Big coffee arrives in campus cafes

by Kane Loukas

In an attempt to bring caffeine even closer to college students’ lips, the University invited Starbucks and Java City to move into prime locations on campus.
Both companies’ products and logos are now appearing at four venues: cafes in the St. Paul Student Center and Williamson Hall feature Starbucks; cafes in the Health Sciences complex and Blegen Hall offer Java City products.
In addition to California-based Java City and Seattle-based Starbucks, Superior McGarvey and Seattle’s Best coffee companies sent in proposals to University Dining Services.
Several local coffee shops — including Espresso Royale Caffe, Dunn Bros., the Purple Onion and Espresso Expose — were invited to send in proposals but all declined.
“We looked for products and programs that would appeal to University clientele,” said Doug Hubbard, UDS district manager. Specifically, brand recognition and company image weighed heavily into the evaluation process.
Because the coffee shops are working under a licensing agreement with Aramark — a multi-national corporation that provides dining, catering and other services to the University — Starbucks and Java City are required to operate under rules set by Aramark. For this reason one local coffee shop, Espresso Royale Caffe, chose not submit a proposal to open up on campus.
“What we talked about with Aramark was creating more of the Espresso Royale experience,” said Dan Zielski, Espresso Royale Caffe regional manager and Dinkytown Business Association president.
But because Aramark and the University wanted only his company’s products, Zielski declined the invitation.
For now, UDS is using Starbucks and Java City to test how the on-campus, name-brand coffee shops work out. If successful, UDS plans on bringing more coffee shops to the University in the next several years.
Kane Loukas covers business and welcomes comments at [email protected]