AP NEWS

Shop serves coffee, food, business experience for students

March 30, 2019
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Baristas Ladasia Griffin and Franni Dimon work at Stedman's Cafe inside Mammel Hall on the University of Nebraska at Omaha south campus Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Omaha, Neb. (Kent Sievers/The World-Herald via AP)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — What looks like a coffee shop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is actually a laboratory of sorts for business students.

Stedman’s Cafe has operated in Mammel Hall on the university’s south campus for more than three years, providing part-time jobs for students and supervisory challenges and experience for some of them.

A faculty member in the College of Business Administration, Ben Smith, uses the cafe as a laboratory. Students use data he’s gathered to make recommendations on prices and staffing. Among the figures: 12-ounce brewed coffee (355 milliliters) is the most popular item, with more than 5,400 cups sold since opening.

Stedman’s Cafe is part of professor Dale Eesley’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising in in the university’s College of Business Administration.

A private company had run a coffee shop where Stedman’s now sits, but business apparently wasn’t good enough to stay.

One of Eesley’s students subsequently wrote a business plan, presented it to the dean of business administration, Louis Pol, and sold him on the concept. Eesley and the Center for Innovation changed the shop’s colors and put up different wallpaper. Benches were brought in and arrayed so students could charge their laptops and phones.

The center named the shop Stedman’s Cafe after Robert Stedman, a university alum and benefactor who died in 2011. He donated money for scholarships and gave a donation to his friend, Pol, to use for students as he wished. Pol spent $25,000 of the donation on the cafe’s startup costs.

“It’s a project that has gone beyond expectations,” he told the Omaha World-Herald .

Student Natalie Bauermeister, of Louisville, worked at Stedman’s as a barista and managed the shop for almost a year, running meetings, ordering food and supplies and making work schedules.

“It really gives you a sense of what running a business is actually like,” she said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com