For the first two years of my college experience, I was never an aficionado of the Daily Grind, with its expensive prices and lackluster food and drinks. This year, however, I thought things would be different. With Aromas taking over, and the news that the Grind would take Flex, I was fully prepared to spend all of my Flex at the Daily Grind. Its convenient location and space to study should have made it a winner. After all, Aromas Cafe in the Earl Gregg Swem Library has been one of my favorite spots on campus for years now, both to study and enjoy delicious snacks, in particularly the chocolate croissant, a gift from the gods.
The Daily Grind, under the new management of Aromas, is still finding its footing, and I hope that sooner rather than later it will improve. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a lot of issues. First and foremost, I will say that the student employees are lovely and kind and perhaps the best part of the establishment. They are fantastic, competent and trying their best.
However, my two big issues with the Grind are the pricing and quality of products. Unlike both Swem Aromas and Aromas, I have not been able to find prices posted anywhere in the store for anything besides their coffee menu.
Beyond that, their food items are also on the more expensive side, but you have no way of knowing this until you check out. Once you have paid, you are then informed that the small dish of food you are buying is a ridiculous amount. If you are paying in cash or debit/credit, you may be able to return the food, but this will be an awkward encounter that no one wants. With Flex, I am not sure that there even is a way to re-do a purchase, at least not without causing a lot of hassle and holding up the line. A mere clearly visible listing of pricing would resolve this problem, and this is something both Swem Aromas and Aromas have done, so it seems very much within reach.
Secondly, the food is inconsistent in quality. The menu offerings seem to be slightly different than Swem Aromas and Aromas, which is understandable. However, those latter restaurants have made food that works well, is reasonably priced, and tastes good. The Daily Grind has yet to find its niche in any of the above categories. The Daily Grind has a high bar to follow, as its menu items under its previous incarnations were well beloved students, whereas the current menu is pretty much universally disliked. I understand that it takes time for a restaurant under new management to find its footing, but I was hoping that the Daily Grind would be able to do so easily, given the success of its Aromas’ counterparts.
Perhaps in a few semesters or so, it will have done so, but many of us will have graduated by then and would prefer not to wait. I have yet to try their drinks, but given the inconsistency in food, I think I will probably just take the extra five minutes to walk to Swem Aromas or Cosi.
Ultimately, while I have issues with the Daily Grind, I look forward to its growth. Given my deep love and affinity for both of the other Aromas outlets nearby, I have every hope that the Grind will grow in a positive direction, but I think for now I’ll be taking my Flex elswhere.
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