Issue: Union Coffee is not Starbucks, it doesn’t meet the expectations of students looking for a Starbucks Coffeeshop.
Earlier this school year, it was brought to the students’ attention that Java City in The Union would change to a Starbucks over the semester break into the new year. Once 2014 hit and students came back to campus, they saw a new face on the old Java City counter, but it wasn’t the well-known brand they were expecting. Instead, they were greeted with Union Coffee.
Instead of just ripping down everything and replacing what was a full coffee service with a smaller one, why not just keep the full one while integrating the Starbucks into it?
Students may have been expecting a familiar brand to be found on campus, instead students see Union Coffee and do not understand what kind of coffee they are getting now. Union Coffee has replaced Java City in The Union location.
The main attraction that students look for in coffee shops is variety. However, with the eradication of the smoothies with a promised return, the only things offered are Frappuccino drinks. Five types of Frappuccino’s are offered, and cannot be customized, save from the type of milk used. And with only these five drinks, you cannot request another type of drink made into a Frappuccino as you can at a Starbucks franchise store. This is a major step down from what was offered at Java City before Union Coffee took over. There is the possibility that smoothies will return, however there is no timeline set so far.
Students expected that they should get the drinks that they want – including customizing drinks and having access to smoothies. There is a limited amount of ways that you can customize your drink. Union Coffee does not offer a full Starbucks menu, either. The “Proudly Serving Starbucks” gives the ability to brew Starbucks coffee, but because the university is not a licensee of the franchise, cannot serve a full menu.
The food that is served at Union Coffee is Aramark food, not Starbucks products. Students cannot purchase oatmeal there that is normally available at Starbucks and there is a drastic lack of cake pops at the counter.
There is not the option to use Starbucks gift cards at the location, nor do they offer Starbucks specials. One won’t even be able to get a punch card to earn a free drink, as Java City formerly offered.
The Union Coffee venue did not get new Starbucks espresso machines – they are using the same ones that were used to make Java City drinks.
The Starbucks logo is also nowhere to be found. The cups and sleeves have a partial reference to the company logo – the Siren symbol and the “We Proudly Serve” wordmark, but it is not a complete logo as per Starbucks guidelines. The employees can be found wearing similar uniforms to that of a Starbucks franchise store – black polo shirts with green aprons but again no logo or affiliation.
The expectation was much higher than the outcome. The idea of Starbucks that was sold to students and the product presented to them are drastically different.
There was an implied promise to students to have access in The Union to the varieties of food, drinks and services a normal Starbucks has. However, with not having the Starbucks name, not having the variety of drink combinations available, an Aramark menu of foodstuffs, employees without official uniforms, the inability to accept Starbucks’ gift cards makes what is currently standing there a coffee shop that “Proudly Serves Starbucks Coffee,” and not the Starbucks that the students were under the impression they were getting.
Stance: While it was a good effort to bring more of a variety to campus, students are missing out on options that they expect when they hear the name Starbucks.