ISU Dining replaces punch cards with daily drink deals


Tomhas Huhnke/Iowa State Daily

Hawthorn serves breakfast pizza, sandwiches and pastries.

Dalton Bergan

Coffee drinkers on campus should look for a new rewards system from the campus cafes.

As of Aug. 10, all of the on-campus cafes feature a new beverage rewards program that offers special deals on Mondays and Fridays of every week. The previous program was a beverage club cards system.

Before the card program ended, students with beverage club cards could get a punch on their cards for every drink they purchased and would get a free drink after getting nine punches.

“Any student could participate as long as they had their card,” said Selena Woodson, student manager of the Memorial Union Market & Cafe. “Any card would work at any store, so you could use it anywhere you wanted.”

As of the switch on Aug. 10, all cards and unredeemed punches are void, meaning they can no longer be used when purchasing beverages.

“We still have a lot of customers that come in and bring their red cards thinking that it’s still going on and then get really upset,” Woodson said. “Then we have conversations back and forth with customers about the negatives and positives of [the new program].”

Instead of using cards and punches to reward students, the new program just offers special deals every Monday and Friday.

“You can get a 16-ounce coffee for $1 on Mondays and then a dollar off specialty drinks on Fridays,” said Brittney Rutherford of Dining Services.

The beverage club card program required customers to have their card on them in order to get rewarded, which often caused problems when customers forgot or couldn’t find their cards when checking out.

“It would slow down lines because sometimes people wouldn’t know where their card was. They would check their bag and then check their wallet and sometimes realize they don’t have it,” Woodson said. “It just created a lot of hassle, so I can see why they switched.”

With the new deals on Monday and Friday, customers are no longer required to carry anything on them to get rewarded. Anyone buying a qualifying beverage will be automatically given the discount upon checkout.

“I feel like right now it’s still in its trial phase,” Woodson said. “I see the negatives and positives of both, so I try to explain that to the customers. I think because it’s just starting, they’re not really used to it.”

A total of nine locations will be participating in the drink deals program, including all eight on-campus cafes as well as the Starbucks in the Frederiksen Court Community Center. Caribou Coffee is not taking part in the program, so students should note that these deals won’t be available in the Hub.

“I think the biggest thing for us this fall is going to be awareness,” Rutherford said. “We’ll see — once that awareness is built — if people actually like it or if customers liked the old way or have new suggestions.”

Student feedback is encouraged and any students with suggestions can contact ISU Dining via Twitter, phone or email.

“It will be interesting to see what students think of it this fall,” Rutherford said. “For us, it was time to try something different.”