Most students are unaware of it, but the iconic two-tailed green mermaid has graced UCLA’s campus since August.
Most Starbucks menu items are offered at Anderson Cafe, which replaced Il Tramezzino after its contract expired in 2018. The cafe opened in Anderson Courtyard on Aug. 5, Cindy Bolton, the director of food operations for Associated Students UCLA said.
This is the first time Starbucks has been offered in the history of the campus. That originally came from an attempt to avoid housing larger coffee chains on campus, and later because of issues with cost and licensing, Bolton said.
“Keeping non-branded, kind of Bohemian college-feeling coffeehouses was part of our strategy,” she said. “Certainly over time, we realized that the whole coffee industry has definitely moved in (a different) direction.”
The costs of leasing to a large retailer such as Starbucks also made ASUCLA wary, Bolton said.
As ASUCLA’s strategy changed and moved toward larger, more commercial coffee chains, Peet’s Coffee and Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea were added to UCLA grounds in 2018, Bolton said.
When the space in Anderson opened up, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf also joined in talks, but Starbucks had a better offer, Bolton said.
Anderson Cafe, operated by ASUCLA, is not directly a Starbucks entity. Its recipes and training is provided by Starbucks. Its menu offerings will be the same as Starbucks’, but potentially more limited.
Students said they didn’t really know Starbucks is offered on campus.
The Starbucks wasn’t very well advertised, said Maral Keosian, a third-year psychology student.
It didn’t even appear on the campus map, she said. She and her friends only found the Starbucks because they looked online to find one close to them.
“We kind of thought it was like our big secret, the little Starbucks that we found,” Keosian, a regular at the cafe, said.
More students have begun to show up, however, and the lines have gotten longer, Keosian said. Despite that, the coffee shop was relatively empty on a weekday evening during midterms.
Hanzi Wen only found out about the Starbucks after her professor announced it to the class at the beginning of her first lecture.
“She was complaining that there had never been a Starbucks before on campus,” the second-year economics student said.
Meanwhile, Ridhi Ravichandran, a third-year biology student, didn’t realize there was a Starbucks on campus until she looked at her cup.
“I guess people have no idea, because I just, I didn’t know,” Ravichandran said.
Bringing Starbucks to campus was intended to provide students more options for their caffeine needs, Bolton said.
“I think it’s really awesome, because I think a good amount of people like Starbucks,” Keosian said.
Keosian said she has been coming to the Anderson Courtyard Starbucks two to three times a week after class.
“I’ve been getting Starbucks since I was in sixth grade,” Keosian said. “Ranging from hot chocolate to ice tea, to actual ice coffee.”
On the other hand, Wen said she didn’t prefer it.
“If I were in (the) management (school), I would choose Starbucks,” Wen said. “Otherwise I don’t have a preference for it.”
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