The Memorial Union Starbucks is expanding into a whole new hang-out this summer as it is under construction to switch into the northwest corner, where Einstein Bros. Bagels now resides.
The University uses each summer session to review what needs to change on campus, said Jennifer Hightower, vice president of student services.
“We observed that the most traffic in the MU was at the Starbucks,” Hightower said. “There was no way for us to change this situation with the Starbucks current location. We needed more space.”
There are four Starbucks on the Tempe campus and from Hightower’s observations, the locations at the MU and W. P. Carey School of Business had the highest traffic rate. The Starbucks shops in the bookstore and the Palo Verde East residence hall were less busy.
Journalism junior Devin Conley said she goes to Starbucks at the MU occasionally.
“I always assume there’s too many people in line, so I usually pass by,” she said.
Hightower said this needs to change in order to provide better services to students like Conley.
“We realized we needed to create a space that was conducive for students to work on homework, meet with their peers and pretty much spend their afternoons there,” Hightower said.
ASU works closely with Aramark, a food, facilities and uniform services company, to make these changes.
Krystal Nelson, the district marketing manager for Aramark, conducts a survey every semester with Sun Devil Dining to see what students want on campus.
“We recently added a Qdoba to the MU, and students were very happy,” Nelson said. “This time the students didn’t seem to want any more food variety. We just needed to improve what we had already built.”
The Starbucks will switch spots with Einstein Bros. Bagels. The renovations to Starbucks will include a redesigned patio with garage doors for open-air access and a larger seating area. The evening hours will also be extended.
“We want to create that Starbucks experience,” Hightower said.
The plans for this renovation have been in the works since late fall 2013. Both ASU and Aramark needed time to draw up redesigned building templates along with a time frame on the construction. Hightower said the renovations should be completed by the beginning of the fall semester in late August.
Starbucks is one of the most heavily populated hang-outs on the Tempe campus, and the new renovations will provide even more space for students, generating more customers.
But not all are excited for the new Starbucks.
“Honestly, I would prefer if Einstein stayed where it is,” Conley said. “I love bagels more than my cup of coffee, and there’s one (Starbucks) at the W. P. Carey School, but I do know a lot of my friends won’t be late for class anymore waiting in that long line.”
Reach the reporter at Natalie.Crandall@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @natlesroseann