‘Down in the dumps’: The Pit revamps operations to boost tepid profit

After acknowledging that the Pit is “down in the dumps” at the January 10 AMS Council meeting, the society has now reintroduced food services and revamped the pub’s operations to boost its tepid profit. This is not the first time the pub has seen “waning popularity.”

AMS President Alan Ehrenholz attributed the Pit’s business problems to several factors, including being pigeonholed as just Pit Night or a night hangout space.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that the Pit has been struggling,” Ehrenholz said. “I think the Pit might be viewed as something that’s Wednesday nights only during Pit Night, and that’s not what the Pit is.”

The Pit also struggles to compete with other bars on campus, especially the direct competition from Gallery 2.0.

To address these issues, the Pit has attempted to reinvent its image as a sports bar and hangout spot during the day. Its new menu contains a wide variety of gourmet food and craft beer, with items like the “Oi Oi Oi Aussie,” “Nearly Naked,” “Hawaiian” and “Pico De Gallo” burgers.

Certain changes were based on the results of a questionnaire that the AMS sent out last month, which asked what students look for when they go out.

“The answer was cheap beer and good food, and we think that’s something that we’ve been able to answer with this new burger menu,” he said. “And honestly, I think we can boast some of the cheapest beer prices on campus and externally, so those are all good things to consider if students are looking for a beverage.”

The Pit is hosting more viewings of sporting events to capitalize on the big screens.
The Pit is hosting more viewings of sporting events to capitalize on the big screens. File Will McDonald

But some students think that prices are still too high.

“All of those burgers were $3 less expensive at the old sub burger bar,” commented Reddit user CatfishApocalypse. “The prices were low enough before that I would consider stopping for a burger and a brew after class. Now they’re too high, so I’d rather go and eat at home instead.”

Others agree with this sentiment, but one user also has “high hope” for the new food’s quality.

The pub’s activities are also going to be expanded to help it move away from the Pit Night-only image. For instance, it is hosting more viewings of sporting events, like the Champions League and the 2018 Olympic Games, to capitalize on the big screens. The space will be opened up for event bookings on nights other than Wednesday as well, which is available for free for AMS clubs.

“[We want the Pit to be] a bookable space for different sorts of events, not just Pit Nights on Wednesdays, but a variety of events that student groups are looking to host,” Ehrenholz said.

And he emphasized that any increase in profit from these changes will go back to the serve students.

“As a student society, we’re not here to make profit off our students, and we call what our businesses make each year ‘contributions’ back to the student government side, back to our services,” Ehrenholz said.

“Their contribution enhances the society as a whole and enhances what we can provide the students through the services and other things.”