Dunkin Donuts in Beren Caf Garners Mixed Reviews From Students

By: Shira Krinsky  |  November 24, 2017

Towards the beginning of November students in the Le Bistro Cafe, located in the basement of the 215 Lexington Building, began to notice some changes. The old coffee and ice machines were replaced by new, official Dunkin Donuts machines. Dunkin Donuts hot and  cold coffee machines, as well as milk machines and a new ice and water machine were all installed. A hot chocolate machine with various official Dunkin Donuts flavor options and a Dunkin Donuts iced tea machine were added as well. And just a few days after the drink machines were put in, a new display case filled with Dunkin’ Donuts donuts and muffins was put up. .

These additions are part of a new partnership between Yeshiva University and Dunkin Donuts. Joseph Cook, the Executive Director for University Operations, told The Observer that YU has been “working on this for quite some time, to enhance the coffee and bakery options at all the campuses.” YU is beginning this initiative in the Le Bistro Cafe as well in the cafeteria of  Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

While many have welcomed the changes, both the drink machines and baked goods have engendered some negativity from a number of Stern students. Senior Goldie Felsenstein posted in the popular facebook group “Stern College: In the Know” soon after the changes were made, “Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering why the Caf is getting progressively unhealthier? I usually don’t like to complain, but the new donut station just blew my mind. The options for clean eating (especially for athletes and lactose people) are so limited and sometimes unavailable. Anyone else feel this way? How can we change this?” Her post generated over forty comments about the situation.

Other students have expressed different frustrations with the changes. One such frustration is that the  new Dunkin Donuts machines have less coffee options than were available in the old machines. Senior Miriam Pearl Klahr explained that “I don’t particularly like Dunkin Donuts coffee and preferred the old machines, especially since now there is no longer a latte option.” Junior Tova Sklar agreed that, “It’s annoying that there’s no coffee other than the regular one,” and although she did admit that, “the mint chocolate chip hot chocolate is really good,” she still does not think that it makes up for the lack of coffee options.

Another complaint that has gained a considerable amount of attention is that, as a result of the partnership with Dunkin Donuts, cups are no longer free for students to fill with water and ice, as they had been previously. Cups now cost 25 cents, while a cup with ice 50 cents.  Another post on the Facebook group “Stern College: In the Know” about this specific change gathered over 80 comments from upset students. Cook explained simply that, “In order to bring Dunkin Donuts in we had to meet certain requirements. This was one of them.” While Sklar noted that, “the cup situation is annoying,” she noted the positive side, “it makes me more conscious of what I’m doing.”

Anat Jacobson, who is the Food Service’s Liaison for the Student Life Committee on the Beren Campus, told the Observer that although she is aware of the complaints, “I think ultimately people are going to be happy. There are always going to be people that complain, but there have also been a lot of positive comments.” In reference to the donuts specifically she noted that, “people were requesting desserts [and] everything is selling really well.”  

Jacobson also emphasized  that she wants to work to make students happy with the options in the cafeteria, but “I want to take productive suggestions. Don’t just say ‘give me healthier options.’” She noted that, “the caf is working to offer more healthy, as well as unhealthy, alternatives. For example, the salmon that is served now is a better grade of fish, and we have added a quinoa bar and an oatmeal bar to the 245 cafeteria.”

Some students have also become frustrated with  the general atmosphere of complaining that has permeated the student body as a result of these new Dunkin Donuts additions. Junior Avigail Adouth said simply that, “people need to have self control and stop being babies.” Junior Lily Ghelman expressed a similar sentiment. “I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill. However,” she noted, “I do understand that it can be hard for some people to exercise self control.”

Junior Rachaeli Moskowitz has taken a different approach towards new situation. She told The Observer that she is grateful for changes. “Now there is one section of the caf that has a calorie count,” she said in reference to the new donut display and drink machines. “The caf is improving their options all around, both healthy and unhealthy, and overall there is more food. I really appreciate when the caf gets new food options and better variety. My food is a big part of my day, and I’m so much happier when I have more to choose from,” she said.

The new Dunkin Donuts additions have sparked much conversation among the students, and seems to have resulted in other practical changes to the cafeteria. Felsenstein updated her post on the Facebook group and wrote “UPDATE: Just spent 45 min with Sharon (head of food services) and went over everything with her, and all of your requests. She said after the 27th [of November] she will start implanting the changes. Thank you all for the feedback!!” Felsenstein told The Observer that she saw many changes that she was happy about after talking to the staff of Food Services, such as more fresh vegetables, whole wheat bread for breakfast, chia seeds in the yogurt bar, and diet iced coffee. She is confident that she will see many more changes that she is happy with in the future.