Starbucks to take over Finnerty Express at UVic

Stock image via Pixabay.

Starting in the fall of 2019, corporate coffee beans will finally arrive at UVic, as Finnerty Express Café in the UVic Bookstore transitions to a Starbucks.

UVic’s long time moratorium on third-party food chains was lifted for the first time in 2016, with the introduction of Booster Juice and Bento Sushi to campus cuisine. Prior to that, the last chain venue at UVic was Tim Hortons, which left campus in the mid-2000s.

“Starbucks has the brand power to support and contribute to a more vibrant campus environment through extended hours on nights and weekends,” said Jim Forbes, Director of Campus Services.

According to the University, surveys were conducted with students and faculty that identified Starbucks as the desired brand to bring to campus.

“A lot of customers are upset. We’ve been getting not great feedback, and the employees aren’t super stoked about it.”

However, at time of writing, there is little information available about the nature and results of these surveys.  

“UVic remains committed to 100 per cent self-operated food service businesses (staffed by our employees including the new Starbucks),” said Forbes.

Employees of the new Starbucks will remain UVic employees under CUPE 951 union, much like employees of Booster Juice, and the current Finnerty staff are anticipated to transition to Starbucks staff.  

Starbucks employees remaining university union members is not unprecedented, as this is the case for employees at all three Starbucks locations at the University of British Columbia.

Some members of the UVic community are not thrilled about the decision, though.

“The UVic Bookstore thanks Salt Spring Coffee for all its support over the years.”

“A lot of customers are upset,” said one current Finnerty Express employee. “We’ve been getting not great feedback, and the employees aren’t super stoked about it.”

This announcement means the effective end to Finnerty’s partnership with Salt Spring Coffee, the Café’s current supplier of coffee beans.

“The UVic Bookstore thanks Salt Spring Coffee for all its support over the years,” reads UVic’s press release.

UVic says that Starbucks will bring more food and drink variety, a full offering of Fairtrade-certified coffees and teas, and their mobile technology to campus.

In response to the announcement, Salt Spring Coffee returned the well-wishes to UVic.

“Salt Spring Coffee has loved supplying coffee to Finnerty,” they said in an email. “Being local, organic, and fair trade, we were a great match with UVic and have enjoyed our many years of partnership!”

“We are sad to see Finnerty go, but also wish the best to Starbucks in providing the same high quality service to the staff and students. Salt Spring Coffee is happy to partner up with UVic in the future in whatever format we can.”

This story was updated on Friday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. with comment from Salt Spring Coffee.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information is made available.

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