Dunkin’ Donuts coming to Tilley Student Center
The Starbucks located at the Tilley Student Center in Green Hall at Liberty University will be closed shortly after Commencement this year so that the location can be converted to a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Ryan Wheeler, who has been Sodexo’s Unit Marketing Specialist for over two years, said their hope is to open the new Dunkin’ Donuts in time for the fall 2018 semester. The area will be expanded and then closed in to create a more intimate space.
“This new location will have walls built around it and inside seating, so you’ll be in the Tilley Student Center, but you’ll feel like you’re in a small, intimate coffee house,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the decision was a joint one made by Sodexo’s management team and Liberty’s vice president for auxiliary services, Louis Cambeletta.
Several factors went into the decision to make the change, and according to Wheeler, one of the main things that prompted it was a poll asking students whether they would rather have a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts in the Tilley. According to Wheeler, the survey received an “overwhelming amount of support” for having a Dunkin’ Donuts.
“I think a lot of people gravitated towards choosing Dunkin’ because of the delicious pastry options that they bring to the table,” Wheeler said. “Dunkin’ is also a very popular coffee brand on the East Coast, which may have played a part in the decision-making process as well of voters.”
Wheeler said they were not trying to determine which location was “better” through the votes.
“Dunkin’ and Starbucks are both great partners to work with,” Wheeler said. “Our goal in the beginning wasn’t as much to make these two companies compete as much as it was us trying to gauge what people wanted to see more in that location, and Dunkin’ Donuts ended up being the winner of the vote.”
Another reason for the switch is because of Sodexo’s past positive experience with Dunkin’ Donuts.
“Dunkin’ Donuts is also a great partner to work with,” Wheeler said. “We are completely redesigning that space, and it will include an expanded menu with more pastries and specialty drinks, so our guests don’t feel as limited.”
Wheeler hopes the change will benefit students and customers in two ways. Because there will be more registers at the new Dunkin’ Donuts and Natural!, which is also being expanded, customers will be able to check out faster. Wheeler also hopes there will be more opportunities for community in the more intimate space.
“A lot of focus we’ve been putting into dining services is creating spaces where community happens,” Wheeler said. “A lot of the places in Montview are this way, being separated into their own unique spaces, (and) we want to try and bring a little of that same feeling to the Tilley Student Center.”
According to Wheeler, the process has, for the most part, not held many challenges. He said Sodexo has a strong partnership with Atlantic Equipment, the company that has helped with the design and construction of the project. However, he said one challenge will be workers at the new location.
“The main challenge we’ll face is staff training,” Wheeler said. “Switching them over from Starbucks policies to Dunkin’ Donuts policies will take time, but that is why our staff will be going through extensive training during the summer months to ensure we don’t miss a beat when we open in the fall.”
More information on Liberty Dining Services can be found at https://liberty.sodexomyway.com/.