Frequently Asked Questions: Peet's Coffee

Why did UC Berkeley partner with a coffee vendor?

By establishing a preferred coffee vendor, UC Berkeley will engage in more coordinated efforts designed to contain costs and provide new revenue to the campus. At the same time, a campus partnership broadens the relationship to include benefits to the rest of the UC Berkeley community, such as scholarships for students, in addition to improved products and services that better meet the needs of the campus community.

Why did Berkeley Choose Peet's?

Peet's Coffee® (Peet’s) was selected as the UC Berkeley coffee partner due to the company’s overall alignment with the University’s mission and values. Peet’s supports a shared commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability; ethical sourcing practices; and a commitment to offering healthy food and beverages.

The partnership with Peet’s, a local specialty coffee company founded in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto in 1966, amplifies its long history in the local Berkeley community and its existing relationships with Cal Dining and Intercollegiate AthleticsThe expansive partnership will further support our campus community by expanding its commitment to our faculty, staff, alumni and students, including a program that will support multiple student-led campus initiatives and programs. We are entering into a longer-term relationship that allows Peet’s to transition from a simple coffee partner into a more strategic role. Peet’s will collaborate with UC Berkeley on larger university initiatives in the areas of sustainability, student programming, work-study and innovation–initiatives that are core to both Peet’s and UC Berkeley values.

Additionally, Peet’s believes in forging long-term and direct relationships with partners, as well as providing an unrelenting commitment to quality. Peet’s has an unparalleled customer service model that offers UC Berkeley a dedicated local account manager and a local partnership team

Why did Peet's decide to partner with UC Berkeley?

Thanks to Peet’s original coffeebar’s proximity to the UC Berkeley campus, many students, faculty, staff and alumni grew up as Peetniks. Some even become lifelong Peetnikis, like roastmaster Doug Welsh, who is a UC Berkeley alumnus. Moreover, we share similar creative, innovative and socially responsible values that are at the core of Peet’s Coffee.

Peet’s will partner with UC Berkeley to improve the coffee experience in current campus coffeebars, pouring Peet’s at more Cal Dining locations, and offering new products, services and convenient options for the campus community, including a new coffee cart in front of the Recreational Sports Facility. Peet’s looks forward to partnering with UC Berkeley not just on testing new ways to improve the customer experience, new products and healthy menu initiatives, but also spearheading thought leadership around social good initiatives with the student body and local community alike. 

The 10-year relationship between Peet’s and UC Berkeley means there is considerable experience working with Cal Dining and other campus partners. Through years of working with the campus, Peet’s has developed a unique understanding of UC Berkeley’s students, faculty and staff. Their depth of experience on campus uniquely positions Peet’s to deliver a faster path to a reinvention of coffee while respecting campus traditions, values, and supporting other local operators. Their knowledge of current coffee operations across multiple locations will help ensure a smooth transition and continued services while we implement our expanded partnership together.

What factors were used to determine the appropriate vendor?

A key aspect of this proposal ensured that any agreement aligned with our values as a public university and UPP’s four guiding principles while being sensitive to the concerns and needs of the campus community. A thorough set of qualifying questions and scoring criteria were crafted by the coffee-specific working group which focused on products and services, including quality, variety and pricing; sustainability and sourcing; implementation and customer service; partnership investment; community impact and reputation; and UC Berkeley community impact and education.

How will the relationship with Peet's be visible on campus?

Peet’s will continue to be served at Cal Dining locations, including residential dining halls, retail locations, catering and concessions. Additionally, Peet’s will work with university stakeholders to better meet the needs of students, faculty, staff and alumni by bringing new products, services and more convenient options to the campus, including the new coffee cart in front of the Recreational Sports Facility.

What does this mean for existing coffee shops and cafes on campus?

This agreement only applies to the coffee products that Cal Dining purchases and serves at its locations and does not grant exclusive campus operations. Current campus leaseholders and auxiliary businesses such as The Free Speech Movement Café, Haas FIFO Café, Boalt’s Café Zeb, Yali’s, Babettes, the ASUC Student Union and the Faculty Club were not part of the agreement. These vendors have been informed about the process and will have the choice to take advantage of any benefits that are offered to the campus. 

