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Disputes Cause Q Bubble To End Service at Arrow St.

Dispute called “a matter of control.” New vendor sought.

By Joia Ramchandani

STAFF REPORTER

Because of an inability to reach an agreement on their new contract, the Q Bubble Tea vendor and Arrow Street Crepes have decided to terminate their partnership, leaving many students unhappy and without a bubble tea vendor.

However, Arrow Street Crepes Manager Noel Ancarani said that that the restaurant has plans to introduce a new line of bubble tea after spring break.

The restaurant is interested in “upgrading to a better quality product that is more authentic,” Ancarani said. Q Bubble’s product is a “Taiwanese product converted to the fast pace of the U.S. market,” and not truly authentic bubble tea, he said.

Nancy Chen, the former co-owner of the Q Bubble franchise in the Student Center, said that she was unhappy with the Arrow Street management because of its demands for more money and greater control over Q Bubble.

Q Bubble, Arrow Street clash

Chen said “greed, not quality” was the reason behind the termination of the partnership between Q Bubble and Arrow Street.

She said that Arrow Street owner James Murray would continuously change the terms of their business contract. “Every two weeks he wanted more and more money. It got to a point where we just couldn’t take it anymore,” she said.

Chen also expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which Q Bubble employees were treated by Arrow Street management. Her employees were allotted a salary that was 40 percent less than that of Arrow Street employees, she said.

Arrow Street management allegedly still owes Chen over $6,000 for her services, but is continuing to “delay making the payment,” Chen said. She went on to say that she would seek legal recourse if Arrow Street did not pay her the money she claims it owes her.

In response to Chen’s allegations, Ancarani said that Arrow Street did not have such a debt.

The termination of the Arrow Street and Q Bubble business contract was “a matter of control” over management, employees, and profits, Ancarani said.

The Q Bubble owners wanted to have “more control than they should have,” he said. Arrow Street “decided it would be best to go separate ways,” he said.

Arrow Street management was unhappy with the powder-based Q Bubble Tea, because it conflicted with the restaurant’s “philosophy for supporting fresh food products,” Ancarani said.

However, Arrow Street has not given up on bubble tea. The “demographic makeup” of the MIT student body is suited toward supporting a bubble tea product, he said.

He went on to say that he believes there is and will continue to be a sizable demand for the beverage on campus.

MIT does not intervene in dispute

Richard Berlin III, director of food and campus dining declined to comment on the dispute between Arrow Street and Q Bubble.

He said that although Campus Dining leases the space to vendors, it is not responsible for dealing with their relationships with their subcontractors.

“We are not in the business of telling them how to do business,” Berlin said, referring to the food vendors.

Berlin confirmed that there are prospective plans to bring another Bubble Tea line to Arrow Street in the near future, noting that his primary concern was getting students a “good bubble tea” product.