Fiji repeatedly denied Campus Cash
ASST. BUSINESS EDITOR
Seven years ago, University of San Diego alumni Kyle Miholich started his own frozen yogurt business. Fiji yogurt now has three successful chains in the San Diego area. The one thing Fiji Yogurt does not have is a partnership with USD’s Campus Cash program. Despite approaching auxiliary services multiple times on campus over the years, Miholich has been denied meetings and reasons as to why Fiji Yogurt is unable to have this service.
“Right when I started my business I looked into accepting Campus Cash at my store and met with the university,” Miholich said. “I learned about the program and was surprised that the school charged a 15 percent fee to accept Campus Cash. The credit card companies only charge about a 3 percent fee so I wasn’t sure if my business could afford such a high percentage.”
Miholich initially decided not to accept the fee because he was concerned his low margin business would not be able to be profitable paying the credit card fees in addition to the high Campus Cash fee. He met with administrators of Campus Cash again the following semester only to find the price had increased to a 20 percent fee.
“Once again I did not think that my low-margin business could afford to pay such a high percentage and remain profitable,” Miholich said.
When Miholich originally approached the program they only had two vendors.
“The Campus Cash program has greatly expanded over the last seven years,” Miholich said. “When we were first looking to partner with USD by accepting Campus Cash there were only two off-campus food vendors in the program, Ryan’s Deli and Domino’s.”
Today there are 18 different off-campus food vendors that utilize Campus Cash, all within the Linda Vista area.
Many students are surprised that Fiji Yogurt does not offer Campus Cash. They are one of Fiji’s main customer bases according to Miholich and are constantly inquiring about the subject.
“Our customers are heavily student-based and they’re always asking for it,” Miholich said.
Sophomore Sloane Booterbaugh is among the population of surprised students who would support the move to have Campus Cash at the Linda Vista Fiji Yogurt location.
“I think that they should take it because it’s easier for the students,” Booterbaugh said. “I think they would make more money that way as well.”
Students take an active interest in Fiji Yogurt. In Fall 2013, Morgan Poor’s advertising course did a real life marketing project in which students partnered with Fiji Yogurt. The final exam required students to present real-life marketing ideas.
“Most of the groups recommended that Fiji Yogurt accept Campus Cash,” Miholich said. “Based upon their recommendations I reached out to the auxiliary services department to once again revisit the idea of Fiji Yogurt becoming part of the Campus Cash program.”
Yet once again, Miholich was denied a meeting. The responses he received stated that no one could meet with him at that time.
Executive director of USD’s campus auxiliary services, Andre Mallie, said that the process of a business acquiring Campus Cash is technologically involved and Fiji Yogurt hasn’t been given campus cash because they initially did not feel they could meet the terms and conditions.
“We had meetings with them in the past,” Mallie said. “We shared with them what it takes to be a campus cash vendor and they didn’t feel that the terms and conditions were appropriate for them, therefore we never moved forward.”
Mallie says the goal of Campus Cash is to find vendors that would benefit the campus, and that the department has been approached by many local businesses in the area.
“We’re trying to find the right partnerships in terms of what are the values they could add to campus,” Mallie said. “And we’re also trying to secure vendors in different spots.”
Miholich is good friends with many of the vendors along the block where his Linda Vista location is.
“None of our neighboring food businesses that have approached USD have ever been denied entry into the program,” Miholich said.
Miholich’s main goal is to provide a healthy option to the students at USD. Fiji Yogurt often partners with many student organizations on campus for their fundraising events.
“We have great partnerships with sororities, fraternities and other student organizations, and Fiji Yogurt helps students raise over $5,000 each year,” Miholich said.
As an alumni-owned and operated company, Fiji Yogurt is seeking to continue to be an involved presence on the USD campus to cater to the university’s students.