Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

From Grubhub to Bell Tower, new coffee-ordering options are ready to meet student demand

A new “ghost” Starbucks will be located in Bell Tower dining hall when it reopens in the fall semester.
A new “ghost” Starbucks will be located in Bell Tower dining hall when it reopens in the fall semester.

As the spring semester comes to a close, a new addition has been made to GrubHub on the Miami University campus: Starbucks. The recent change has affected both the workers at the on-campus Starbucks and the students who frequent the coffee shop.

Further changes will be coming in the fall. Miami’s dining services recently announced the reopening of Bell Tower dining hall in fall 2023. The new, nontypical dining hall will include a “ghost” Starbucks where students can place orders online or at a kiosk.

At the start of the academic year, students who wanted to purchase Starbucks had to wait in line and order in person at the Shiver Center location. Now, not only has another Starbucks location re-opened in Withrow Hall, but students can order ahead and pay with their declining dollars using the GrubHub app for either location.

Olivia Brello, a first-year political science major who frequents Starbucks almost every day, prefers ordering ahead using the app.

“If I'm going in the morning before class, I like to be able to kind of time out when I need to leave and then get there because it'll tell you when it’s ready,” Brello said.

Although ordering ahead can make planning easier, the wait times presented on the app are sometimes unreliable. Brello said, “It’s hit or miss.”

Juan Moya, a sophomore mechanical engineering major who works at the Withrow Starbucks location, said the system is normally accurate but a little behind. 

“The most I’ve seen people waiting is 30 minutes past the time that they had,” Moya said.

The in-person wait times have been affected by the addition of GrubHub as well, as all the orders get put together at the Withrow Starbucks. If a customer orders in-person, their order will be put in the same place as a GrubHub order received at the same time. 

However, the Shriver Center Starbucks does not combine online and in-person orders, creating two separate wait times for customers, due to the high volume of orders at that location.

Photo by Jake Ruffer | The Miami Student
Baristas at the Starbucks in Shriver Center said the physical line has gone down and ordering in-person is faster.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Joe Suek, a junior economics and math major and barista at Shriver Center, said the in-person line and wait has gone down at Shriver, and ordering in-person is likely faster than other options.

“Your best bet for getting a drink quickly is probably in-person,” Suek said. “It is probably going to go a little bit faster just because we can print that and put it in line immediately. If you order online, you're way behind it; everyone's already ordered online.”

The change has also impacted how busy the stores are on a daily basis. Both workers and students said that although the physical lines have gone down, there always seems to be more orders coming in. 

“I feel like we've picked up a little more,” Moya said. “It makes it a lot more busy in peak times. It's kind of rough.”

The longer wait times may not be permanent, though, when Bell Tower’s Starbucks opens up next fall.

Amanda Casey, director of dining services, said in an email to The Miami Student that Bell will include a “ghost” Starbucks, where students place their orders through a kiosk or app, and the coffee is prepared the same way as at other Starbucks locations on campus.

Casey also noted that the updated Bell Tower won’t be a “typical” dining hall, and a meal swipe won’t be required for entry.

“Orders will be placed through Grubhub kiosks or the Grubhub app, and the food will be prepared in the kitchen by our team,” Casey wrote. “Once ready, it will be picked up from a food locker.”

Miami’s dining services hope to shake up the on-campus dining experience with the revamped Bell Tower.

“It's not just about meeting student demand, but also about bringing something truly innovative and exciting to campus,” Casey wrote. “We wanted to make a big splash with Bell Tower's reopening, and what better way to do that than with an all-ghost kitchen dining hall, one of the first of its kind?”

Despite the opening of an additional store, Suek said he doesn’t think a third on-campus Starbucks will reduce traffic at the other locations.

“Shriver is always super busy like this,” Suek said. “I think if you're looking at upperclassmen, that's where you're gonna go, you're driving and stuff. It's really convenient for you in that regard. And I don't see you going into a dining hall for Starbucks.”