Campus Dunkin’ Donuts cost over $400,000
By Nadira Wicaksana
The total costs of renovations for the new campus Dunkin’ Donuts amounted to $427,922.04, according to data from the Massachusetts State College Building Authority (MSCBA).
This figure is comprised of construction costs as well as architecture and engineer fees – $391,047.04 and $36,875, respectively, according to Amanda Forde, director of capital renewal at the MSCBA.
The implementation of the University-wide point-of-sale system amounted to $19,117.06, which was included in construction costs.
The new Dunkin’ Donuts cafe opened in the McCarthy Center on Oct. 9, following a soft launch on Friday, Oct. 6. The coffee and donuts shop replaced the Starbucks cafe and its adjoining study space and furniture, making room for a full-service cafe and queue area.
The move to change Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts was part of the major Dining Commons renovations, a million-dollar construction project that occurred over the summer before the fall 2018 semester, according to Ralph Eddy, general manager of Dining Services.
According to Dale Hamel, executive vice president, the renovation project was managed by the MSCBA and funded by Sodexo, the University’s food service provider. The costs will be “amortized” over the next five years according to the terms of the contract with Sodexo.
Hamel added this will not affect the cost of meal plans.
“The DD investment by the food service provider [Sodexo] is addressed through income from
operations,” Hamel said.
Eddy declined to comment on the possible revenue to be made from the Dunkin’ Donuts for
“confidentiality reasons.” During the Irst week of business, Eddy said the location was averaging 650 transactions per day.
Eddy said the price tag of the renovation “was inclusive of all construction related costs, equipment, menu boards, signage, and point-of-sales systems. Essentially, everything but the donuts.”
Despite an “aggressive” schedule, Dining Services previously and “optimistically” anticipated opening Dunkin’ Donuts before the fall 2018 semester on Sept. 1, said Eddy.
He added, “As with any project of this scope, complexity, and timeline, there are unforeseen conditions that often arise.”
Eddy said because of the setback of the Dining Commons’ renovations, more resources that had previously been allocated to Dunkin’ were shifted to focus on the completion of the Dining Commons, in order to be ready for the weekend of Black and Gold Beginnings on Sept. 1.
Eddy added, “Dunkin’ Donuts was placed under consideration based on surveys, focus groups and market research conducted starting in 2015.”
These initial surveys from 2015 with approximately 500 respondents indicated Dunkin’ Donuts was the top brand of choice. It was not until 2017 that Dining Services conducted a follow-up survey to confirm student interest.
A survey sent through email conducted by Dining Services during late November to early December 2017 asked students what they thought of a Dunkin’ Donuts coming to campus, and where the best location for the cafe would be.
Eddy said, “In total, we received 1,007 responses – 65 percent residents and 35 percent commuters – with the top preferred location being the McCarthy Center. In fact, there were only four responses that indicated a Dunkin’ should not be located on campus.”
The first step in construction over the summer was to relocate Starbucks-brand offerings to the McCarthy Center Snack Bar, added Eddy.
“Based on feasibility, logistical considerations, and cost, it was determined that the overall best option was to relocate Starbucks cold brew and hot coffee varieties,” he said.
Eddy added there is discussion to extend Dunkin’ Donuts hours into the weekends, depending on sales and student interest. Currently, the location is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays to Thursdays and closes at 5 p.m. on Fridays.
FSU’s Dunkin’ Donuts accepts cash, credit, RamCash, and Dining Dollars, but does not currently accept gift cards or DD Perks, the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile rewards and payment system.
However, Eddy said Dining Services is currently working with the corporation to “implement a solution” that will allow the on-campus location to accept gift cards.
Eddy added the mobile ordering system is “incompatible with our point-of-sale system, which was selected for its existing use on campus and to ensure that we could accept Dining Dollars and RamCash.”
Junior Gigi Abellard said, “I don’t like that they don’t have DD Perks. I hope they will in the future.”
Sophomore Kyla Mucciarone said, “I’m excited. It’s cheaper than Starbucks, so I like it.”
Junior Jenni Fonesca said, “I love it. My favorite drink is the pumpkin spice iced coffee.”
Other students were upset about the replacement of the Starbucks and the Cyber Café, which was removed to make room for a comparatively larger Dunkin’ Donuts. There is currently no seating and study space on the third floor of the McCarthy Center except for the area next to the Mazmanian Gallery and the Student Lounge.
Sophomore Lino Hernandez said, “I miss Starbucks. I think Red Barn should close down and Starbucks should replace it, so you get the best of both worlds.”
She added, “I think there should be more seating, but it is pretty big.”
Senior Cordelia Stark said, “I’m bummed about the seating. I was OK with the Starbucks, so if they wanted to up the menu and add sandwiches, I wouldn’t have minded.”