JE Room Service expands

HenryEhrenberg_JERoomService-2
Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

When students in Jonathan Edwards College began receiving baked goods on Saturday morning from a student-run service, others in the remaining 11 colleges still had to bide their time until brunch for morning pastries. But beginning this weekend, Calhoun College students are able to enjoy some cinnamon scones of their own.

JE Room Service — a student-run baking company that delivers pastries on Saturday mornings — is now expanding to other colleges. Each week, students can fill out an online order form through the company’s website, specifying which baked goods they want and at what time they prefer delivery on Saturday mornings.

The company is the brainchild of Hall Rockefeller ’16, who wanted to start a campus baking company with her close friends and suitemates. Rockefeller, a longtime baker, said she wanted to take advantage of the resources provided at Yale to those looking to launch their own businesses.

Rockefeller called the decision to start JE Room Service, which launched the first week of spring semester, “a ‘Why not?’ moment.”

“There are the resources here to do it, and there’s a lot less resistance than one would encounter in the real world,” she said.

Behind the scenes, Rockefeller and her team spend an average of 10 hours per week prepping and baking the food.

Until last week, the team’s limited personnel and kitchen space hindered expansion to other colleges. Rockefeller said it was also unclear how many extra orders would result from offering to deliver beyond JE, as the business received an average of 15 orders per week within JE alone.

Rockefeller said that when a group of friends in Calhoun offered to help deliver the baked goods beyond JE, she attended last week’s Calhoun College Council Meeting to make sure there would be no objections to the expansion.

Despite the first delivery weekend to Calhoun being “sort of rushed,” Rockefeller said she was pleased with the number of orders that came in.

Once the team establishes its presence in Calhoun, Rockefeller said, members hope to franchise JE Room Service in order to expand it to all 12 residential colleges. Planning for this expansion will take place over the summer, she said, and small steps will be essential.

Frequent patrons of JE Room Service celebrated the convenience of waking up to baked goods of their choice — such as carrot cupcakes and coffee. One student even opened a tab with the company to ensure weekly delivery.

“I eat their leftovers,” said Carolina Rivera ’16, who helped deliver to Calhoun last Saturday. “The cinnamon scones are to die for. I had one this morning, and it just made my day.”

Calhoun student Amanda Farrell ’16 said she usually has to rush to grab coffee or a pastry before she starts work at 9:30 a.m. With the new expansion, however, Farrell said she has all she needs waiting at her door.

Emmett Kim ’15, the first person to order an entire loaf of banana bread from the company, said that while he would not be willing to spend money on pastries from other for-profit businesses, he is happy to support JE Room Service. Kim called the team “really friendly” and said the members are always cooking in the JE kitchen.

To Rockefeller, the most important part of her business comes from the feeling that she and her team are contributing to life at Yale.

“It’s nice to have something that exists only because you made it exist,” she said. “In a lot of things here, you’re contributing to someone else’s vision, so to have something of your own within Yale is satisfying.”

Students outside JE or Calhoun can pick up orders from the JE Buttery on Saturday mornings.

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