Dining Services adjusts hours for 4 cafés amid budget cuts

In this photo, two student employees are pictured at the Bookworms Café in UConn's Homer D. Babbidge Library. (Rebecca Newman/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s Dining Services has changed the hours of operation for four of their cafés due to “financial reasons,” according to executive director Dennis Pierce. The hours are effective starting today, March 21.

“(Dining Services) completed a financial review and hours were changed accordingly,” Pierce said.

The changes were announced via the UConn Daily Digest on March 17, just one day after Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy approved a $5 million funding cut to UConn. While there’s no confirmation as to whether the two are connected, Pierce said “changes were made for financial reasons” and Dining Services has “to be good stewards of university funds.”

“I know a few were disappointed but understood that fundamentally, Dining Services is a business,” Pierce said.

The Chem Café, Up & Atom Café and Wilbur’s Café will now operate Monday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. These locations will also offer a “happy hour discount of 25 percent off” during the last hour of operation each day, applicable to all UConn baked goods, coffee and espresso drinks. Lu’s Café will now operate Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will not be included in the happy hour discount, according to Dining Services’ website.

Because morning hours were established when the cafés first opened, Lu’s Café, one of the first university-run cafés, will open at 8:00 a.m. rather than 7:30 a.m. with the rest of the cafés, Pierce said.

“Now with many choices, students and staff opt to go to other cafés (rather than Lu’s),” Pierce said.

Bookworms Café is unaffected by this change, and will keep its current hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., according to Dining Services’ website.

“Bookworms being in the library and being more visible supports a larger population,” Pierce said about the café keeping its hours. 

Kassandra Montenegro, an eighth-semester interdisciplinary and individualized major, said the hours are awkward compared to the previous hours, which were later and more convenient.

“I personally would not be affected but I know a handful of people who would be,” Montenegro said. “As an upperclassman without a meal plan, I rely on the cafés for food and snacks.”

Montenegro said the café locations are convenient for students who have late classes or labs.

“I think the hours are pretty awkward and it just causes a hassle for students who don’t have access to dining halls or can’t get to the Union or Storrs Center for food in the evenings,” Montenegro said.


Molly Stadnicki is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.stadnicki@uconn.edu. She tweets @molly_stadnicki.