Burger King fourth Sac State restaurant to close since May

Contracted venues close as UEI increases holdings of on-campus dining


Margherita Beale - The State Hornet

Burger King is the fourth on-campus restaurant to close since May, joining Mother India Express, Ecogrounds and Hiraku Sushi. University Enterprises, Inc. is expanding its on-campus presence at Sac State as Burger King ends its over 30-year run due to rent increase.

Mitchel Bobo and Dom Vitiello

Sacramento State’s University Union announced via Instagram that the campus Burger King would be closing its doors for good, marking the fourth on-campus restaurant closure since May.

Burger King has held a campus presence since 1984, according to a sign still on display in the University Union. 

In a statement released via Facebook, owners Todd and Leslie Broadlands said the decision to close the fast-food restaurant was prompted by rent increase and the offer of a one-year lease. 

“After 30 years of proudly operating our Burger King on CSUS campus, we are sad to say Friday was our last day,” the statement said. “We had many years of serving the students & faculty, catering events, donating at Phlagleblast, and hiring & mentoring students who we still keep in touch with.”

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The news was met with mixed reactions from students. Comments in the Union’s Instagram post announcing the closure were mostly negative.

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“It’s the cheapest eatery on campus, ranging from $4 to $6 a meal, so it’s the most cost-efficient. I think it would be unfortunate to see it go,” said Isaiah Daniel, a computer science major. “It’s a bit upsetting considering that they’ve kept Round Table up, which I feel is double the price for a meal.”

Daniel said that Burger King’s affordability has become a part of his morning routine, but that he is excited to see what will take its place.

“I know it was a big attraction, like Panda (Express), but hopefully something healthier and fresh will make an appearance,” nursing major Tajiah Gallegos said. “Excited for new things for our campus.”

Hiraku Sushi and Mother India Express both closed May 10, while Ecogrounds Coffee closed shop in the final weeks of the spring semester. 

According to University Enterprises Inc., (UEI) Executive Director Jim Reinhart, the decision to close Ecogrounds was aimed toward bringing more variety to campus dining, while also acting as a pre-emptive measure to avoid competition from the new Starbucks.

“We don’t evaluate the revenue, but it is a factor, the revenue is a reflection of the demand that exists on campus,” said Steven Davis, director of dining services at UEI. “If you have a store that’s bringing in low revenue it is reflective of the demand that people have for the particular product and service.”

Hiraku Sushi owners Sam and Betty Liu said that revenue played a role in ending their 11-year tenure at the River Front Center.

“We tried to renew our contract but the university chose to take another path with this location,” Betty said. “We work hard, we did our best. We make enough for a living but we are not a big corporation. We are a family business, yet we are not making enough to reach Sac State’s standards.”

Some Sac State students said they were disappointed about the sushi restaurant leaving campus, including mechanical engineering and physics major Christina Pino.

“It’s very sad — I’ve been coming here since I was a freshman and I’m a fifth-year now,” Pino said of Hiraku Sushi’s closure. “They know my exact order. They know and ask about my life. My friend group all knows Betty and Sam, they always bring a smile to our faces.” 

According to UEI Director of Marketing Angela Rader, a chicken and sushi restaurant will be filling the vacancies in the Union, while Juice It Up! will be taking over the Hiraku Sushi location in the River Front Center during the spring semester of 2020. 

Reinhart said that UEI will be self-operating and managing these new restaurants, which will maximize the number of student employment opportunities on campus, noting that contracted venues hire fewer students.

When asked if the amount of students hired by contracted vendors played a role in the closures Rader stated said, “No, their contracts expired or were expiring.”

Mother India Express owners did not respond to request for comment about leaving Sac State.