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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Campus dining reopens two locations after pandemic-related labor shortage

Whispers Café opens for the first time since the pandemic, Hubies reopens after closing for a year

<p>&nbsp;Whispers Café and Hubies have re-opened on UB’s North Campus.&nbsp;</p>

 Whispers Café and Hubies have re-opened on UB’s North Campus. 

Campus Dining soft-reopened two dining locations — Whispers Café and Hubies — on Feb. 27, and both locations started their normal operating hours Monday.

Whispers Café in Capen Hall is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hubies, located in the Ellicott Complex, is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Menus at both locations will be “slightly modified” from their pre-pandemic counterparts, but Campus Dining expects to expand both menus “later in the semester,” Raymond Kohl, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Campus Dining, said in an email to The Spectrum.

The menu at Whispers Café at Capen, Whispers Café at Abbott and Perks is built from the We Proudly Serve Starbucks program. The program helps businesses by supplying them “a wide variety of premium, easy-to-use coffee equipment, from self-serve brewing options to fully automatic espresso machines and specialty coffee and tea experiences.”

All three dining locations have a variety of beverage options such as teas, coffees and refreshers.

Whispers Café has been closed since it shut down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The opening of Whispers at Capen is happening now, as several pieces of equipment necessary for the operation needed to be installed,” Kohl said. “Supply chain issues for both consumable products and equipment still plague many industries, especially food service.” 

Campus Dining hopes that the reopened locations will “reduce wait times amongst our other locations while providing more food and beverage options,” Kohl said.

Campus Dining was unable to staff all existing dining locations due to a national pandemic-related labor shortage.

Hubies had previously reopened for the fall 2020 semester and was operational through the spring 2021 semester with limited hours and menu options. After the end of the spring 2021 semester, the location remained closed for over a year.

“It was necessary to staff our core operations first and then bring on satellite locations as more staff were on-boarded,” Kohl said.

If Campus Dining can continue to recruit staff, it will adjust the hours of operation for these locations, if possible, Kohl said. Campus Dining has also reopened the New York Deli and Diner in Talbert Hall and Pistachio’s Bread Box in the Student Union this semester.

Morgan S.T. Ross and Sol Hauser contributed to reporting for this story. 

Victoria Hill is the senior news editor and can be reached at victoria.hill@ubspectrum.com  

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