After a renovation that occurred over the summer on the Talley Student Union Starbucks, customers and employees are praising the drastic improvement in efficiency at the location.
Every five years, Starbucks requires a “refresh” of their stores, which includes certain updates such as repainting and new tilework, according to Shawn Hoch, associate director of NC State Dining. Last summer, Starbucks also required the addition of the Nitro Cold Brew tap. The requirement triggered a larger-scale renovation so that NC State Dining could combine two renovations into one project, which Hoch said was more economical.
The Starbucks renovation involved several changes, including increasing the space behind the counter, adding a second oven for heating up food orders and adding a Nitro Cold Brew tap, according to Hoch.
Jennifer Gilmore, director of marketing and communication for Campus Enterprises, said she believes the Starbucks is “ten times better” than it was before the remodel.
“It was clear what was there was not working,” Gilmore said, referring to the small waiting space and glass walls that surrounded Starbucks before its renovation.
Hoch said the original Starbucks was not created for the current volume it runs at today. He said it also was not built to accommodate the volume of mobile orders from websites such as Grubhub.
“Back when we designed this, probably six or seven years ago at this point now, Tapingo or mobile ordering was practically nonexistent,” Hoch said. “So when we opened this and then operated for two years and we implemented mobile ordering, it was a very difficult fit.”
Discussions for the project started in 2017 and planning began in 2018. Hoch estimated the entire project was below $300,000. He also said sales should help pay back the costs of renovation.
In addition to a more open area, Hoch also said the layout behind the counter runs more smoothly now that employees have more space and the layout has been made more efficient.
“As Starbucks grew, it became a lot more stressful for the staff,” Hoch said. “They were walking into each other, it was difficult to get around them … You had to walk three steps to get ice, you had to turn around, go over here to grab another container, reach under this counter four steps away, and so you were doing this kind of dance around the station to get everything you needed to make a particular beverage.”
Clarissa Hopkins, Starbucks supervisor, said the remodel has allowed staff to fill orders at a faster pace.
The renovation also increased storage spaces so more items can be kept in-house, according to Hoch.
“The amount of volume we were going through, we couldn’t keep enough product in-house,” Hoch said. “Whether it’s dry storage or cold storage.”
With the area being more open, Hoch said it allows for people to browse Wolfpack Outfitters while waiting for their orders.
“While they’re waiting on a drink, they can look at the latest technology in the bookstore, what sales they might have,” Hoch said.
Some students gave positive feedback about the renovation, saying that it is far more functional than years past.
“It’s a lot more roomy,” said Gabby Hansen, a second-year studying chemistry. “I think it runs smoother. There’s not as much confusion and cluster.”
Hoch said future plans for the Starbucks include making improvements to the seating area on the first floor of Wolfpack Outfitters.
Information about store hours can be found on the NC State Dining website.