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Café Supreme to pump big money into Shatner 103

Restaurant renovations will extend into adjacent student lounge

Café Supreme’s promise to renovate Shatner room 103 factored into SSMU decision last April to sign with the franchise.

The café committed to spend $390,000 plus tax in renovations to the floor, walls, kitchen, and counter in room 103 in the tender proposal obtained by The Daily.

“Improvement of student space is very important to SSMU, and renovations were very much a part of their proposal,” SSMU President Kay Turner said.

Café Supreme – a commercial franchise with over 100 locations across Canada and the Middle East ­– beat other proposals from commercial franchises and student-run café initiatives in a contentious 13-12 vote during the last 2007-2008 Council meeting, which lasted until nearly four in the morning.

While this year’s SSMU executive said it plans to follow through with last year’s Council decision to sign with Café Supreme, but lengthy rent negotiations are delaying the changeover until January.

SSMU VP Finance & Operations Tobias Silverstein was excited about Café Supreme’s plans for major design overhauls in Shatner 103.

“They want to create student space that is available and designed for students…somewhere inviting where students can meet and do group work,” he said.

About eight per cent of Café Supreme’s total start-up costs are allocated to improve SSMU’s adjoining student lounge.

Café Supreme also offered SSMU $5,000 annually in coffee and catering for events like Frosh and Activities Night in exchange for brand visibility.

Café Supreme Marketing Manager Aisha Al-Khabyyr said she hopes that the franchise will meet expectations of students looking for both affordable and ecologically and socially responsible food, noting the café will use ceramic plates and recyclable take-out containers and sell fair-trade coffee.

“We consider our food high quality and high end, but we keep our prices below what other cafés are charging for lower quality product,” she said. Café Supreme will try to adapt prices to fit student budgets, by offering combos with only half a sandwich to keep the price down, she added.

Faykil Ben, who managed the food outlet as a Caferama franchise, will run it without the Caferama branding until Café Supreme takes over and starts renovations in mid-December.