On Monday, October 15, Bon Appetit held its grand opening of the new cafe in the Michael P. O’Brian Athletics and Recreation Center (MPOARC), Brew’d Awakening. The cafe, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekdays, offers Starbucks brand coffee to students at a relatively affordable price.
The cafe’s concept was conceived a year ago, when the College was searching for ideas to increase enrollment. Bon Appetit officials met with Chip Jackson, the former Vice President of Finance at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) to discuss future plans. “We did a survey of what [students] would like to see on campus, and a big thing was a Starbucks,” David Sansotta, General Manager of Bon Appetit at SMCM explained, “We went all over campus, and [the MPOARC] was the closest place to all the academic buildings.”
The cafe operates as a Starbucks “We Proudly Serve” store, which gives independent companies, like Bon Appetit, a platform to serve Starbucks products. The cafe is staffed and operated by Bon Appetit, and accepts payment by cash, card and Flex dollars. Bon Appetit allows students to apply to work at the cafe, but the students would be Bon Appetit employees rather than Starbucks employees.
Sansotta told TPN that the cafe has worked out “very well,” getting from 75 to 130 customers on any given day. The cafe is currently only operating on weekdays and on special events on weekends, but after its first month it will be analyzed for additional staffing and hours. In the future, the cafe will be relocated into the new academic building that is set to be built on the current athletic field starting in January 2020.