Dunkin’ Donuts open on ground floor of Norris


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern students wait in line Monday afternoon at the new Dunkin’ Donuts in Norris University Center. The restaurant replaced a space previously occupied by Frontera Fresco.

Rebecca Savransky, Campus Editor

Dunkin’ Donuts had a soft opening Monday on the ground floor of Norris University Center.

Norris executive director Kelly Schaefer said the franchise was staffed and “ready to go” as of last week, but employees will be working to smooth any issues that arise prior to the April 10 grand opening.

Rachel Tilghman, Sodexo marketing manager, said the cafe’s opening has been going well and students have been expressing excitement about the addition.

“It has been pretty smooth thus far,” Tilghman said. “Overall everything was positive. People felt that they were moving through the line pretty quickly and were really excited to have Dunkin’ on campus.”

Tilghman said the cafe’s grand opening will include a presentation involving speeches from students and campus administrators and free samples and giveaways. She said she is still working to secure the attendance of several administrators but there will likely be representatives from Associated Student Government and Sodexo.

“We’re very excited everyone’s coming together to support Dunkin’,” Tilghman said.

The cafe’s hours, which were determined through student input and survey responses, will be similar to those at Starbucks during the week but will close earlier on Friday and Saturday and open later on weekends, Schaefer said. Monday through Thursday, Dunkin’ Donuts will open at 8 a.m. and close at 11:45 p.m.

Schaefer said the chain will have a full menu with the exception of espresso drinks, due to the previously established contract with Starbucks. Although both franchises sell coffee, the addition of Dunkin’ is meant to bring more variety to students rather than directly compete with Starbucks, Tilghman said.

“There are just different options and the donuts and sandwiches are just a different taste,” she said.

She said she is also looking into creating a rewards program for the cafe, but the details for that system have not yet been established.

In advance of the official opening, the franchise held “stress tests” to prepare the staff and eliminate any problems. Schaefer said during the tests, the cafe operated normally and participants were given coupons and asked to evaluate the service they received.

She said she attempted to gather a wide variety of individuals to participate in order to effectively gauge the cafe’s service and ensure all internal errors were fixed.

Although the employees are new and still learning how to work with the equipment and prepare the food, there have not yet been any problems, Tilghman said.

“Our employees did really well to study and practice, and I think the stress tests last week really set us up to do well,” she said.

Schaefer said she is excited about the official opening and thinks the franchise will be a positive addition to Norris.

“It was always our goal to open on the first day of Spring Quarter so we could delight students on the first day of the quarter,” Schaefer said. “Overall, we’re excited that we can bring a variety of offerings to Norris.”

Students said they were eager to see the cafe open when they returned from break and are looking forward to making use of its late-night hours and affordable menu.

“I’m happy I can use my meals on something like this,” Communication sophomore Veronica Johnson said. “It’s a good value, much cheaper.”

Email: rebeccasavransky2015@u.northwestern.edu