Four cafes in the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center have not reached their projected peak sales, said Joe Mullineaux, senior associate director of Dining Services.
The new establishments, called Food for Thought, Engage, Terp Bites and IQ-Fresh, have been open since the beginning of the semester.
Dining Services is still working on expanding its advertising for the new locations, Mullineaux said.
“We’re getting more and more guests every single day as people start to discover that they’re there,” Mullineaux said. “As people’s patterns get in, [the cafes] will be much more successful.”
Each cafe varies in its menu and theme, but all four establishments were created with convenience for students in mind, Mullineaux said.
Mullineaux explained that while IQ-Fresh and Terp Bites were modeled after “kiosks in an airport” and sell only prepackaged snacks and drinks, Engage and Food for Thought more closely resemble full-service cafes. All four locations accept both Dining Dollars and Terrapin Express.
Food for Thought, the cafe with the largest menu, is expected to be especially popular among students for its full-service Starbucks Coffee, Mullineaux said. Customers can also purchase breakfast food, salads and hot and cold sandwiches there.
The names of the new establishments were only finalized by Dining Services about two weeks before the semester began, Mullineux said, adding that many students may still be unaware the cafes are up and running.
Facilities Management Executive Director Bill Olen previously told The Diamondback the installation of the new cafes cost about $660,000.
Dining Services spent money and effort on the new cafes to make the Edward St. John building a “focal center point,” Mullineaux said.
Edward St. John is expected to see 14,000 students, faculty and staff on a daily basis, making it second only to Stamp Student Union in terms of daily foot traffic, Mullineaux said. He said this projection was made based on the number of students registered for classes in the building.
The building has not reached this capacity yet, Mullineaux said.
However, many faculty remain confident that it has the potential to become a central component of campus life, Mullineaux added.
The new cafes are important to achieving that goal, said Bart Hipple, Dining Service’s assistant communications director.
“The open, brightly-colored, clear, sunny study space [of the St. John building] will take some people out of McKeldin,” Hipple said, adding that he believes the draw of the full-service Starbucks in Food for Thought will take some pressure off Footnotes Cafe in McKeldin, home to a Starbucks Express.
Tomi Tolliver, a junior public health major, said she already prefers the dining experience in Edward St. John.
“[Footnotes] cafe is so tiny,” Tolliver said. “It’s so hard to get in and out and to wait for your drink … the spacing is really awkward, and it’s just so cluttered.”
Tolliver added she believes the cafe options in Edward St. John make it a convenient for studying, meeting friends and getting a bite to eat.
Dining Services staff expect the four cafes to reach their full potential as the semester progresses, Mullineaux said.