By Jess Masulli
For Paul Stoddard, alumni of the University of Mary Washington and co-owner of The Sunken Well Tavern, accepting EagleOne cards at his restaurant ten days ago has already shown success.
The Sunken Well Tavern, IHOP Restaurant, Hard Times and Allman’s Bar-B-Que are the four most recent additions to the growing number of local and non-local businesses now accepting EagleOne cards for payment. These are in addition to The General Store Restaurant, Chick-Fil-A, Jake and Mike’s, and Pizza Hut, which have been EagleOne vendors since last year.
The EagleOne card is UMW’s official student indentification card. Each card includes a debit account. Originally, students and facult could add money to their account and then use their card to pay for on campus services and purchases.
With the off-campus program, money debited onto the account is now accepted at eight participating restaurants in the Fredericksburg area.
Jessica Thompson, the EagleOne off-campus merchant manager, commented on IHOP’s acceptance of EagleOne.
“Students were going into IHOP a lot late at night to study. IHOP contacted us and within the first week they had tons of transactions,” Thompson said.
When he heard about the program, Stoddard wanted his restaurant to join.
“I heard about the trial and wanted to get involved,” Stoddard said. “All of the owners went to Mary Washington. [They] want to make the place nicer for students.”
The Sunken Well Tavern has catered mainly to older people and families, but the owners are hoping EagleOne cards will attract more students.
At Pizza Hut, another EagleOne vendor, UMW students are a large part of their business.
Carl Hira, a shift manager at Pizza Hut, commented on the recent addition.
“We have seen an increase in students here at Pizza Hut since we started accepting cards. Fifteen to twenty percent of our business is college students,” Hira said.
With so many restaurants seeing the benefits of accepting the cards, some students are wondering why more businesses do not sign up.
Freshman Cara MacDonald hoped more Central Park businesses would open its doors to the EagleOne card.
“I wish more places would accept EagleOne,” MacDonald said. “I would use it in Central Park a lot because the campus food on weekends is not very good.”
Local businesses are hesitant to join because of the expenses involved. They are required to buy the $1000 card reader and pay commission to the University.
There have been some minor problems with the EagleOne card machines.
“Unlike a credit card machine, the EagleOne does not give students the opportunity to leave a tip so we have to let people know that,” Stoddard said.
At the General Store Restaurant, students and faculty can request that a tip be added to their total bill, but servers must deduct 7 percent of the patron’s bill total from his tip each time a tip is claimed through the EagleOne machine.
Jessica Graham, a server at the General Store Restaurant, said most patrons do not understand the 7% deduction.
“They don’t realize that we aren’t getting the tip they think they are giving us,” Graham said. “It’s really awkward to have to ask them about a tip in the first place.”
The seven percent reflects what participating businesses are charged for each EagleOne transaction that is run.
Freshman Shannon Farrar complained about the card’s efficiency.
“At The General Store it takes awhile to swipe all the cards because it gets jammed when there are a lot of us,” Farrar said.
Thompson encourages students to help this new program to grow.
Graham commented that the EagleOne system is a really good idea.
“It definitely brings in people from the college. [The system] lets them know that we are here.”
“I am happy the project has launched,” Thompson said. “I need help from the students though, to see if the systems are working properly. I also need to know where students want to eat.”
Chipotle and Panera Bread are currently in negotiations with the University. Due to the positive student feedback, both vendors may be added to the off-campus EagleOne list in the future.
The school is working on a new website for the program, which will be launched in a few weeks. Students can view updates and special offers from the businesses by logging on to the current EagleOne website, which can be accessed through UMW’s homepage.