Setback

    Philip Rhie/Guardian
    Philip Rhie/Guardian
    The Grove Cafe’s grand reopening — originally scheduled for last week, following extensive renovations — was postponed after A.S. councilmembers realized the deadline was unrealistic given the scope of the proposed revamp.

    A.S. President Utsav Gupta, who initated the Grove project after he was elected last spring, said the original Week Five projection was overly ambitious.

    Currently, the Grove is roughly $141,000 in debt — a figure that nearly drove last year’s outgoing council to shut down the student-operated enterprise. Gupta ran his Spring Quarter presidential campaign on a promise to revive the ailing cafe.

    Though he originally planned to shut down the Grove during construction, Gupta — along with Associate Vice President of Enterprise operations Rishi Ghosh and Vice President of Finance and Resources Peter Benesch — now plan to serve a limited menu of coffee and pastries while the refurbishments take place. The revamp will include a new deck, outdoor lighting, outdoor plug points for customers with laptops, new indoor flooring, kitchen upgrades including a $3,500 conveyer oven and a newly revised menu which will feature pizza and hot sandwiches.

    Ghosh said the Week Five projection was never concrete, and therefore the project is not technically behind schedule.

    “It wasn’t a realistic deadline to begin with, and it was kind of vague with the intention that when we tell people, it will make them work harder and faster,” Ghosh said. “Realistically, we’re on track, but realistically we’re not going to open for a little while.”

    According to Gupta, however, the project is indeed behind schedule — due in part to an overly optimistic deadline and the failure to consider outside factors, which he said have slowed the process.

    “We were ambitious at setting the deadline for fifth week,” Gupta said.

    University Centers recently agreed to fund outdoor patio renovations, along with half the cost of the cafe’s electrical rewiring. However, Gupta said the university’s funding procedures are slowing the project.

    “It is definitely taking longer than we hoped for the renovations to be completed,” Gupta said. “It takes a lot longer to go through University Centers than we believed, in terms of getting the deck repaired.”

    Also delaying the project, according to Gupta, is a lack of enthusiasm from university officials for his proposal that the cafe accept meal points.

    “That is a delay that we weren’t expecting, in that Mark Cunningham, — the Director of Housing and Dining — is telling us ‘No,’” Gupta said.

    According to Gupta, if students were to dine at the Grove using meal points, food items would be more expensive than if students paid with cash — creating a larger profit for the university. He said he doesn’t understand why university officials are unwilling to cooperate.

    Gupta added that the date of the cafe’s grand reopening is not of great importance.

    “Honestly, a couple weeks here and there aren’t going to make a long-term difference,” he said. “But what will make a long-term difference is if we can do everything right the first time. That’s what we’re most concerned with.”

    However, Ghosh said he doesn’t expect the Grove to reopen until sometime next quarter, with an exact date still uncertain.

    “It will be a surprise, so that the marketing is all in one phase and so everyone gets it at the same time,” Ghosh said. “Also, so no one knows what they can get there.”

    There will be a two-week marketing campaign targeting students before the opening, including flyers and free food.

    “We’re going to have a wave of marketing two weeks in advance so you will know when it happens,” Ghosh said.

    Readers can contact Sarah Smith at [email protected].

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