Home2019-2020The Bistro’s pricing changes support student employees

The Bistro’s pricing changes support student employees

Claire Alongi, Staff Writer

The Bistro is a Willamette icon. The campus coffee shop has been serving students, faculty and community members for a little over 30 years. From coffee and hot chocolate to pastries and full meals, the Bistro is a one-stop shop for people looking to eat, study or simply sit and talk. Perhaps one of the Bistro’s most memorable features is its selection of massive cookies. Sometimes as big as a little plate or even a face, Bistro cookies are practically a campus currency: ask for a favor, offer a Bistro cookie. 

Until recently, all Bistro cookies cost one dollar. But when the doors opened this year, patrons were greeted with a sign announcing that certain cookie prices were increasing. While it was initially a bit of a shock, at the end of the day the Bistro cookie price raise is spilled milk (or perhaps a white chocolate mocha) not worth crying over.

The change came down to statewide minimum wage increases, which meant higher costs of employee labor. 

The price increase means that cookies that are more expensive still only cost around $1.50 or $2.00; those are the specialty cookies. Staples like chocolate chip, peanut butter and vegan chai cookies still bear the classic one dollar price. If you don’t want to pay an extra 50 cents or a dollar, there are still plenty options to choose from. 

The Bistro raised its cookies prices for a good reason, which Bistro general manager Tania Palafox (‘20) explained.

“We raised cookie prices primarily because the minimum wage went up. We’re not a big corporate business so we don’t make large amounts of profit to have been able to sustainably pay our employees what they deserve,” said Palafox. So really, the reason that cookie prices went up was not to extort their lovely patrons (by charging an extra dollar or two) but so that the Bistro can continue to pay its employees what they deserve. Palafox also explained how they determined which cookies would get the price bump.

“The way we chose which cookies to raise prices for was simply based on ingredients. Cookies with more expensive ingredients like matcha, M&M’s, special frosting, etc. have been raised. Any cookie that is also particularly time consuming to make would also have a raised price,” Palafox said.

Britt Shunn-Mitchell (‘21) isn’t bothered by the Bistro cookie price increase. 

“I would die for Bistro cookies at any price. They get me through the day. I appreciate that they have vegan options,” she said. She said that having vegan options means a great deal to her, since finding good vegan options can be hard.

Niki Kates (‘21) wasn’t that bothered by the price change because she recognized the reality of the situation. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal because the Bistro needs to make money and they’re still offering cookies for a dollar,” she said.

Kitchen manager Andrea Rivas Ireheta (‘20) is grateful for Bistro customers being flexible about the changes, “All of us at the Bistro are grateful for our customers’ understanding when changes occur and we will continue to be transparent about future changes when they arise!” 

clalongi@willamette.edu

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