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Students confused over smoothie change

BY THOMAS JARDINE | FEBRUARY 18, 2015 5:00 AM

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Students are wary of the rebranding of Tropical Smoothie Café and the potential for changes in the menu.

The Tropical Smoothie Cafe at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center will close May 20 and be replaced by a University Housing and Dining-branded location.

The UI has decided to not renew its franchise contract with the popular smoothie company and instead install its own smoothie bar.

“It’s disappointing,” said UI freshman Amy Harding. “The smoothies are great here at Tropical Smoothie, and I don’t want to see the quality go down with this new stand. I just hope that the new stand that the university puts in doesn’t sell dining-hall-quality smoothies.”

University Housing and Dining said in a release it has plans to introduce healthier food items and smoothies to its developing menu, while keeping it similar to Tropical Smoothie’s menu.

Housing and Dining is running a contest for the new location, offering free food to the student who comes up with the new name.

Although the university has tried to generate excitement about the its new smoothie stand, the end of Tropical Smoothie has created a good amount of confusion by UI students about what the future holds for the establishment.

One of the concerns students have is the quality of the new location.

“I would prefer that Tropical Smoothie stay the way that it is and not change,” UI sophomore Huaijing Wang said. “I don’t know what the plans are for the new stand, but I doubt it will be as good.”

Nathan Cox, the manager of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe, said most students do not understand the changes coming to the stand.

“Students should know that not much will change at the smoothie stand,” Cox said. “Other than a new name, the staff will stay the same because they’re hired by the university, and the menu shall stay the same with the addition of student-recommended smoothies and food items.”

He said that because the café will no longer require the menu to meet corporate standards, customers would be able to suggest ideas for new drinks and snacks that may appear on the menu.

Overall, Cox said, students should note this is only an improvement as menu variety will increase with healthier food and drink options currently being developed.

In addition to customer menu input, Von Stange, the assistant vice president for Student Life and the senior director of Housing and Dining, said the new university-owned stand would have greater access to different produce on the new menu.

“Now that the stand will no longer be controlled by the franchise, we will be able to provide more produce options from our prime vendor,” he said. “Smoothie prices should also decrease now that we are no longer paying franchise and retail fees, which is good for everyone.”


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