Jamba Juice makes smooth entrance to Cafe Bergson
Mango-A-Go-Go is a-going to be the new thing at the DUC.
Cafe Bergson reopened on Sunday with a surprise for students: the fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie station had been replaced by a Jamba Juice smoothie station.
The idea was first brought to Dining Services by Washington University alumni Jeff Evenson, one of the owners of the Jamba Juice franchise in Missouri and Illinois.
Dining Services decided to install the new juice bar in an attempt to revive Cafe Bergson.
“Around that time we had been talking about how to keep the concept in Bergson fresh,” April Powell, director of marketing and communications for Dining Services, said. “Smoothies were already popular, but we wanted to reinvigorate it. We started to talk with them about bringing it here, creating some brand recognition and bringing in new brands for others to love.”
Dining Services was pleased with the results from the grand opening of the Jamba Juice station.
“Yesterday when I went to the South 40, I couldn’t count how many cups I saw,” Tom Dixon, general manager of the Danforth University Center, said.
The number of smoothies sold Monday totaled 608, and on Tuesday, the total number passed 1,000.
“We’re doing similar volume to a full-scale store, which is pretty astronomical for this space. That’s something to be excited about,” Powell said.
The classic smoothies are made from pre-packaged frozen fruit and vanilla yogurt, which, Dixon explained, means improved consistency from the previous fresh-fruit system. The Jamba Juice smoothies are being sold at the same price as their predecessors.
The new brand of smoothies has been accompanied with a new ordering system, in which students no longer have to stand waiting for their drinks to be prepared. Now, their names are taken at the register, and they can sit until their names are called.
“Now you can sit down and relax [while you wait]…so we can try to avoid the huge bottleneck by the smoothie station and auctioning off drinks. It’s a more relaxed approach,” Dixon said.
New Vitamix blenders were also installed at the cafe, quieter than the previous ones and complete with pre-set speed settings.
Although Dining Services has historically been committed to sustainability and using locally grown products, Powell and Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager for Bon Appetit, do not believe the switch to Jamba Juice will change their commitment. Instead of the Styrofoam cups that other Jamba Juice franchises use, Cafe Bergson uses a recyclable cup that the Missouri and Illinois franchises developed with Jamba Juice.
Powell added that the fruit used by Jamba Juice still meets Dining Services’ standards of sustainability.
“The fruit we’re using is all individually quick-frozen fruit,” Powell said. “That’s something that we can be assured…is being picked when it’s ripe and in season.”
Siddiqui said that the fact that the venture was proposed by a Washington University alumnus factored into the decision to go forward with the installation of the Jamba Juice station.
“When you’re dealing with Wash. U. alums, you can be assured that they’re honest. There’s a lot of peace of mind for all of us [in knowing] that he knows our high standards and expectations,” Siddiqui said.
Siddiqui admitted that the change has put a strain on the employees behind the counter at Cafe Bergson but credited them with the success of the grand opening.
“I saw them last night and they could hardly walk, but they had a smile on their face, and they were like, ‘I know; this is unbelievable.’ They did an amazing job,” Siddiqui said.
Dixon explained that all DUC employees have been trained with Jamba Juice so that they can be called upon to help out at the smoothie stations during busy times.
The employees, although exhausted by the past few days, are excited about the enthusiasm they’ve seen from students.
“It’s been excellent. It’s a little upbeat, but we’re taking it in stride,” Cafe Supervisor Demetrius Eichelberger said. “It’s been a fun experience, and the excitement from the kids is just over the top. If it’s good for them, it’s good for me.”
Powell is optimistic about the future of the station.
“I don’t know that we’ll keep up these kind of numbers—it’ll probably level off a little bit…but I don’t think we’ll see the same volume that we saw with the previous smoothie program,” Powell said.
Student response has been mostly positive.
“Finding out that they were serving Jamba Juice on campus was the happiest day of my life,” senior Neha Nair said. “I go to Jamba Juice regularly at home, so I’m glad it will be part of my routine at Wash. U. I’ve already gotten smoothies two days in a row.”
Cafe Bergon “is definitely prettier and way more legit than before,” sophomore Meghan Zecchini said. “If I want a smoothie, I’ll definitely get one now—before it was just crushed ice and liquid juice. They definitely upped their game.”
Junior Eugenia Paz said she was turned off by the $4.85 price of the smoothie, but she was still excited that Jamba Juice had come to campus.
“Mango-A-Go-Go is my jam,” she said. “I won’t come here a lot unless they lower the prices, though. It’s a little expensive. But I love it and I would get it occasionally. I’m a big fan.”