What are the benefits for students?

Campus student benefits include:

  • A commitment to hire UC Berkeley graduates annually through the Career Center
  • Paid internships across multiple disciplines and/or work-study program
  • Funding for graduate student travel grants through the Graduate Assembly
  • Program support for priority Basic Needs Skills initiatives including:
    • Basic Needs Skills Academic Course: funding will help cover course fees and the cost of food, cooking tools and other kitchen materials for students who take the course to learn about personal budgeting, grocery shopping on a college student budget, food preparation, and cooking and wellness strategies.
    • Basic Needs Skills Community Outreach & Skills Programming: will fund student work-study positions that will provide resources to lead community workshops in the residence halls, University Village, and across campus.
  • On-Campus Farm & Gardening program that benefits multiple organizations including the UC Berkeley Food Pantry.

How has the working group ensured that the campus community's concerns have been heard?

Working group members represent a variety of campus constituents and worked with their respective groups and networks to receive feedback on potential partnerships during the RFP and negotiation process. In 2015, the ASUCStudent Senate passed a bill that formalized student participation and feedback within the UPP structure. This process increases student engagement, giving them a seat at the table. Student representatives play an instrumental role in evaluating and shaping each partnership, including prioritizing funding for programs and initiatives that are important to them.

How much revenue will the university receive from the agreement with Peet's and how will it be divided up?

The 10-year agreement will provide nearly $8 million support for priority programs and departments, including the Centers for Educational Equality and Excellence, Building Sustainability @ Cal, Graduate Assembly, Cal Dining, the Career Center, New Student Services, Intercollegiate Athletics, Recreational Sports and Cal Alumni Association.

Who will be staffing Cal Dining's Peet's services on campus?

Employees, who will staff Peet’s coffee services as part of Cal Dining’s operations on campus, will continue to be Cal Dining staff who are employed through the university. Cal Dining employs full-time career represented staff as well as part-time employees and students. As a result, they will enjoy the same level of compensation and benefits as offered to other Cal Dining staff at UC Berkeley, aligned with Cal Dining’s established hourly rates for such positions.

To learn more about the benefits of working at Cal Dining, please visit:

What is Peet's commitment to promoting nutrition on the UC Berkeley campus?

Peet's is committed to partnering with University Health Services, Cal Dining, other campus partners and nutrition experts to support the health and well being of the UC Berkeley community. A few examples of their commitment include:

  • Funding student programs that support Basic Needs Skills initiatives focused on educating students about health and nutrition.
  • Collaborating with Cal Dining and campus partners to align with, promote and advance campus nutrition initiatives, including partnering on Cal Dining’s work with the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative to develop healthier alternatives and sugar-free menu options.
  • Providing point-of-service nutritional beverage information via print, online or digital display.

How will Peet's support UC Berkeley's Zero Waste Goal?

In partnership with Cal Dining, Peet's is committed to supporting the campus’s goal of Zero Waste by 2020. Cal Dining locations featuring Peet’s will promote the use of reusable cups and other compostable or recyclable materials, in addition to providing disposal systems to help promote on-site campus recycling and compostable efforts. Employees in locations operated in partnership with Cal Dining also will receive zero waste training from the Cal Dining Sustainability Team.

How will Peet's support sustainability at UC Berkeley?

Peet’s is committed to supporting and advancing sustainability efforts through the UC Berkeley community and will partner with a variety of campus stakeholders to implement measures and practices that support the university’s goals. Peet’s will work with the Office of Sustainability and Energy to ensure they employ green building and renovation practices at all Cal Dining-Peet’s campus facilities and kiosks. Moreover, Peet’s will provide support to Building Sustainability @ Cal, a student-led program focused on reducing the environmental footprints of campus buildings by helping them meet LEED requirements.

Peet’s offers a line of certified coffees and will partner with Cal Dining to promote the use of its organic, fair trade, direct trade and farmer assistance products to campus customers. Additionally, Peet’s offers two lines of fair trade coffee, Las Hermanas and Los Cafeteros, which will be served in Cal Dining-Peet’s partnered locations.