By VINCENT PERSTAD
For students who find themselves going off campus in search of healthier beverage options, things could start getting smoother. Current senior business major Nick Saulnier (pictured above) and business graduate student Clint Fontenot are attempting to make history by creating the very first student-run business on campus: a health-centric smoothie bar.
“As of right now, our only roadblock is Sodexo,” Saulnier said. “And if we pull this off we would be one of the first business schools to do so besides one or two to actually have a student-run business in the food and beverage industry.”
Together with Fontenot, Saulnier took the fall semester of 2016 to put together a budget and research plan for Love Yourself Juice Co.
So far their plan is to be co-owners of the business and their goal is to be able to have it run by students who would be paid $20 per hour. As far as location goes, their sites are set on the athletic center. Saulnier added that meal swipes and Spartan dollars would be available for use at this smoothie bar.
“Most of our marketing research and data is pointing to the new athletic center as the ideal place for this smoothie bar,” Fontenot said.
Currently, Starbucks and Dairy Queen are the only places on campus that serve any kind of frozen beverages. To make Love Yourself Juice Co. the third smoothie option, Sodexo is requiring Fontenot and Saulnier to obtain a $5 million insurance policy, according to Saulnier.
Menus at Dairy Queen in Morsani feature sundaes, milkshakes and a limited number of smoothies with only one protein additive as a response for a protein shake. Saulnier and Fontenot’s menu includes smoothies, power shakes, protein shakes, wheat grass shooters, and a variety of supplement options.
“When you go to a place like DQ in Morsani, they mix syrup, ice, and one or two fruit items and call it a smoothie,” Fontenot said. “We got our initial idea from places like Extreme Juice that seem overly popular to UT students, according to staff at Extreme Juice.”
Saulnier and Fontenot have surveyed 350 UT students and say they will continue to survey them as a means to be able to create hours for the smoothie bar as well as potential smoothies or shakes.
“Extreme Juice and Smoothie King are many miles away from campus, so why not have something closer?” Fontenot asked. “How far is UT willing to go to support two of their own business students in starting a business?”
Vincent Perstad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.