Jan 20, 2009

Starbucks partners with Sodexo to bring students caffeinated beverages

by Amanda Sullivan, Life! Editor

The addition of an on-campus Starbucks Café is Liberty’s most recent improvement to student life. The café is located in the Tilley Student Center, for which the café is named. The Tilley Café is now open to students.

The café will offer all the menu options students would normally find at a Starbucks, which sets it apart from its kiosk counterparts on campus.
“We brew Starbucks coffee at several places around campus, but this one’s different because it’s an expanded version of the same concept,” Resident Marketing Manager Elizabeth VanWingerden said. “Starbucks came in the week before classes to train our staff, so you can rest assured you’re getting the real thing.”

The café does differ in some ways from regular Starbucks stores. For example, students will be able to purchase both the espresso-based beverages and non-espresso beverages with their meal points, scholarship dollars, cash or credit. However, Starbucks gift cards may pose a problem for consumers of the Tilley Café.

“Gift cards can only be used at fully licensed stores,” VanWingerden said. “However, Liberty dining gift cards will be sold and honored at this location.”

The biggest difference between Starbucks stores and the Tilley Café will be the lack of merchandise, and the café will not be selling the “Ready to Drink and Eat” options found in most Starbucks stores’ pastry cases. However, the café will soon sell frozen beverages, known as frappuccinos.

Despite the lack of certain products, the Tilley Café has worked hard to maintain the principles for which Starbucks is known – the “third place environment.”

“We work closely with our Starbucks representative to replicate the experience that a customer would find at a licensed store,” VanWingerden said. “This includes providing the tools and training that a free-standing store would receive.”

Starbucks Coffee partnered with Sodexo USA in 2002 to form what is known as the Starbucks Campus division. The partnership works to combine the benefits of a fully licensed store with the universities.

“Most campuses opt for this type of store, as it is more suitable to a campus atmosphere,” VanWingerden said. “The construction costs and infrastructure required for a fully licensed Starbucks can prove to be prohibitive. With the café we have the flexibility to add other offerings - like Domino’s Pizza and Island Oasis Smoothies - that we would not otherwise be allowed to add.”

For more information about the Tilley Café, visit the Tilley Student Center on North Campus.

Contact Amanda Sullivan at


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