The arrival of Starbucks to campus with a storefront at Tresidder headlines changes to Stanford Dining for this year. The opening came as a surprise to students who did not expect another coffee shop within yards of campus favorites like Peet’s, CoHo and Coupa Cafe.Residential & Dining Enterprises says the decision to open a Starbucks came in response to “numerous requests to open a full service [Starbucks] on campus”. Michael Gratz, the executive Director of R&DE cites surveys of students, faculty and visitors to Stanford as well as the ubiquitous request for more late night options as motivation to seek out a new addition to Tresidder.
Gratz says Starbucks won the spot over other coffee companies because of their “comprehensive design to improve Tresidder”, including honoring the Stanford alumni inventors of the Clover Coffee Machine. The store will reportedly also offer a tasting table with “rare selections of Starbucks reserve coffees”. Gratz also praised the Starbucks brand, claiming “strong product quality and brand-namerecognition worldwide” make Starbucks an ideal fit.The arrival changes Tressider’s landscape for other business as much as it does for students and consumers. Unlike Peet’s, a longtime Starbucks rival, the CoHo will face unprecedented competition. The CoHo, as another independent vendor, has no say in what stores open nearby according spokesman Erick Guzman. “Stanford Dining does not ask us for our opinion!” he emphasizes, conceding “We’re always concerned with competition.” Guzman highlights the staff, quality of ingredients and value pricing as integral to the CoHo’s competitiveness. Starbucks appears comfortable nestled between two other coffee vendors, selling coffee at prices that match their nearby Palo Alto and Menlo Park locations as of late August.
The vendors very well may face competition as neither R&DE nor any other university office exerts influence over pricing or management of tenants. The University does, however, require compliance with Stanford’s university-wide living wage (which will increase to $12.40 on October 1st), and employee policies. Starbucks will also accept Cardinal Dollars and the Stanford Card Plan as per its contract with the University. R&DE touts the store’s business ethics, syaing “The Stanford Starbucks store is strongly committed to sustainable business practices… they [are] the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee in North America.”
R&DE hopes the new Starbucks will compliment other changes coming this year, namely the rebranded Union Square featuring themes like Heirlooms and Basils, which feature locally grown organic salads and Italian food, respectively. A third brand, Decadance, which will not be open at the beginning of Autumn Quarter, will feature Bay Area desserts. R&DE seeks to embed its message, “From the Farm, For the Farm” throughout these services, emphasizing both the local and the sustainable.
Changes to dining this year will not include changing the requirement that students buy their residence’s meal plan, however. This policy, which effectively forces students in campus housing to purchase their meals through R&DE, remains in effect because R&DE believes “Mealtimes play a key role in helping to build a sense of community within a house and in promoting interaction between residents, faculty and guests”. Despite the proliferation of options offered on campus, students will remain tied into the dining services provided by the University.
Unlike these dining plans, Starbucks will face competition with its neighbors to establish itself as the “world-class experience in the historic Tressider Memorial Union” that R&DE envisions. Whether it and the other new dining options flourish still depends on students’ choice.