After a 14-month construction period and a highly anticipated opening on Oct. 11, the new ASUCD Coffee House seems to be thriving.
Student opinion of the CoHo is generally positive and business is going well.
“I think it’s a great atmosphere for eating and studying and a good place to hang out in between classes,” said Emily Neary, first-year international relations major.
The renovation cost approximately $9 million and was funded by a 2004 referendum that devoted $8 a quarter per student from student fees. The redesign includes the addition of menu items such as smoothies, located at Swirlz, and sushi, which can be purchased at Chopstixx.
The goal of the remodel was to improve seating, increase efficiency and to present the CoHo as an individual and unique part of UC Davis, said Darin Schluep, food service manager of the CoHo.
“We’ve renamed all of our service areas,” he said. “We’re just trying to brand the coffee house venues a little bit and give them all their own personal identities.”
While there have been some changes, the CoHo still includes many customer favorites.
“A lot of stuff has come back that people really loved, and it seems as if our customers are happy with the changes,” Schluep said.
Some students have complained about a rise in prices. However, Schluep points out that while some item prices have been raised, other prices have been lowered.
“For example: a bagel with cream cheese. Its price has been reduced, but I know our coffee prices did go up. We tried to keep prices the same as much as possible, but there were some fluctuations, both up and down,” Schluep said.
Some students agree that while the prices have fluctuated, there were no outrageous changes in prices.
“TexMex is a little bit more on the expensive side, but other than that I feel like the bagels and pizza are pretty much the same,” said Rosio Gonzalez, senior Chicano/aO studies major.
With the remodel, both employees and patrons are still getting used to the new set-up. Despite the goal of efficiency, lines seem to still be long and unorganized, said Sarah Johnson, senior animal science major.
“I hope it slows down a little bit because I’m not encouraged to come here at lunch,” she said. “You spend half of your lunch inside waiting in a line.”
While the numbers are still being compiled, the new CoHo is doing slightly better business than when they first closed for construction over a year ago. However, this is a significant increase compared to sales of the interim CoHo, which were at roughly 60 percent.
“We weren’t able to open on the first day of school, and that’s a problem because students and the university community develop habits of where they can eat,” said Mark Champagne, ASUCD business manager.
Champagne also suggested that the lack of a significant increase in sales could be related to the general economy and the considerable increase in student fees.
However, while sales have not seen a major boost quite yet, Champagne is optimistic about the future.
“We expect sales to go up significantly with the more people who find out about us and the more people who give us a shot,” Champagne said.
HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.