Who Moved My Shack?

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Update, September 08, 2015
Here’s some good news in the middle of the midsems: We are happy to report that the contract for the Coffee Shack has been renewed for 11 more months. The existing agency, Shreya Enterprises, will be serving snacks and drinks at Coffee Shack for at least the foreseeable future. Rejoice, for your favourite middle-of-the-lectures snacking spot is safe again!

What’s happening to Coffee Shack?
The Coffee Shack has been diagnosed with terminal contract-itis. It’s being resuscitated as we speak.

No, seriously.
Shack has been served an eviction notice, about four weeks back, with a termination date of September 9th – that’s the upcoming Wednesday.

The good news is that the Shack may not necessarily be on its way out.

The good news is that the Shack may not necessarily be on its way out. Read on for more.

Why are they doing this to me?!
It’s a legal matter and it’s a bit complicated. We’ve covered it in depth in the box below. The gist is that the institute wants a contract with Nestlé, the food giant directly, which is a well-known global brand, and thus, more reliable. The current contract is with an entity called Shreya Enterprises, which, while a licensed Nestlé distributor, operates independently. In the unfortunate event that unfit food items are ever sold at the Shack, it will be much harder for the institute to enforce liability on a small contractor, and all the easier for the contractor to deny responsibility.

As per a clause in the contract, IIT can ask the contractors to evict, after providing a notice of four weeks, and have exercised this right.

But my mid-morning dose of caffeine!
All may not be lost. There is a rescue plan in place, to work out the legal tangles and extend or renew the contract. The Dean, IPS likes the idea of renewing the contract and is trying to work out details with the estate office. A final decision will hopefully be taken on this, on Monday or Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed, and watch this space. In case there are any updates, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

So the Shack is staying forever and ever and ever?
Well, maybe. But the GSHA also has a plan in place to relocate the Shack to another location in the academic area, while instating a newer, bigger eatery in the current location of the Shack – which will have a wider array of eatables, possibly more sitting area, and yes, coffee. While plans are underway, the GSHA feels that it’s too early to comment on the exact enterprise we plan to lease out the location to.

The GSHA also has a plan in place relocate the Shack to another location in the academic area, while instating a newer, bigger eatery in the current location.

We know, right! While things get worked out over the next few days, the Shack has seen many an emotional student visit it for ‘one last time’.
Whether that Shack goes or stays, for a multitude of students, it has been the location of many memorable moments in their lives, with many alumni also thronging to the place for a nostalgia coffee. The place that the Shack holds in their hearts can not be understated.

We’re working on a photo-story of Shack pics. If you have one you’ve clicked and would like to share, do send it to us via Facebook or email to insight@iitb.ac.in!

The Fine Print

Till 2013, the contract for a cafe at the location of the Shack was signed between IIT Bombay and Nestlé. In the middle of 2014, when IITB asked Nestlé to provide a license for serving food at an outlet, Nestlé was unable to comply because as a manufacturing company they could not be issued an appropriate license by the Government.

Instead, Nestlé brought in Shreya Enterprises. Shreya Enterprises is an ‘authorized Nestlé distributor’, but an independent entity as such, and therefore, could obtain the required licenses. So a contract was signed between IIT Bombay and M/s Shreya Enterprises. The contract was up for a renewal in 2015, and a brief time after the contract was finalized, officials at the estate office realised that this wasn’t something they wanted.

Rather than getting the reliability that a food giant like Nestlé provides, we were leasing out to an independent contractor. Not only did this exempt Nestlé from liability, but also went against the initial proposal that had allocated the location only for leasing to Nestlé. So the administration asked Nestlé to amend the situation by signing a fresh contract with IITB, directly this time. Unfortunately, Nestlé couldn’t, because of the licensing issue we’ve explained above.

Finally, IIT issued an eviction notice to M/s Shreya enterprises (with whom we still had an ongoing contract), using a clause in the contract that allows the lessor to evict the lessee after providing four weeks of notice. This notice period is ending on the 9th of September, that is, this Wednesday.

The Dean, IPS, was presented with the situation, and is considering the idea of awarding a fresh contract to Shreya Enterprises as a franchisee of Nestlé, but this is not yet finalized. There are ongoing talks between the offices of the Dean, IPS, the registrar, and the estate office.

As mentioned, we will probably only know the fate of Shack on Monday or Tuesday.