The former Dining Services owned café, Le Petit Marché, in the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Storrs Center, is officially under ownership of Barnes and Noble as a Starbucks. The café is no longer accepting meal plan points, and all workers are now officially employed by Barnes & Noble.
The former Co-Op Café, which was part of the main Co-Op building in the center of the Storrs campus, has also been acquired by the private corporation and has implemented similar changes.
“Both the café at the main campus bookstore and the bookstore at Storrs Center were converted from university food services to Barnes and Noble this past August,” UConn Bookstore Group general manager Leonard Oser said. “We assumed those cafés at the request of the school.”
The menu of the café had changed to reflect the acquisition. Le Petit Marché offered crepes, soups and miniature gluten-free pizzas along with other UConn Dining Service sourced options.
The new Starbucks café offers bagels, breakfast sandwiches, smoothies and the standard Starbucks drinks, such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
So far, student reaction to the change in ownership has ranged from favorable to indifferent.
“They don’t have all the crepes and food that they had before,” seventh-semester economics major Lindsey Aponte said. “(But) I’m a big fan of Starbucks, so that’s a plus.”
Some students don’t seem to notice any change in the quality or the service of the café.
“I don’t feel any difference,” seventh-semester psychology major Megan Snyder said. “I still come here to study everyday.”
One of the main changes between the café and the new Starbucks is that points will no longer be accepted, which can be costly for some students.
“It’s more expensive,” seventh-semester biomedical major Kayla Presswood said. “I think it’s harder for UConn students (because of that).”
There are still several structural and branding changes that need to be made to the café since its acquisition in August, Oser said.
“That branding will change to be more reflective of the Starbucks products that they currently serve,” Oser said. “The rebranding will take another several weeks due to the changes that will take place on the outside of the building and minor changes inside.”
Though the ‘Le Petit Marché’ sign is still present outside of the café in Storrs Center, it will be rebranded to Starbucks, which may take some time, Oser said.
“Many steps need to happen to satisfy the many parties involved in the approval process, then materials and signage will be made and installed,” Oser said. “We also need to be sensitive to a timing that is the least disruptive to the students and customers that frequent our café.”
Marlese Lessing is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @marlese_lessing.