As many coffee-lovers and groggy morning class-goers have noticed, there is a new addition this year to the Eagle on the Fly mart in McElroy Commons: a Starbucks. Opening to the masses last September, the Starbucks has been a booming success, according to Mike Forcier, general manager of McElroy Commons Dining. The positive student response proved that the decision to establish an on-campus Starbucks was worth the time and research, he said.
The Starbucks was installed to meet the growing demand from Boston College students to purchase the name-brand coffee and is now operated as a “We Proudly Brew” program, which allows BC to capitalize on the nationally recognized brand while wholly benefiting from the sales of Starbucks coffee.
Other than regular inspections by Starbucks auditors, the Starbucks facility in McElroy is managed and operated by BC Dining staff, and employs BC students instead of the run-of-the-mill hipster baristas normally hired by an independent Starbucks chain.
“We absolutely pride ourselves on having a good-quality dining program with our own authenticity,” Forcier said.
The goal of BC Dining is to run a financially sustainable service while also providing high-quality food and equal benefits to employers, such as a fair minimum wage, competitive benefits, and a guaranteed work week. The new addition of the Starbucks national brand to the Eagle On the Fly Minimart in Mac has tremendously aided in keeping costs reasonable for BC Dining services in this zero-sum game.
“BC Dining is run as a service to the University,” Forcier said. “BC Dining as a whole doesn’t run as a profit center. What these Eagle Marts and what this Starbucks does is takes our whole service model and helps us provide the service that BC wants [its] students to have.”
As a result of being an internally run dining service, BC Dining budgets so that it remains ever so slightly in the black, if not at zero. This, Forcier said, is the reason that the money that is left over from the mandatory meal plan is not given back to the students at the end of the academic year.
This refund is not provided because the money is already budgeted and spent, a system of spending similar to other schools which may have a single swipe system instead of the declining balance system in place here at BC.
“This Starbucks absolutely helps the model,” Forcier said. “And not only that, but it fills the demand from students who are saying ‘Hey, we need these on campus,’ so this helps us to cater to that demand.”
Because of the increase in revenue provided by the Starbucks, BC Dining is better able to serve both the students and its employees the goods and services it provides. Although a significant complaint from many BC students is the price of the food, Forcier said that this system, which is built on an emphasis on quality, provides students with the most efficient system of providing high-quality food while allowing BC Dining employees to enjoy the benefits of the University.
“I know factually that the quality of our food is superior, but if you want to have a sirloin steak every night you’re going to pay for it,” he said. “If you look at other schools, they aren’t serving a 6-oz. filet of salmon every day. Other schools on an all-you-can-eat system won’t have food cooked to order or any of that.”
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor