Cluck-U looks to partner with Kean to accept Cougar Dollars

By Sonia Aquije


Local business Cluck-U-Chicken wants Kean students to enjoy the perks of using their Cougar Dollars at their location on Morris Avenue.

A visit to Cluck-U.
Photo Credit: Sonia Aquije

Cougar Dollars are a form of money that are deposited onto student I.D.’s, which can be used freely around campus. Currently, Kean students receive a 10 percent discount at Cluck-U.

Other universities like William Paterson University follow the same concept of using university dollars in the form of Pioneer Points. Their students use Pioneer Points at local establishments inside and outside of campus at places like the local CVS Pharmacy.

Jeff Parella, one of the owners of the local Cluck-U said he contacted the university about using Cougar Dollars to buy food, but that he did not get results.

“I did contact the university; I don’t recall who I spoke to,” Parella said. “I did reach out a couple of times and I did call back to pursue it, but they told me the community program isn’t available. I was shut down.”

Parella also said one of his ideas is to sponsor two scholarships, one academic and one sport, in order to entice Kean University.

Matthew Caruso, a spokesman for Kean, is unaware of any proposal submitted by Cluck-U.

“For something like this to even be considered by the university, Cluck-U would need to present a detailed proposal to (Vice President of Operations) Philip Connelly,” said Caruso.

Cluck-U has been around since 1985, catering to people with an array of food choices like Cluckwiches, burgers, fried chicken, wraps, salads, Buffalo Wingers, boneless buffalo wings and chicken tenders. They offer desserts like Cinnabees and appetizers such as onion rings and mozzarella sticks. They also offer value packs and family packs.

Cluck-U draws in a huge Kean student crowd because of the 10 percent off discount on their meal when they show their Kean ID. They also offer delivery options and are open late into the night, which makes the establishment popular among students. They are open until 3 a.m.

Both Cluck-U owners Parella and Michael Dinard want to work with Kean University to turn their ideas into a reality and build a relationship with the students.

“Students like our establishment, the food, and you know our hours. We do deliver down to their campus,” said Parella.

Cluck-U offered its services to Kean students during the Hurricane Sandy state of emergency.

“During Hurricane Sandy, Cluck-U delivered food to the few people left on campus, knowing that the school and its cafeterias were closed,” said Parella.

Gary Ramos, a freshman and physical therapy major, wants to use Cougar Dollars at Cluck-U.

“Cluck-U is banging!” he said. “I’ve been to Cluck-U so many times. The food just tastes so yummy. They are to die for!”

Other students agreed.

Melenny Perez, a sophomore majoring in special education, said “Kean students would definitely go there to try something different from the campus food. The fact that you can use your Cougar Dollars to pay is really convenient, especially when you don’t have cash.  Another plus is its close proximity to campus, especially compared to some other off campus food places.”

Parella believes it’s a win-win if both Kean and Cluck-U work together.

“It’s really up to the students to speak out, it’s something we’d like to do,” Parella said. “They (the students) really want it, but you know at the end it’s the administration.”

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