Grande mocha. Quad. Non-fat. No whip. 135 degrees. Half-pump vanilla.
No matter how elaborate a student’s coffee order is, they can get it at Starbucks. And now they can also find Starbucks beverages at Las Positas College.
“I love it,” said Lisa Duran, English professor at Las Positas College, “It’s like a real college now.”
There is a catch, though. Starbucks is Fresh & Natural’s vendor for coffee products, according to chief operating officer Norma Moreno.
So technically speaking, LPC does not have a Starbucks on campus, just a kiosk that sells Starbucks products. The distinction is evident in the limitations, as Starbucks faithful will miss out on some usual perks.
For example, customers can’t use Starbucks gift cards.
Moreno said Fresh & Natural does plan to offer a loyalty or gift card in the future. But, no, caffeine addicts can’t swipe their gold card and earn credit towards a free drink and java junkies can’t use that $5 gift card they’re keeping in their wallets for emergencies.
“I haven’t even tried,” said Sarah Baker, a sophomore Nursing major, when asked about using her My Starbucks Rewards (gold) card.
“I would love that,” Baker said when asked about interest in the possibility of a Fresh & Natural gift card. “I just had my birthday and I got like five (Starbucks) gift cards, and I can’t use them here.”
Fresh & Natural Food Service Group, who operates the cafeteria in the new student center, is responsible for bringing this caffeine monster to the Las Positas campus. Previously, students had to get their Starbucks fix over the ramp at the plaza off the Airway exit.
It can take as long as 18 minutes to drive from campus to the Starbucks on Airway, get one’s cup of joe from the drive-thru and then get back to campus. That doesn’t account for the trip from class to the car and the unpredictable amount of time it takes to find a new parking spot (after one gives up the first spot to leave campus).
“It’s really convenient,” Baker said. “When I’m in a rush between classes, I don’t need to go all the way to Airway if I need coffee.”
Now, instead of a trek across 580, getting one’s fix is as simple as meandering to the campus cafeteria. Students no longer risk losing their spot in the shade of the parking lot. No threat of a tardy return to class.
“We need places like this,” said Josh Mount, a sophomore Engineering major. “As long as they’re not too expensive.”
The campus Starbucks comes with all the convenience of a localized coffee house but without the double-pump prices. Fresh & Natural kept the prices similar to that of the Airway location instead of tacking on a convenience fee.
Another drawback of the on-campus kiosk is the limited menu. The Starbucks in the student center only offers the most commonly sold beverages. So students won’t be able to quench their thirsts for their favorite flavored iced teas or Arnold Palmers. Students can, however, get their Chai Tea Latte or White Mocha.
Fresh & Natural does intend to include Starbucks’ seasonal items, too. This includes promotional items as well as seasonal beverages.
Although the employees are that of Fresh & Natural, Moreno did say that Starbucks does provide training and equipment. She went on to say that this allows students to get “the same great service and quality that you receive in a Starbucks corporate store.”
And students don’t even have to leave the campus to indulge.