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Student business looks to expand catering service

CAFÉ ALT IS having its “best year so far” and plans are in place to improve its catering service, according to Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) vp finance Dave Eaton.

Eaton said the student-run business is successful because it provides affordable, high quality, and fair trade food and coffee, which he believes students are looking for. He said he expects Café Alt’s positive trends to continue.

The SFUO did a lot of promotion during 101 week to inform students of new and existing on-campus services. Eaton said the SFUO saw a large demand for alternatives to the services the university provides.

“We want students and community members to know we are open for business and able to provide fair trade and delicious options,” said Eaton.

The University of Ottawa’s only student-run café has been open since 2008. Its manager of three years, Alex Maltby, said approximately 85 per cent of the café’s customers are regulars, and are there every day.

“We hands-down have the best coffee on campus, especially if you’re kind of a coffee nerd,” said Maltby. “I think we just offer something that is not available anywhere else on campus.”

Eaton said he plans to improve Café Alt’s marketing and promotion, since it is located in an inconspicuous place on campus in the basement of Simard Hall. He and Maltby have been working toward streamlining the catering aspect of the café.

“With the catering, you can get anything at the café but with a more wholesale price,” Maltby said.

He said the catering service offers a revised menu from what the café typically puts forward with newly added breakfast options not available in the café.

“Even with Nostalgica being back open, I would say that in terms of an alternative place to hang out and have good food and coffee,” Maltby said, “it’s nice to see that their place is packed all the time, and we can coexist.  It just goes to show that there’s a market for this on campus.”