Starbucks shutdown

Students lose access to the on-campus Starbucks for five days after drainage issues. Collegian file photo. 


The Starbucks located in Atherton Union unexpectedly shut down for five days from Feb. 14 to Feb. 19 due to a maintenance issue according to Joe Graves, general manager for Bon Appétit management company. Initially closed for minor plumbing repairs, Graves said they became a larger undertaking than the maintenance team expected.

Operations administrative manager John Lacheta said the shutdown was due to a drainage issue. 

“Starbucks experienced a backed-up drain last week that led to the closure of the space while our technicians tried to resolve the issue,” Lacheta said. “When we could not snake the drain, we brought in a vac truck to clean out the pipes to investigate what the cause was, then we found the pipe was no longer in good shape.” 

Lacheta said over time the building could have shifted slightly which could cause the pipe to break and fill with dirt. A portion of the floor had to be cut in order to reach the pipe to be replaced and get the space up and running again. 

According to Lacheta, routine maintenance of storm and sewer lines to ensure they are clean and unobstructed takes place when students are not on campus. 

Lacheta said this circumstance could not have been avoided because they needed to replace the section of damaged pipe. 

Graves said since 2019, when Bon Appétit started operating the on-campus Starbucks, there has not been a time where it has needed repairs this extensive.

Karisma Moll, first-year criminology and biochemistry double major, tried mobile ordering a drink from Starbucks the night before it officially closed, however, when her boyfriend arrived to pick it up, he found the gate down and the store closed. 

Moll said it was incredibly inconvenient to have paid for her drink and the order to have gone through, but not get the drink. She said she was not given a refund. 

He calls me and he’s like, the gates are down,” Moll said. “I’m like this is bullshit. I paid for it. I got the confirmation email and everything.”

Each day, updates were given to students regarding Starbucks’ status through Bon Appétit’s Instagram and signage in Atherton Union. The status of the repairs were monitored on a day-to-day basis.

First-year biochemistry major Makenna Marcinek said the whole situation was irritating. 

“I go there a lot,” Marcinek said. “It kind of helps me get through days sometimes because there is a lack of caffeine that I need to be filled.” 

The expected reopening was Monday, Feb. 21 at the latest, although Starbucks re-opened two days earlier on Feb. 19.

While Starbucks was closed, Plum Market and the Butler Brew continued to offer coffee to students. Butler Brew adjusted its hours during the shutdown, remaining open until 8 p.m. to accommodate students’ needs. It has gone back to regular hours of operations since Starbucks reopened. 

Starbucks is now fully operational and back to its normal hours of operation — 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m on the weekends.


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