Check before using gift cards: Not all campus locations take certificates

By Becca Clemons

Students returning to campus with wallets full of gift cards can’t use those cards at all campus restaurant franchise locations.

Starbucks is the only national franchise on campus that accepts gift cards, UK Dining Services Executive Director Scott Henry said in an e-mail to the Kernel.

The remaining dining franchises — Chick-fil-A, Sbarro, Subway and Panda Express (opening in late March), all located in the Student Center — do not accept gift cards as a form of payment.

“Franchise gift cards are a common item that we cannot offer,” Henry said. “This is because gift cards require a proprietary cash register system that we did not purchase for any of the national brand franchises.

“Proprietary cash register systems for the franchises would not interface with our existing system and would have been an additional unbudgeted cost.”

The Starbucks locations have been accepting gift cards since the summer of 2010, Henry said.

Animal science freshman Stephanie Siegwald said she has been able to use gift cards at different Starbucks around campus.

Business management sophomore Michael Vaughn said he dislikes not being able to use the gift card he received for Christmas for Chick-fil-A.

“It’s frustrating because, if I want to use it, I have to travel to the nearest one 15 minutes away,” Vaughn said. “I would like to be able to use it while I’m on campus.”

However, there are no plans to accept any other national franchise gift cards at this time, Henry said.

“It is Dining Services’ goal to remain fresh and relevant to students, faculty and staff,” Henry said. “One aspect of this goal is accomplished by bringing in national franchises that are appealing to the campus community [that] will remain relevant into the future and have the infrastructure to support them.

“A national franchise is a great way Dining Services can offer an exceptional dining experience that the campus community is familiar with.”