Hart cafe reduces operating hours, disappoints students

Hart’s Thouroughbrewed Cafe has instated new operating hours due to a lack of business this semester, which has upset students and employees of the business.

The cafe, attached to the Hart Residential College, is no longer open on Saturdays, and on Oct. 15 its hours changed from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and now instead opens at 3 p.m.

“Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. the cafe was only averaging about five customers an hour,” Amy Crump, supervisor of Dining Services and Racer Hospitality, said. “We were slightly busier in the morning between 8 and 10, but it still wasn’t enough business to justify being open.”

Crump said she thinks the lack of business in the morning was primarily due to other coffee locations on campus, such as Winslow Dining Hall and the Curris Center Thoroughbrewed Cafe.

She said those venues were much more convenient to the students.

“I think it has a lot to do with choices,” she said. “If given the choice between stopping multiple times, and a one stop shop, most people will choose the one stop. You can go to Winslow and get your breakfast and coffee at the same time.”

Crump said Paula Amols, director of Dining Services, made the final decision for the cafe to be closed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Crump said most of the feedback they received from the students about the switch in hours has been negative.

Anna Esswin, sophomore from Perryville, Mo., said she goes to Hart Thoroughbrewed Cafe, commonly known as Hart Cafe, three times a week and is not happy about the modifications.

“I wasn’t even aware of the time change,” Esswin said, “I feel like they didn’t publicize the change in hours enough.”

Chase Harris, sophomore from Paducah Ky. and resident of Hart Residential College, also said he didn’t like the hours of operation.

Harris was one of approximately 330 people to sign the “Don’t Go Breaking My Hart Cafe” petition, a petition started at Hart Cafe to protest the changes to the opening time.

Crump said the number of people who signed the petition was not representative of the amount of service the cafe had been receiving, and some of the signers may have been confused about the purpose of the petition.

“To my knowledge it was not clearly marked as to what the petition was for,” Crump said. “I think some of the 330 people that signed the petition may have been under the impression that we were closing the cafe completely.”

The minimizing of hours has not only affected patrons of the cafe, but also the cafe’s workers whose hours have subsequently been cut due to the adjustments.

Isaac Natz, senior from Hopkinsville, Ky. and Hart Cafe employee, said because of the switch, there has been a big cut in employee hours.

He said the majority of the student workers are upset, but they understand why the change had to happen.

“I have two opinions, one at a personal level and one at a professional level,” Natz said. “Professionally, I understand why it had to be done; our sales were down 60 percent from last semester. They’ve crunched all the numbers and I’m sure they’ve done them a hundred times over.”

“Personally, all the hours I work here are in the morning,” Natz said. “I usually get off at 3:30, but now we’ll be opening at three. [The change] screws me out of eight hours [of work] a week.”

Crump said they are making every effort to ensure student workers will have the opportunity to pick up any hours they would be losing.

While Hart Cafe has done poorer financially this year, the change in hours is no indication they will be closing soon.

“There has never been any discussions regarding closing the cafe down,” Crump said. “We are completely committed to keeping the Hart Cafe open. We just want to make it a successful venue that the students want to support.”

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer