As you walk by the Student Cafeteria, mouth-watering smells coming from the dishes of numerous students catches your nose. Turning your head toward the smell, the steam coming from the freshly cooked half moon shaped waffle and anticipating faces of students waiting to get their hands on this snack stimulates your senses and appetite for the waffle. After taking a bite, hearing the crunchy sounds and savoring the taste of the sauce and waffle melting in your mouth, you exclaim, “Wow!” Such a scene can be experienced at the waffle-stand inside the Student Cafeteria at the basement of the Human Ecology Building.
The waffle-stand sells and number of different snacks, with the waffle being the most popular among students. The stand is open from to , attracting approximately 530 people a day, which means that about 60 students head toward to the waffle-stand each hour. The numbers speak of the immense popularity of the waffle at Ewha. Thus, the Ewha Voice has set on a quest to unravel how this popular snack has come to steal the hearts of students.
The waffle-stand first showed its face in 2003 when the manager of Shinsegae Food thought the food would gain popularity among Ewha students. The intuition proved to be correct and the waffle has firmly established its place in the pantheon of food choices. Since then, the selection of cream sauces has widened from only apple to apple, strawberry and chocolate.
According to Jung Mi-sun, a nutritionist for the cafeteria, apple flavor is still the most popular; they use up to five boxes of apple cream each day. Chocolate and strawberry flavor are opened twice each day.
With the numerous boxes of cream sauce being opened each day, the revenue coming from the waffle sales may seem to be tremendous. However, that is not the case. Jung said, “Waffle may seem to generate high revenue but it doesn’t since the price is set relatively low compared to its high ingredient costs. Thus, although waffles are quite popular, we do not actually gain much profit by selling them.”
The so-called “waffle boy,” is a hidden asset who has been increasing the popularity of the waffles. Neatly dressed in a white colored suit, short cut hair, he is always busy with his two hands; cooking waffle dough and putting creams on it with one hand and handing it over to student buyers with the other.
The current waffle boy has been working only for a few months. However, Lee Sung-ho (26), who had a long experience at Ewha as the waffle boy, said, “Before working at the Ewha waffle stand, I did not have a good impression about Ewha students. I thought they were all arrogant, feminists and ignored males. But they turned out to be very kindhearted and friendly. Besides, they are all pretty!”
Jung added that she indeed felt the popularity of the waffle boy. “When I was working at the waffle-stand when the waffle boy had to go somewhere else for a moment, students waiting in the line asked, ‘Where is the oppa (Korean word for addressing a male older than herself)?’ There really were girls who were waiting in line even if they were not really planning to eat waffles.” When selecting a person to sell the waffles, Jung said that the nutritionists at the Student Cafeteria actually consider the looks and personality of the person and decide whether they are eligible to work in the waffle-stand since they have a mission to draw attention from students.
Nevertheless, fans of the waffle are also captivated by the taste of the waffle itself. Among the 35 students interviewed, 25 students (71.43%) said they eat waffles because they like the flavor. Kim Na-kyung (Special Education, 2) said, “I like eating waffles because it is delicious especially when the cream melts by the warm waffle.” It also has enthralled foreign students’ taste. Sarah Ehls (
The second factor that attracts students to the waffle-stand is that they believe waffles are an appropriate choice to eat as a snack at school. 20 students (57.14%) answered thus. Among them, Choi Jee-na (Sociology, 3) said, “The waffle at the student cafeteria is cheap, crunchy, and better than any other cookie. And it serves as a good desert to fill your tummy if you are still somewhat hungry after eating a meal.”
In order to continue and increase the popularity of the waffles, the Student Cafeteria is planning to find ways to add novelty to the waffles by adding some more flavors, as well as selling extra desserts to increase the reputation of the cafeteria itself. “We are not just focusing on the waffles but also on the whole atmosphere of the cafeteria by holding more events during special days like April Fool’s Day. Through this, more students will be attracted to the cafeteria and thus the popularity of the waffle-stand will naturally increase as well,” said Jung.
Although stores selling waffles increased more and more outside of Ewha, the popularity of the waffle inside the Student Cafeteria is not cooling down and the line at the waffle-stand seems to get longer and longer.