Smooth Transition: Blend to open, triggering possible Cafe Allegro relocation

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Located in the Lilly Center, Blend Smoothie Bar served smoothie and juice before the COVID-19 pandemic. Having been closed for a year and a half, it is scheduled to be reopened before spring semester ends, according to Travis Linneweber, associate vice president of finance & administration. The exact date is still under discussion. 

John Hecko, general manager of Bon Appetit at DePauw, said the place was closed during the lockdown, and the staff who used to work there have been assigned to different works or have left. To be able to reopen Blend Smoothie Bar, the Bon Appetit team is working on the share of human resources among dining locations on campus and student recruitment.

“A student reached out to me one day and asked about reopening Blend…He said he knows why it’s closed, he wants to be a part of the solution, he wants to offer up his services. He was the first student I hired through this next phase. And I put him in charge of student recruitment. And he's bringing the list of students and talking to students who have filled out applications so that we can continue to move forward. And that’s been a wonderful thing,” Hecko said.

Hecko added that the team is working with the athletic department to determine the time when students most often go to the gym, and open the Blend Smoothie Bar accordingly. 

“It doesn't make any sense for me to throw staff at [the Blend Smoothie Bar] when there are only 25 students in [the Lilly Center]. But at a time when it’s packed, that's when we want to be there,” Hecko said. 

Linneweber said the team is also considering closing Cafe Allegro and serving coffee along with smoothie and other beverages at the Blend Smoothie Bar. The reason is that the space at Cafe Allegro is small and does not allow many staff to work there. 

“It is more conducive to more staffing. And then it's also conducive to just how much we can fit there in terms of equipment, and layout. So [Blend Smoothie Bar] got more room and more versatility,” Linneweber said. 

He added that nothing has been decided in terms of closing Cafe Allegro. “We know that there's not an easy solution. Because if we have to choose between Blend and Allegro, people that are student athletes, folks that are in Lilly a lot are going to prefer Blend. Folks that are more of a coffee drinker, that are in GCPA more are going to prefer Allegro.”