A major renovation took place in the Nebraska Union over the summer, providing students with a full-service Starbucks in the heart of campus.
The coffee shop went from appearing as a coffee counter with a limited food selection to looking like a modern Starbucks coffee shop. According to Associate Director for Business Operations for the Nebraska Union Brian Bollich, the Caffina Café that previously occupied the space was a university café that served Starbucks products. Now, the renovated location is a licensed Starbucks location.
The renovation began on May 8 and was completed on time for its opening on Monday, Aug. 14. Over the summer, a temporary coffee cart located inside of the Nebraska Union served students and faculty with coffee while the Starbucks was being reconstructed.
The funds for becoming a licensed Starbucks came from the Nebraska Union bond surplus, according to Bollich. The Starbucks project was able to remain on budget throughout the duration of the renovation. The renovation included demolition of the old café, creating the new space, all new furniture and equipment, as well as a whole new aesthetic.
“It is very important [to stay on budget] when you plan a project you only have x amount of funds you have allocated to that,” Bollich said. “Any time you go over budget you have to sacrifice something else or dip into something else.”
Sophomore communication studies and marketing major, Addisen Loveless, said she was pleased with the renovation, saying it was completely different compared to the previous café.
Along with the aesthetic, there are many benefits Starbucks can offer that Caffina Café could not, such as being able to offer merchandise including Starbucks coffee, mugs and bags. The location is also now able to accept Starbucks gift cards. Previously, the Caffina Café supplied its own gift certificates, but were not able to accept Starbucks gift cards. Customers are now also able to use Starbucks Rewards cards to earn Stars, which can be used to receive free food and drinks, but are currently unable to redeem them at the location.
“Starbucks is in the process of allowing licensed stores to redeem Stars within the next year,” Bollich said. “Right now, only Starbucks corporate stores can do that. Since we are not a corporate store, we are a licensee, so in the next six months to a year we hope to be able to redeem Stars as well.”
The new café showcases a full Starbucks menu, with a wide variety of hot and fresh breakfast sandwiches as well as an extensive assortment of pastries and baked goods.
According to Starbucks shift supervisor Hunter Mruz, the café is planning on introducing protein pasta, salads and other lunch options for their customers in the future.
Since the new Starbucks is part of the university, Mruz said they were allowed to create their own signature drink specific to the location.
“We call it the Scarlets and Cream Frappuccino,” he said. “It’s a vanilla bean frappuccino with strawberry purée and freeze-dried strawberries that is blended together to create a strawberry syrup.”
The signature frappuccino is already popular amongst students. Sophomore Illum Hansen said he never went to the Caffina Café last year, but has already visited the new Starbucks and tried the Scarlet and Cream Frappuccino.
“I would highly recommend it,” he said. “It tasted really good.”
According to Bollich, since the newly renovated Starbucks opened, the number of customers has already doubled what the Caffina Café did for business at this time last year.