By Emily Larkin, Managing and Online Editor
A new cafe named The Newman Grind opened this week in the space that previously held Scooter’s Coffeehouse. The snack bar will be operated by Great Western Dining Service, which is the same company that supplies all the food in Mabee Dining Center and for general catering at Newman events.
The Grind will be open from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. on weekdays and will offer different types of coffee, chai tea, hot chocolate and various breakfast and lunch items, such as pizza, salads and sandwiches.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Jennifer Gantz said this coffeehouse contract is separate from the regular contract the university has with Great Western and is only effective for this semester so far.
Director of University Relations Clark Schafer said that with Scooter’s leaving, it was essential to still have options for students.
“We were sad to see Scooter’s go because we thought that was a great thing for our students as far as options for beverages and getting a bite to eat if they were running to class,” he said. “With that going away, it was a high priority to get a replacement.”
The Scooter’s inside Dugan closed abruptly last semester after not being able to financially handle serving a variety of options to students with their decline in business, previous manager Jordyn Taylor said.
Gantz said that the decision to choose Great Western was not financially motivated.
“It doesn’t save Newman any money because we didn’t make any money off of Scooter’s,” she said. “We are hoping that it will be profitable for Great Western and at some point, Newman can see some value from that, but right now we didn’t budget for any revenue from this.”
Director of Food Services Chris Heck said that what were previously known as Scooter’s bucks will now be called “Bonus bucks” and can be used in nearly the same way. The only difference is that any packaged food items in the bookstore cannot be bought with Bonus bucks.
Gantz said students will be able to stretch their Bonus bucks farther with the cheaper prices that Great Western has been able to provide.
“Most times you have to have a minimum delivery amount or you have to pay a premium,” she said. “Well, Great Western already has their minimum delivery because they deal with the food service, so I think they’ll be able to have some savings that will be passed along.”
Through the replacement process, Gantz said she searched for other places besides Great Western with little luck.
“We reached out to Reverie Coffee. We were trying to figure out if there was a way to have them be here, and so they looked around to see whether or not we would have enough volume to support,” she said. “When they looked, they did not see it. It’s not surprising, but at the same time they were helpful.”
Heck said that he ultimately still wanted students to have a coffeehouse on campus.
“I’m not sure that anyone else was willing to come into this space, so I wanted to support Newman and we wanted to make sure that this space does not go empty and that students have another place to go,” he said.
Heck said that The Grind wants to focus on efficiency and speed.
“We are trying to make it different. We are trying to make everything a bit quicker for the students,” he said. “The pizzas will be in the warmers, so students can come up to grab one and head to class. We’re looking for a quick experience.”
Gantz said that there is room for improvement in the future.
“I would like us to see if we could have some sort of kiosk in Gerber or Eck for our students that have night classes or most of their classes in those places,” she said “I would like to see some expansion in those areas because it could be a great revenue generator that students would utilize. It would be handy.”
Heck said they need to do well in the first few weeks of opening to continue growing menu items and hours open.
“The timeline is going to depend on sales and what time those sales are happening. If the sales are there and the students and faculty support us, we are going to be able to extend our hours to meet the needs.”
Heck said meals and deals are on the horizon.
“There are more deals to come by daily emails in about a week and a half or so. We are going to start doing combo meals to save you guys more money.”
PHOTO: THE NEWMAN GRIND is currently open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Courtesy Photo, Newman Advancement.