Whispers café will be closed to users and foot traffic from June 13 to August 1, so that a number of renovations can take place.
When the café reopens for the start of the fall semester, students, faculty, and staff can expect a fresh look, with new menu boards and merchandise cases, a stronger system for moving people through the line quickly during peak hours, and a counter that allows for easier interaction between patrons and servers.
"It's the busiest coffee shop in all of Kaldi-land," says Paul Schimmele, manager of dining services on the Danforth campus, referencing the St. Louis-brewed coffee that Whispers staff pour so much of each day. "By changing the counter, we will improve the efficiency—so that while students will still come to the café in large groups, we can move those groups through even faster."
Whispers opened in May 2004, at the conclusion of Olin Library’s renovation and expansion. It soon became a hugely popular place to eat, study, meet, or relax. The number of food and beverage items that the café goes through on a typical day continues to grow, and this summer’s reconfiguration includes the addition of more storage space. This will cut down on the frequency of deliveries from across campus, Schimmele says, and give Whispers the ability to better stock and keep chilled the most popular items.
"The volume of business that Whispers does is just much more than we ever dreamed it would be," says Patti Louvier, director of operations for dining services. "A sense of urgency at Whispers is a job requirement, and hopefully the remodel will further enhance our service. I think it’s going to be very pleasing to the eye as well."