Adopting student discounts aids local stores and all students

Getting lunch in Downtown Berkeley is expensive, occasionally costing students upwards of $15. Berkeley is getting more and more expensive by the day, which has led to the inflation of Berkeley’s food costs. With the off-campus lunch period provided by Berkeley High School, many students see lunchtime as an opportunity to go and eat out at local restaurants with their friends. To support the community, as well as gain loyal student customers, Downtown Berkeley restaurants should offer student discounts to all BHS students as it would benefit their restaurants, as well as students. 

“(Student discounts) would be really nice because obviously, Berkeley is a costly place to be, and a lot of the students that we do have come in here don’t have a lot of money,” said Jack Miller, a Starbucks shift supervisor. 

Students often rely on allowance, leftover money from summer gigs, or some other form of income to fund their off-campus lunches. “My allowance is not enough for me to sustain the whole month by eating out,” said Naomi Chambers, a freshman at BHS. Most students frankly don’t have it in their budget to be spending $10-15 for lunch that often, which causes Berkeley restaurants to lose valuable customers and BHS students to lose the enjoyment of eating out. BHS students have adapted to the Downtown Berkeley costs by packing lunches or eating school lunch, but perhaps it’s time the Berkeley costs should be adjusted for students.

Student discounts help create a loyal customer base. When you’re entitled to a discount in a restaurant, you’re more likely to be a returning customer. “I’d rather go to one (restaurant) with a student discount so I don’t have to spend more money,” said Chambers. 

“Most of our clientele are students; student discounts help bring people through the door,” explained Abel Castaneda, a shift lead at Ike’s Sandwiches. Ikes offers student and faculty discounts, and it’s a popular place to grab lunch among BHS students. 

Unfortunately, not all restaurants offer student discounts for various reasons. Miller said, “That kind of stuff is the stuff that is decided by corporate, that’s decided by people who work in offices far away, not anybody who works here.” A lot of stores in Downtown Berkeley are chains, such as Starbucks, Chipotle, and McDonald’s. These places do not offer any student discount, alongside other chain food restaurants.

Although student discounts vastly benefit students, businesses may not benefit as much. “I mean the obvious con is profit, we make a little less when we serve the student discount,” said Castaneda. “Pricing your items for cheaper to cater to students can bring in a larger crowd, but it can also unfortunately create lost profit. (Student discounts) also give back to the community a little bit.”

 Offering a student discount can also be an act of altruism, especially when a huge portion of the clientele in Downtown Berkeley are students.BHS students shouldn’t be spending a great deal of money on food in Downtown Berkeley. Although Berkeley is extremely expensive, stores and restaurants should provide student discounts. Student discounts not only help  BHS students by offering a cheaper cost, but also increase the number of returning students to those places.