Customers are bunching up at the counter of the ReyRey Café as classes change at Wright State University. With the hiss of grinding coffee beans filling their ears, they scan the long list of coffees, lattes, tea and smoothies for sale.
It’s Monday morning at the student-operated café, where the Coffee of the Day is Hacienda and students, faculty and staff are looking for a delicious jolt to jump-start their week.
Jessica Brown, a senior majoring in human resources and business management, is keeping a watchful eye on operations. Under Brown’s leadership as CEO, ReyRey earned a profit for an entire semester for the first time since it opened in 2015.
Brown said the first profit was posted last September and has continued each month since.
“It was definitely a great step in the right direction,” she said. “The goal of the café is to fund scholarships for business students. So we definitely see that, which is really exciting to be part of.”
Brown said the keys to turning a profit at ReyRey were finding ways to reduce labor costs and make adjustments to inventory.
“We are particular on how much we’re using, what we might be buying too much of,” she said. “We cut down on a lot of waste.”
The café also launched a social media campaign last fall to promote ReyRey, using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post about coffees, bakery items and shout out to regular customers.
“We definitely got our name out there,” said Brown.
ReyRey is located on the first floor of Rike Hall, home to the Raj Soin College of Business. A stock ticker scrolls overhead next to the trading room, which the café shoulders up against.
Students hunch over laptops at the booths and tables while coffee beans in blue foil bags look down from the shelves. In nice weather, a patio with tables and shiny metal chairs and umbrellas beckons outside.
Beginning in the spring of 2016, students took over management of the café, playing such key roles as CEO, CFO, CMO and COO. It enabled them to get hands-on experience in real-world business practices such as accounting ratio analysis, financial projections, sales forecasts, market analysis, data analytics and human resources management.
Brown oversees day-to-day operations. She makes out the work schedules and ensures the café receives its orders on time. She even designed new shirts for the staff. She maintained the ReyRey emblem on the front but added a pocket and put a “Recharge, Refuel” logo on the back.
Brown says she loves everything about her job as CEO — her student co-workers, the customers and the café’s partners, Reynolds & Reynolds and Boston Stoker.
Scheduled to graduate in May with her bachelor’s degree, Brown hopes to land a job in human resources.
“I would love to do something in the recruiting aspect of HR,” she said.
In addition to coffee, tea and baked goods, the café sells soft drinks, yogurt, sandwiches, hummus, chips, apples and energy bars.
But Brown says there is a special reason the campus community should patronize the ReyRey Café.
“I would say choose us over anyone else because we’re student-run in support of students,” she said.” We’re run by students for the students.”