Cal Dining adds frozen yogurt machines to the Golden Bear Cafe

Photo: Frozen yogurt machines were recently added to the Freshens section of the Golden Bear Cafe. A sign advertises this yogurt outside the cafe.
Evan Walbridge/Staff
Frozen yogurt machines were recently added to the Freshens section of the Golden Bear Cafe. A sign advertises this yogurt outside the cafe.

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Following changes that have expanded Cal Dining's product offerings, students craving frozen yogurt now have a meal point-friendly location on campus to indulge in the popular treat.

While frozen yogurt machines added to the Freshens section at the Golden Bear Cafe on April 4 have created a buzz among students, off-campus frozen yogurt businesses in the area will now have to compete with the convenient location and payment option the cafe provides.

"I think initially students will try it out," said Huong Vu, general manager of Yogurtland on Bancroft Way. "So I'm sure at the beginning there will be some trials, and we'll lose some traffic."

According to Katie Solinger, assistant director of retail operations at Cal Dining, the decision to include frozen yogurt as part of the menu at the cafe was one part of the sweeping changes implemented by the Residential and Student Service Programs leadership to expand Freshens, the brand that for eight years has offered smoothies and juices at some Cal Dining locations.

"As a student service Cal Dining always hopes that we meet students' expectations," Solinger said in an email. "If a food trend is important to students then it is important to Cal Dining."

Some students said being able to pay with meal points was the main reason they purchased frozen yogurt from Golden Bear Cafe instead of from an off-campus location. While shops like Yogurtland and Yogurt Park offer more variety in flavors and toppings, they do not accept meal points.

"It's just a money issue ... (An off-campus shop) is better, I think," UC Berkeley freshman Rachel Palmer said. "I would definitely go there if we could use meal points."

Palmer, who has a meal plan and regularly eats yogurt, said she likes the variety offered by off-campus stores like Yogurtland but prefers the convenience of meal points as well as the location of the cafe, especially in between classes. She also said students with meal plans often have many meal points left over at the end of the semester, giving students another incentive to buy treats like frozen yogurt.

Campus junior Chardee Galan, a former vegan of four years who only recently changed her diet, said she enjoys having the choice to purchase frozen yogurt at the cafe because she is "still trying to get a feel for it." Being able to use meal points made trying the frozen yogurt more convenient, she said.

"I sometimes pay full price to get into Crossroads just for the sorbet," she said, adding that her friends often do the same.

Vu said that despite students' ability to use meal points at the cafe, she believes many customers will return to Yogurtland because of its variety of flavors and self-service business model. At Yogurtland, customers pay 33 cents per ounce for yogurt and toppings. The cafe charges $2.55 for a 9 oz. cup of frozen yogurt and a dollar more for up to three toppings.

Yogurt Park manager Ryan Piscovich said the emergence of another competitor will not strongly affect business as usual at the store, which charges $3.30 for a 12 oz. cup of frozen yogurt and an additional 80 cents for unlimited toppings.

"I can't imagine it hurting us that much," he said. "There's so many yogurt places around here that it's hard to believe a couple of machines will affect us that much."


Contact Damian Ortellado at [email protected]

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