Study Grounds cafe sees long wait times during fall semester


Photo credit/ Caitlin Ryerson

Both the ordering and pickup lines fill up quickly at the Study Grounds cafe.

Marywood students and staff are finding themselves stuck in line at the Study Grounds/Starbucks cafe, located in the Learning Commons. Lines can be seen backed up past the circulation desk.

Typically, lines start to form after 9 a.m. when students get out of their early morning classes. These long lines exist from late morning through mid-afternoon.

Many factors are influencing the daily rush hour. At the Study Grounds, everything is made to order, from coffees to breakfast bagels. Customization is a key component in separating Starbucks from competitors, as well as a highly sought after option by consumers.

When ordering drinks, people can choose from the size of the cup, the amount of ice, the type of milk, and any additional flavor shots. This customization lengthens the ordering process and takes longer to make.

On top of the complicated ordering process, staffing is also a challenge. Although most of the staff hired have prior experience, staff numbers are low.

“There’s only so many of us, we can only get to things as fast as we can,” says Marywood student and cafe employee Omar Ramos .

After working at the Study Grounds for the past five years, Omar claims that they are “definitely understaffed”.

Louis Mazza, the director of dining services at Marywood University, acknowledges the staffing shortage, claiming that “they are not understaffed, but in transitioning.” This means that there are fewer staff, but Mazza says he is in the process of hiring more.

“Times are challenging, but we’re working through it,” states Mazza.

Actively trying to hire more employees and help out the ones who are currently employed, Mazza is “proud” of the way staff are handling the long lines.

Mazza and Ramos are thankful that students and staff are patiently waiting as employees try their best to knock out orders as efficiently as they can. However, there are a few additional things students and staff can do to help speed up the process.

“I truly believe if more students used [the Boost app], that would reduce the line,” says Mazza.

Students can order ahead of time using the Boost app, scheduling a time for pickup. By using the app, students can pick up their order directly from the pickup counter once it is ready. This also prevents the instant ambush of orders when students get out of class, causing employees to rush out orders to keep the lines moving.

Another way students and staff can help is by leaving feedback. Mazza welcomes and encourages all feedback, hoping to gain more feedback to help improve dining experiences for all students.

“The university really supports dining and wants it to be the best for students,” explains Mazza.

In order to improve the dining experience, valid feedback, both negative and positive, is essential.

Students can provide feedback by text to chat, the Dine on Campus app, or in person. Information on how to provide feedback and to contact Mazza can be found on posters and napkin holders in the Nazareth dining hall and the Study Grounds.

For all the Starbucks coffee drinkers, Mazza hints to keep an eye out for the upcoming customizable Starbucks coffee machine that will be getting set up in the Market at Marywood. This machine will have a digital screen and will provide coffee instantly by bean to cup.

As the school year progresses towards the spring semester, these wait times may start to decrease, whether more employees are hired, or more options such as the Starbucks coffee machine is offered to students and staff.

One aspect that has not affected the long wait times is supply chain issues. Many supply chains were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be an issue worldwide. Thankfully, these supply chain issues have not brought down Marywood’s food services.

“Our staff have been making sure our students here at Marywood are not affected,” said Mazza.

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