Less than a year after Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jeffrey Waple announced a Dunkin’ would be installed in Lovejoy Library, Waple said Dunkin’ will no longer become another coffee option on campus.
After examining at the total cost of bringing Dunkin’ to its prospective home in Lovejoy, Waple said he determined it would be more costly than expected.
According to Waple, the addition of Dunkin’ would raise not only student fees, but also other costs, such as those of dining services. In fact, the high cost would cause Dunkin’ to lose money in the early stages of its operation.
“It really was a great idea, but as we got into the financials … it was probably going to be a money loser for awhile, because of all the start up costs to get it going,” Waple said.
Waple said the biggest factor in his decision to halt the plans for Dunkin’ was Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signage of the statewide minimum wage increase bill. Due to the numerous employees Dunkin’ would require to operate, its addition could not be realistically justified from a monetary standpoint, according to Waple.
“A year ago, we were somewhat confident that this was going to materialize, but there was something major that happened between last September and this September: [the minimum wage increase],” Waple said. “That was the tipping point for us … because the amount it would have cost just to put staff in there and employees would have meant an increase in dining costs for people.”
Adding to this high cost, equipment costs, limited storage space, franchise fees and other costs made Dunkin’ coming to campus even more unrealistic. Waple said in addition to paying franchise fees, Dunkin’ would require employees to do extensive on-site training as well as training in Boston and Chicago.
According to Waple, the current layout of the library would also have to undergo changes to accommodate Dunkin’. For example, the gender-neutral bathroom would have to be moved, and the university would have to find a way to provide more storage space. Bringing in deliveries would also pose a challenge.
“The deliveries would have to come to the library through the lower level, and [we would] somehow have to get product up through the main level, which would mean we’d be taking product right through the main second level of the library, out in the open,” Waple said. “There’s no back hallway.”
Waple knows this decision brought disappointment to many students, such as senior biological science major Laine Hendrix, of Highland, Illinois, and senior psychology and political science major Olivia Ajero, of Breese, Illinois.
Hendrix said she was less excited that a Dunkin’ would be on campus, but more looking forward to food options being more spread out around campus, especially since she spends a lot of time in Lovejoy.
“We already have two coffee shops, but it would just be cool if it was in the library,” Hendrix said.
For Ajero, having a food option in Lovejoy would prove to be more convenient, as she said her classes are far from the Morris University Center.
“This semester, I’m over in the science buildings, and I’m usually in Alumni and Founders, so walking all the way back over [to the MUC] to get food if I’m in between classes isn’t always practical,” Ajero said.
Waple said while Dunkin’ will not be coming to Lovejoy, he and other administrators are currently discussing bringing a smaller operation to the library.
“We are committed to having some type of coffee option in the library,” Waple said. “Probably in another two months or so we’ll be able to talk about what we are thinking about putting in there.”
Both Hendrix and Ajero said they thought moving Kaldi’s to the library could be a good alternative, as it might bring more business to Kaldi’s.
“I feel like people go to Kaldi’s less because Starbucks is right next to it,” Ajero said.
The Alestle will continue to provide updates.