UCR’s Starbucks — located inside the Market at Glen Mor 2 — launched its grand opening ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. The ceremony was attended by over 20 people, many of the dining and housing service representatives, and began with a coffee tasting session, hosted by the Starbucks Manager Bernie Weiss, and a ribbon cutting session by Executive Dining Director Cheryl Garner.

As part of the taste testing, Weiss introduced the Parry Estate coffee to 14 attendants. The coffee was grown in Kona Hawaii on top of the hills, which Weiss said contributed to its tropical and fruity flavor. After discussing the coffee, Weiss delivered a short speech regarding the importance Starbucks has on local communities such as having a friendly atmosphere.

According to Weiss, Starbucks aims to provide a climate which will attract customers who live around the community, in addition to students. “Here in Southern California we can’t really tell what season it is, but people know it’s fall once the pumpkin spice latte arrives on the menu,” Weiss explained regarding the value the franchise holds for it’s customers.

Garner also touched upon the importance the community plays in regards to Starbucks atmosphere and had the student workers behind the counter recite the company’s mission statement, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

According to Campus Restaurant Director Duane Gornicki, the restaurant had light sales during the summer, which was expected as many students were not on campus. Despite this, Gornicki expects sales to improve. “What we’ve seen over the course of these weeks that we’ve been open, we’re now getting people from the Riverside community … and now our students are staying with us later in the evening,” Gornicki explained.

The restaurant also more than doubled its staff from 40 student workers to 95 during the course of the summer. In addition, operating hours have also been extended to 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. According to Weiss, adding more student workers allows them “to go to class and be flexible but meet the needs of the business.”

Weiss also elaborated on the fact that UCR’s Starbucks is the first to be completely owned by the UC regents. Despite the regents’ ownership, Weiss stated that the campus Starbucks has the “same standards, same offerings, same food, same culture, but it’s a little different size and a little different feel.”

Mimi Wong, a third-year business major and Starbucks employee explained how the new school year will likely increase the restaurant’s business. “There were days without any customers, usually on weekends, but now it’s definitely getting busier,” Wong stated.