The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Management talks Cafe’s success

One Green World Café certainly fits its name – from a peek inside one can see it has many elements associated with the “one world” and “green” movements – but it’s also just as clear that the café lacks the bustle of customers associated with a popular coffee shop.

The Gannon University café opened at the beginning of this academic year, and was hailed for its student-created, student-run, student-oriented approach, not to mention its goals to bring cultures together and to promote greenness.

Donna Motilla, the director of business administration, said she thinks the café has successfully lived up to the tenets of its name. She said being a profitable business wasn’t its main goal, but it’s still important. And to up the chances of this, leadership of the One Green World Café was transferred to Motilla’s office, so the café can be run by people who know business.

At the beginning of this semester, the café was closed for a week, as Motilla’s office took over and hired a new management team. She said her office took over because running the café is supposed to be the responsibility of business students, not just a few Gannon administrators.

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The café employs a general manager, who is a graduate student with restaurant experience who oversees the whole operation. Student managers are underneath the general manager and are in charge of running the business. Shift managers are responsible for opening the store and recording what happens to report back to the student managers and the general manager. And, of course, there can’t be a café, without baristas.

Currently, all positions are paid. However, Motilla said they plan to make the student manager positions unpaid internships next year, and she encourages senior business students to take them for credit.

Based on last semester’s experience, the food items offered at One Green World Café have also changed. Motilla said they have started serving more café items like biscotti, muffins, croissants and cheesecake. Not only do these items fit the café scene more, but the food they ordered last semester was pricey. Though they made a profit on it, it was not enough to cover the employee salaries. After much debate, the staff came up with a new menu, which started Monday.

Management discovered this by carefully tracking their sales; a procedure was implemented this semester to make the business more efficient.

Motilla said they can look at graphs printed from the computer and see specific results. For example, she said in two weeks they had recorded selling 51 12-ounce black coffees. At the end of March, the café will present its first financial statement to the administration.

Motilla believes that the café staff has managed costs well, and is becoming better at this as time goes on by applying business strategies. But she said getting more foot traffic is still a concern, and business has slid since the beginning of the year.

They are now closed on Sundays because they didn’t get enough business to pay two barista salaries. The café is most popular from noon to 2 from Mondays through Thursdays. Its items make it attractive as a place to get an afternoon snack or coffee, but Motilla said this is also a problem because it is so out of the way of the class buildings students frequent in the afternoons.

“If you look at the monthly sale, they start really high in August, and they have been consistently slower every month,” she said. “This is a place you have to walk to and I don’t think it’s particularly comfortable to do that in the winter.”

Motilla said its location could be an asset, though. Its close proximity to dorms might it an ideal place for students to hang out and study at night, if they knew it about it.

The challenge is getting people into the café for the first time, because once they see it, they realize that it is a great place to hang out. One way they have tried to get new customers in is by offering special programming at night. This includes poetry readings and movie screenings. Motilla said they are planning to project March Madness on the big screen to draw in new clientele.

They also are running a special for a 12-ounce coffee and biscotti for $1.99, and are discussing giving out coupons.

“I think we have to drive business by letting people know what we have,” she said. “We don’t just have coffee, we have premium coffee. Its better beans, it’s freshly roasted. It’s roasted by people who know what they are doing.”

Motilla said the product has also become more consistent since they opened, and argues that it’s still cheaper than what someone can get at Starbucks.

Though Motilla said One Green World has been more efficient in the spring semester, she believes the slow foot traffic will make it impossible for the café to make a profit at the end of the year, or unlikely to break even. However, she said the administration still supports One Green World because they believe in the mission of the café, and they know it takes a while for a business to be profitable.

Dinah Butt, a graduate student in education who is a shift manager at the café, said she has that business has been slower, but she still believes the café can be a success, especially with the new management team.

“I see that they are applying all their experience with business,” she said. “We are still a start up business even now, and whenever you are setting out on a big project, you have to be patient and cooperate with each other. It’s not going to work out if you do it in a hurry.”

Butt believes like any business, the café is experiencing struggles, but she thinks it is living up to its mission. She said she has met many people and learned about different cultures by working at the café, which employs 50 percent international and 50 percent American students.

“It’s really an enjoyable job,” she said.

And she encourages students to take advantage of the café unique offerings.

“This is definitely one of the best places to hang out,” she said. “It’s has great food, great drinks, coffee – everything students need. Come here, sit, do homework. Utilize this space, it’s your space.”



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