Grove Reports Profit; Council to Assess Cafe’s Future

    Although there are currently no plans to shut down the Grove Caffe, A.S. councilmembers say the future of the eatery depends on its ability to maintain viable profit margins. (Joseph Ho /Guardian)

    The Grove Caffe is projected to make an $11,000 profit for the month of October, following significant changes to the student-run business’ internal operations enacted in response to the eatery’s massive debt.

    Chelsea Maxwell, associate vice president of A.S. Enterprise Operations, said she expects the Grove to continue earning a profit in coming months as returning customers and increased catering services bolster the cafe’s financial margins.

    “I think that as time goes on we will gain a strong base of customers loyal to the Grove, and that as we expand our catering services we will be reaching out to more of the UCSD community,” she said.

    Maxwell serves on the Grove Advisory Committee, a nonvoting body responsible for facilitating communication between Grove management and the A.S. Council. The committee plans to meet at least three times before the end of the quarter to discuss pertinent financial issues before establishing a formal meeting schedule for Winter Quarter. While no benchmarks or timetables have been set, Maxwell said councilmembers are closely observing the Grove’s performance to see if the A.S. enterprise is providing a service that interests students.

    “As long as the Grove is producing [a] profit, we see no reason to shut it down,” Maxwell said. “However, if October proves to be an anomaly, and we do not see profits in the months to come, we will then have to make decisions on what to do next.”

    Eleanor Roosevelt College Senator Chris McCoy has called for greater accountability with the council’s oversight of failing student enterprises. As part of his senator project, McCoy is attempting to gain access to the budgets of various A.S. enterprises.

    “Right now [A.S. enterprises] seem to be losing money for us,” McCoy said. “I’m trying to work on how we can reverse that, so we don’t have to resort to raising student fees.”

    McCoy has called for the council to hold a discussion on the Grove, something he said has not occurred because the upcoming A.S. student fee referendum has been occupying the council’s agenda. McCoy plans to speak with Grove management and examine the financial health of the enterprise.

    “What I really think is necessary is just common business sense,” McCoy said. “We have to see if the operation is a good one. Is it necessary?”

    McCoy is reluctant to call for the Grove to be closed, stating that every student enterprise contributes to a more self-sustaining student community.

    “We need to have more of an entrepreneurial spirit and fill in the gaps [with respect] to what students are and are not offered,” he said.

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