New Coffee on Campus

Lakehead Trades Tim’s for Starbucks and the Persian Man

By: Sam Mathers, News Editor

By now, you’ve probably noticed a change in the coffee being served on campus. Tim Hortons is no longer found, instead Starbucks has taken over in the Agora, and just in time for pumpkin spice season too. And, the ATAC is now serving Persians courtesy of the Persian Man, perfect for – well, any season.

Director of Residence, Conference and Food Services, David Hare spoke to The Argus about the switch. He said that Aramark continually considers their options for different food suppliers “while considering the evolving tastes and desires of the University community.”

According to Hare, the decision to bring the Persian Man to campus came from “its popularity in Thunder Bay and the frequency of times when the University community would request and serve persians at events on campus.” Aramark also makes an effort to include local businesses in the University’s food services. Hare said that “Aramark tries to do business with local companies – it currently uses approximately 20 local food suppliers and vendors and 23% of the food is serves on campus is locally grown or procured from local vendors.”

Up until a few years ago, the Starbucks brew was available in the Chancellor Paterson Library. The decision to bring Starbucks back to Lakehead was based largely on the request from students, faculty and staff for more specialty drinks.

Donna Wesley, who works at the Starbucks on campus is getting used to the switch as well, having also worked there when it was a Tim Hortons. She says the response from customers has been “mostly positive – I have been getting a few [comments about] expenses.” A medium coffee from Tim Hortons is $1.79, while a comparable grande size coffee from Starbucks is $2.10.

Hare says the only feedback he has received has been “for more specialty drinks and food options. We have done our best to increase selection in the limited, temporary space of the current kiosk.” So far, the kiosk has only been serving hot drinks. According to Wesley, the cold drinks will be coming eventually, as they have the prices listed on the menu.

When asked about the implications of replacing a so-called Canadian treasure like Tim Hortons with an American coffee giant, Hare had this to say: “While Tim’s is considered a Canadian icon by lots of people, it hasn’t been a Canadian-owned company for years. It was purchased by Burger King in 2014. Burger King, I should add, is owned by a Brazilian company. In terms of implications, since the return of Starbucks, we have noticed an increase in the demand for speciality coffees at the current kiosk in the Agora, as well as the Library’s coffee kiosk, so I believe Aramark is doing its best to satisfy the wishes of our University community.”

It seems that Starbucks is here to stay, at least for now. The kiosk in the Agora is being expanded to include what was once the Agora Bistro. Hare says: “We are adding more features, daily, as we look forward to the establishment of a full-size and full-service Starbucks in the Agora where our Bistro used to be.” Students can expect the full Starbucks experience sometime in 2018.