Jamba Juice Squeezed Out

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Jamba Juice behind bars
The university’s contract with Jamba Juice expires next year, and the plan is to replace it with a 24/7 café offering juice and all-day breakfast. (Melissa Stihl|Foghorn)

Bon Appétit has already begun the initial stages of developing a 24/7 café on the first floor of the University Center to replace Jamba Juice, whose contract ends next semester. “Our main goal is to have a 24/7 business up and running by spring of next year,” said Holly Winslow, general manager for Bon Appétit at USF. But don’t worry, Razzmatazz-fans, there will still be a full juice bar.

The theoretical café boasts a take-out style with retail goods, a juice bar, all-day breakfast with assorted oatmeal and burritos, a variety of high-end frozen foods, and pizza. Students will be able to lie out on big, comfortable couches and keep up with current events by watching one of the large flat-screen televisions. “Think of a cross between Crossroads and the caf,” said Winslow.

Across the country from UW to UPenn, major universities are beginning to offer some type of 24/7 café to their student populations. “I do a lot of research at several of the big schools, and they are all moving towards these cozy, comfortable settings for groups of students to meet whenever. We need to supply students with other things to do on campus after 9 p.m. That’s where we need to be,” said Winslow.

Alex Platt, student body president, whose office is right across from Jamba Juice, thinks the 24 -hour idea would be much more successful than Jamba Juice, whose hours are limited to 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

“People often come into the office here for their Muni passes and then just go off about how Jamba Juice is closed. I think students really want something that’s open around their schedule,” said Platt.

The biggest challenge facing the Bon Appétit planners will be creating a location that allows for 24/7 access yet is still exclusive to USF students. “Our top priority at Bon Appétit is to offer a healthy, safe environment for the students and the workers while still providing a quality product,” said Winslow. “The number of entrances currently throughout the University Center would make some people hesitant to allow students onto the premises at all hours of the day.” However, due to Jamba Juice’s size and position already on an outside corner of the building, renovating the location would actually be fairly inexpensive and speedy, according to Winslow.

Another issue involved with the planning will be staffing the café. Due to the massive increase in hours needed per week to run the facility, some of the positions will have to be filled by non-students. “Having non-student, full-time workers will definitely add to the café’s accessibility and success,” said Winslow.
Jamba Juice, whose presence on campus began in 2002 when it replaced Taco Bell, will be ending a seven-year contract with the school. When Bon Appétit came on in the fall of 2003 though, Jamba’s agreement was originally set for 10 years but was shortened to seven. “Most companies don’t even have 10 -year contracts anymore as it binds the business in for so long that it becomes susceptible to overpricing and inflation,” said Winslow.

Many students hold some sort of nostalgia toward the last franchise business on the USF campus.
“There are still days when the lines are just out the door,” said Willie Couther, head manager for Jamba Juice for the last two years. “I know all the prospective student tours go by here, too. So I’d like to think this is one of the first things a lot of students even see when they come here for the first time.”
“Based on my experience at Crossroads, I am naturally skeptical of any student-run or Bon Appetit-managed café taking over Jamba Juice,” said freshman Daniela Ricci-Tam. “At least Jamba has consistent products, even if the hours change daily.”

Alia Al-Sharif, vice president of Social Justice for ASUSF, has mixed feelings about the juice joint departing. “I’m a vegan, so I always enjoyed their soy smoothies, but I feel like it was just too small of a location because they would always run out of soy, which I would have to buy from Crossroads and add myself.”
No matter what happens in the future, though, Bon Appétit will still be serving Jamba Juice until all the arrangements are finalized. “We are still only in the research phase, after all,” said Winslow.

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