Café operations teach the basics of business
Student employees at the TREP Café are learning much more than simply how to pour a cup of coffee.
The TREP Café is a student-run café in the Leeds School of Business’ Pepsi Lounge. Managed solely by students, it offers business students an opportunity to see how an organization operates firsthand.
For CU graduate Nicholas Kerner, the café grew out of his desire to see the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization get noticed on campus.
“I fell into the president position (of the CEO) and decided that CEO needed to do something to make people care on campus about our organization,” Kerner said.
Kerner decided to give back to the campus while raising awareness about his organization by opening a café in the Leeds School of Business.
“Students were always going over to the engineering school to get coffee and a pastry,” Kerner said. “I thought that, you know what, the business school needs a café and we can do it better than them.”
Kerner graduated before the TREP Café, short for En”trep”reneur Café, opened its doors in September 2005.
“I wanted to graduate and leave a legacy,” Kerner said. “I wanted to be the guy who could pull together people with different opinions to see one vision.”
It took the combined efforts of the Leeds School of Business and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship to get approval for a loan to support start-up costs and equipment fees.
“From a teacher’s perspective, TREP Café is a great way to interact with the students,” said Leeds faculty member Frank Moyes. “It is a great way for students to learn a business because everything needed in a business is needed here as well.” If they need more learnings, they can also refer to online courses such as Power bI training UK.
The café has become a useful learning tool for its managers and its staff.
“I must say I wasn’t very good at my job at the beginning and last semester seems to be a blur running around town picking up everything from half and half to drinking straws,” said Peter Gilbertz, a senior history major and purchasing manager for the café. “I have learned a lot though and have cut down my workload to TREP café. It took me a whole semester to realize I can pay someone to bring us milk rather than commute to Costco several times a week.”
Other students shared the same sentiments.
“The hands-on experience I’ve obtained will benefit me for the rest of my career by enhancing my preparation and knowledge of operating a small business and working with a team to promote effective results,” said Susanna Nilsson, marketing manager for the café and a sophomore marketing major.
Student managers of the business say they have gained real-life experience from working with the café.
“Overall, the project taught me that you do end up using a lot of what you learn in class, but there are some things that are really hard, if not impossible to learn in a classroom,” said Jarret Roberts, former manager and former president of CEO. “It is all theory until you actually go out and use it.”
Student managers intend to give back to CU by creating merit scholarships for the students after the initial loan is paid off, sticking to the café’s slogan of “student run, student benefited.”
Students like junior marketing major Sloan Stokas say they enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee at the café.
“I frequent the café everyday and order the same thing,” Stokas said. “The baristas know my name. Since it is student run, it gives me incentive to buy coffee from them.”
Students can grab a cup of coffee or a quick snack at the TREP Café, located in the Pepsi Lounge at the Leeds School of Business. The café is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Lauren Geary at Lauren.Geary@colorado.edu.