Buchanan Hall Home to Barista Café

Buchanan Hall Home to Barista Café
With nearly three years or work behind them, the Barista Café in Buchanan Hall is now a reality. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Learning Community started at Iowa State about three years ago and the members live in Buchanan Hall. Twelve of the 25 students in the learning community have been active in opening the Barista Café.

Megan Todd, now a junior in marketing, has been a part of the learning community since its inception her freshman year.

“A coffee shop seemed like a logical idea,” Todd, now the President and CEO of the Barista Café Co., said. “There are 300 students in this building and thousands over in the Greek community right at our fingertips. It just seemed like a great opportunity.”

Ashley Hunter, a freshman in community and public health, serves as the group’s human resource contact and helped get insurance coverage, worked with the health inspector and also wrote an employee handbook.

“I joined the learning community to learn about business and entrepreneurship because there is not a managing minor at ISU,” Hunter said. “I saw this as a way to get involved and learn more about business.”

Along with all of their other time commitments, these 12 student shareholders in the Barista Café Co. had to make a $500 commitment to this project which included $100 in cash and either another $400 in cash or labor hours. When a member leaves or graduates, they will sell their share to a younger student. The group also received a grant to help make their vision a reality.

“Being a business student I have learned about supply-chain management and all those things in my classes, but until you get to practice it hands-on, you have no idea the reality of it all,” said Todd. “It’s one thing to take a test on it, but when you have to apply it in a business situation where you have money involved, it’s a whole different story.”

To get an idea of what should be on the Barista Café’s menu, the students didn’t have to go far for inspiration.

“We looked at cafés around campus,” Todd said. “We all love the ISU Dining baked goods and we knew we wanted to stick with that.”

They worked with ISU Dining to buy bakery items at a wholesale price and then contacted other distributors to round out the menu with espresso, coffee, tea and other snack items.

The Barista Café will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will close on Saturday and be open on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

If you would like more information on learning communities at Iowa State, check out www.lc.iastate.edu.