Texas Coffee Traders locations to stay on campus for another year

Nashwa Bawab

Three Texas Coffee Traders’ campus locations are back for another year after confusion about their ending contract threatened the business’ on-campus locations.

Texas Coffee Traders, which operates locations in the Gates Dell Complex, Jackson School of Geosciences, Moody College of Communication, Robert Lee Moore Hall and the area surrounding the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, decided to file a Request for Proposal to renew its contract with UT before it ended Aug. 31.

A Request for Proposal is a formal application used by agencies who want to sell goods or services on campus if their contract is expected to surpass $25,000. After a Request for Proposal was made, UT notified Texas Coffee Traders that their proposal was not successful and that they would no longer be doing business on campus, according to Beth Beall, Texas Coffee Traders’ owner and president. After a deal with the winning proposer fell through, Texas Coffee Traders was able to extend its contract with UT until May 31, 2016, Beall said.

“We submitted for a contract this year, … and I think that’s where the confusion came,” Beall said. “In that confusion, we got our contract extended, so at the end of this year, we’ll [need to] go for another Request for Proposal, but we’re there for another year. So, after all that craziness, we’re back.”

Standards such as purchasing prices, reputation of the vendor, vendor’s past relationship with the school, total long-term cost and quality of goods and services are among the criteria UT considers when choosing companies for on-campus contracts. UT’s Purchasing Department uses a team of experts to evaluate businesses that wish to do business on campus, according to Margo Iwanski, executive assistant to the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Iwanski said UT decided to enter into a contract with the winning proposal before unspecified issues made them decide to stay with Texas Coffee Traders for another year.

“There were three proposals received by UT Austin, and the evaluation team concluded that the contract should be awarded to a different supplier,” Iwanski said in an email. “Subsequently it was determined that there were some issues, and two departments decided not to enter into a contract with the winning proposer.”

UT plans to issue new requirements for the Request for Proposal process, which normally takes four to six months to complete, to better outline requirements for future departments who decide not to enter into new contracts.

Journalism sophomore Belicia Luevano said she hopes UT does not renew their contract with Texas Coffee Traders next year because of the poor quality of coffee they serve.

“I don’t really like their coffee, so I wouldn’t mind if we got another company with better flavors or better coffee,” Luevano said. “I’ve drank it three times and thought it was maybe a bad brew, but it was terrible every time. I would actually like another company to come in and replace them.”

For now, Texas Coffee Traders will still be doing business on campus until their contract expires again next year, said Joao Pereira, general manager at UT’s Texas Coffee Traders locations.

“We’re staying for another year, and I’ve been working with the UT community for a couple of years, and we are very happy that’s the case,” Pereira said. “Texas Coffee Traders is really committed to serving the UT community.”