student demand? Someone below talks about the food truck vendor issue last year, and this also evokes RD&E’s attempt to take over Suites Dining, as well as its takeover of Chi Theta Chi. The common denominator here is that the university can make even more money off its students if it controls everything and we have no oversight mechanism. “Commitment to green practices” seems like a very shallow justification for making another quick buck.

  • chaeobol123

    And the Stanford R&DE food monopoly continues its campus expansion, unabated! Yet another example of this university looking to make a quick buck at the expense of its students!

  • Sandwich Aficionado

    Ike’s has made the best tasting sandwich I have ever had. Bar none.

    Granted, always long lines but it also has people coming back for more. Price should not be a reason since even a footlong subway sandwich is around $8. Mind you, adding chips and drink to the same order racks up the cost to $11+. Seems to me like there isn’t justice to be had. Want a real survey? Survey everyone ordering and eating the sandwiches. That’s a real testament to the worth.

    Maybe then the University will see to it that Ike’s stays.

    *When I heard there was an Ike’s near me in Palo Alto I decided to go out of my way to drive into campus (a long drive considering its lunch hour) to eat food at Stanford. Find another eatery that can motivate people to do that for a sandwich. Doubt you can…

  • Andrew T Aude

    Here’s the official “Ike’s vs. R&DE” survey:


    Optional comments are appreciated.

  • bittergradguy

    So far R&DE has removed quality food trucks and now will be removing Ike’s. Well done R&DE. Well done.

  • Mike-N-Ike

    lame, just lame

  • Madhur

    100% agreed. And if students don’t like the wait they can download the app and get their sandwich with < 1 minute wait. This is ridiculous.

  • Madhur

    That survey was the epitome of response bias.


  • snoopy

    where’s the third party option?

  • Andrew T Aude

    The third party option was actually “Coupa” as I learned today. The vendor selection committee had only 3 vendors to choose from (in the final round), not 12 like R&DE’s official response might leave you to believe.

  • Andrew T Aude

    The results are in! https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YQHPQFR/
    2,750 votes, 97.42% of them in favor of keeping Ike’s on campus.

    Over 600 voters left additional comments.

  • Andrew T Aude

    Here’s the job posting for a project manager that R&DE put out February 22nd.

    It seems to coincide 100% with the role of the person who would be in charge of converting Ike’s into R&DE’s retail cafe. http://www.higheredjobs.com/details.cfm?JobCode=175861087

  • Johnny J

    ask for R&DE financail review, first you will get run around and delays, IF you ever get to see you will get clarification as what the organization does with YOUR money!

  • Johnny J

    and by the way if you live long enough to get access you will see the level of practises that make your skin crawl

  • Wait

    Fact is Ike’s just isn’t as popular anymore. The lines are long, but only because their operation is painfully inefficient. The wait is a problem for a lot of people — telling them to just go somewhere else is the same as me telling you just don’t go to this new R&DE place that is opening in September. A brand new building is opening in that quad in a few months and Ike’s just isn’t prepared to handle that kind of traffic. The small Coupa is just that — small. It has no kitchen and cannot be compared to what could be offered in the Ike’s spot. And more than just students work in the quad and look for a quick, affordable meal. Don’t dismiss the results of a survey where students and staff indicated their desired price point, wait time, and operating hours. Maybe, just maybe, R&DE is being required to satisfy these requirements, among many others. Before you riot and burn down the university, calm down and wait and see what’s coming.

  • Diana

    Okay, this is bullshit. Not because I love Ike’s so much but because the University is simply doing all it can to minimize the competition for it’s financially unsustainable R&DE sector.
    If R&DE isn’t making enough money, then maybe someone should look into why, as opposed to trying to forcibly increase revenues.

    This needs to be boycotted. Who’s with me?

  • Clarification please?

    That may be true, but before I believe it I’d like to see who this survey was given to and how it was phrased. Some of the comments here make it sound as if keeping Ike’s wasn’t even an option, which would make the results meaningless. Everyone prefers shorter waits and lower prices but not everyone wants to sacrifice food quality for that.
    My concern is that if the university supports R&DE replacing profitable private vendors then we’re basically allowing R&DE to create a monopoly… and last time I checked monopolies aren’t conducive to improved efficiency or quality.

