September 11, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 8  

Front Page >> News > Coffee competition


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Coffee competition

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

Williams Coffee Pub opened yesterday in the University Community Centre's Centrespot, vying for students' wallets amid established competitors such as Tim Hortons and Quotes Cafe.

"As an alternative to our other coffee operations, we believed [Williams] was a good fit," said Frank Miller, director of hospitality services at Western, the owner of the Williams, Tim Hortons and Quotes operations.

Describing the newcomer as complementary, Miller said the main goal of installing a Williams in Centrespot was to balance traffic in the area. "We need something to reduce pressure [on other operations]," he remarked.

Miller said hospitality services approached Williams headquarters around September 2002 with the intention of setting up a franchise at Western after being impressed with the financial results of a Williams at the University of Guelph.

Around that time, hospitality services opened the bidding process to restaurants wanting to use Western's meal plan (such as The Wave), said Mark Sellars, general manager of the University Students' Council - owner of The Wave and also the space where Williams is now located.

And in February 2003, when the bidding closed and it was determined The Wave was eligible to use the meal plan, hospitality services approached the USC with details of the draft Williams contract, hoping to strike a UCC rental agreement, Sellars noted.

"We [agreed to] forego rent in exchange for the meal plan in The Wave," Sellars said, adding hospitality services waived the regular expenses associated with using the meal plan.

Patti Jameson, VP-communications for the Tim Hortons chain, said competition is always welcomed but noted Williams and Tim Hortons are competing for different markets. "We're unique in that we do sell the highest quality coffee at a reasonable price," she explained.



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