Behind the College of DuPage Starbucks

Karyn Schlecht talks about being a manager at the COD Starbucks.


Image by: Jona Padua

Jona Padua, Staff Writer

Why did you choose Starbucks to work at?

“I used to work at a Starbucks inside a Target before coming to College of DuPage. I stayed because I really enjoyed the atmosphere and their business philosophy: ‘To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.’

As someone who works for Starbucks, do you personally drink and eat the food they provide often? Why would you choose Starbucks over other coffee places?

“Prior to working for Starbucks, I really wasn’t familiar with what drinks I liked or how to order at all. I am just a regular coffee drinker. What separates me from going to different coffee places is my personal beverage of choice. I knew going into Starbucks I would get a quality beverage. When you compare the product to, let’s say, a Dunkin’ or a McDonald’s, there is no comparison. Starbucks brings a heart to your smile when you see the logo because you know what you’re getting.”

How is a customer’s experience on campus different from that of a Starbucks on the street?

“It’s more of a one-on-one basis. Unlike a Starbucks that would be just on the street, you don’t have just the casual driver. You have students who could share the same classes as the workers, even teachers just standing in line. This Starbucks creates a different relationship with each person that you wouldn’t get on the street. There’s a closer knit community at our Starbucks. There’s repeat customers, even more than once a day. Students, faculty, and staff all know who each other is and create those relationships. They get excited about Starbucks.” 

How do the other aspects of Starbucks other than the relationships created contribute to the marketing of Starbucks?

“They create a place and an atmosphere that is just going to draw you in. They do have the marketing of the cube cups or the different mugs in each location that you can collect. It creates something that is more personal, like the reusable cups before Covid as well. Merchandising is an aspect that keeps people coming back. Starbucks creates that place that just draws you in. It’s really in the core of the product that they serve, the artistry behind the counter. It’s just fascinating to watch. Seeing the people behind the counter create that environment, it’s really about the people who make the store.”

So what is the goal for the Starbucks at COD?

“Starbucks has a saying that we want our stores to be the customer’s third place. They have home, they have their workplace, but we want Starbucks to be their third place where they can go to. Our demographic are college students, and we want to help them get through the day, through finals week. I will always choose Starbucks over a different coffee company.”