Once the long queues for the till at Erasmus Sport have finally dispersed, canteen employee Kevin Bloklander checks the sales figures for the month of May for EM. They confirm what we suspected: the tuna salad pistolet is by far the most popular item, with 1,490 of them being sold.
Bloklander thinks he knows why this sandwich is so much more popular than the chicken breast or salad sandwich. “Many vegetarians will eat fish. And international students prefer a tuna sandwich to a hot dog.” For those who don’t eat pork for religious reasons, a tuna sandwich is also a popular choice. Everyone likes it. And there’s no ‘secret ingredient’, according to Bloklander. “Tuna, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, a bit of pepper. And lettuce. Nothing special.”
Very little green stuff
After the tuna pistolet, the toasted sandwich is the next best seller, followed by the daily dish of the day and the lunch tip. The ‘uitsmijter’ (three eggs on three slices of white bread for those with a real appetite) comes in fifth place.
Surveying the battlefield, there’s little green stuff on the menu, although most meals are served with a salad garnish. Bloklander puts it into perspective: “It’s not that bad. An ‘uitsmijter’ is healthy enough. And tuna isn’t so bad either.” In general, Bloklander sees a difference between people who just come to eat and people who also come for sports. “The sports people order healthier things; more often a bottle of water, while the eaters tend to buy a soft drink.”
Bloklander has experimented with putting healthier options on the menu, like a fruit snack. “But it didn’t sell well, and the fruit finally rotted.” However, the canteen regularly tries to promote healthy dishes. “Ultimately, we have to respond to what the guests want.”
Some products are organic, such as the milk, yoghurt and the ‘huge quantities of eggs’ that are used every day. And the coffee is fair trade. A vegetarian lunch is also available, although vegan meals are still more complicated. “But I can also offer a vegan option; if necessary we’ll check what’s in the fridge,” promises Bloklander.
The most popular: beer
The most popular drink in the restaurant is beer. In May, just over 1,000 bottles of Hertog-Jan were sold. The main beer drinking customers are the volleyball players from Erasmus Volley, says Bloklander. “On normal evenings, the kitchen closes at 8.00 p.m., but on Thursday evenings we stay open a bit longer to make hot snacks.” The volleyball players regularly stay until round 11.00 p.m. “They’re nice, sociable drinkers.”