  • Not quite

    R&DE is strictly speaking a separate entity from the university and they’re notorious for being in financial difficulty. Stanford isn’t making any money off of them at all… however I do think they are subsidizing their losses. That said, R&DE represents an example of gross institutional overreach. Stanford is an educational institution, not a catering service.
    Every service Stanford tries to provide which isn’t vital for the university’s mission increases tuition unnecessarily. These things could, and should be outsourced.

  • Andrew T Aude

    R&DE is a subsidiary of the University. It’s filed on Stanford’s tax return under “Auxiliaries.” R&DE’s expenditures are not itemized. Actually, R&DE itself is not even listed as its own item… It’s grouped in with patient care, athlete programs etc., which as a whole runs at a loss.

  • Andrew T Aude
  • Not Waiting

    I’m sorry, but I really have to set the factual record straight here on a few of your points.

    “Fact is Ike’s just isn’t as popular anymore.” This is factually not true. From 2010 to 2013, Ike’s annual revenues grew by over 400 percent. Ike’s consumer sales are way up, not down. They are quite successful and popular, which is a major reason R&DE would like to see them eliminated as competition.

    “The lines are long, but only because their operation is painfully inefficient.”

    This is also not true. A major reason the lines are long is because of Ike’s tremendous popularity. And if people weren’t willing to wait in line, they wouldn’t be waiting in line. When 2,700 students were asked whether they preferred Ike’s or R&DE, more than 97 percent voted for Ike’s. Less than 3 percent voted for R&DE. See https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YQHPQFR/

    “Don’t dismiss the results of a survey where students and staff indicated their desired price point, wait time, and operating hours.”

    I’m sorry, but using SEQ’s survey as a justification for eliminating Ike’s is extremely questionable at best. I have the full text of the survey. It did not ask directly which restaurant students preferred. It did not even list Ike’s as an option for students to vote for. It only asked general questions about food service; two of the primary questions, interestingly, asked specifically how long students wanted to wait for food and how much they wanted to pay. (Shocking, really, that the average vote was for less than 10 minutes and between $5 and $7.50 – personally, I prefer to wait longer for my food and pay more whenever possible). I’ve spoken with four people who took the survey, all of whom would not have taken it had they known it would be used in this way. Less than half of the responses were from students, grad or undergrad. Again, when you ask directly which restaurant people on campus prefer, 97 percent of them vote for Ike’s. https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YQHPQFR/

    Lastly, the “committee” that made this decision had just two students on it, six unidentified “staff” members, and no faculty members at all. Is that really representative of campus opinion?

    “Calm down and wait and see what’s coming.”

    I don’t need to wait, because I can already compare the dozens of R&DE-run eateries on campus with the one Ike’s. Ike’s wins. This move by R&DE is purely anticompetitive and designed to remove a successful non-R&DE restaurant that students like. Instead of raising their own standards to compete with Ike’s, they’re eliminating the source of the high standards altogether.

  • Andrew T Aude

    How to boycott R&DE Hospitalities & Auxiliaries:
    1) Never buy cardinal dollars.
    2) Never buy R&DE “grab and go” drinks. Sodas, energy drinks, flavored water, etc. (These are the highest margin items, pushing 100% margin.) Get them at Tresidder Express, if you’re passing through Tresidder.
    3) Don’t buy anything at Munger’s Market.
    4) Don’t eat at Heirlooms, Basils, Olives, Kikka Sushi, Russo Pub.
    5) Don’t eat at their “retail partners”, Tresidder’s Fraiche, Subway, Panda, Starbucks. (They have profit share with them).
    6) If you have meal plan dollars, spend them exclusively on Latenite. (Then that money stays confined to Stanford Dining’s coffers.)

  • Andrew T Aude

    Don’t eat at Axe & Palm.
    Axe & Palm isn’t paying rent to the student union, like the rest of the tenants are.

  • Wingman

    We need protests similar to what Miles did with Suites next year, I think we need to go beyond posting these recommendations on comments in a Daily article.

  • anonymous

    And Stanford kicks out yet another good food option. Remember the thai food truck?