The Guild run, loss-making café shut its doors on Monday.
By Madura McCormack
Sir Walter’s Café closed its doors for the second time in three years this week, due to a ‘lack of patronage’.
The Guild run café was running at a loss, owing partly to a drop in student numbers and its poor location. It was closed once before, in the second half of 2013.
Tucked away in the middle of the library compound, Sir Walter’s provided food and coffee at discounted prices, and carried vegan and vegetarian options.
“We’re happy to charge less, as long as we pay the bills and have a little left over to support the wider activities. Sadly Walter’s has long been a challenging space for this and another drop in visitors this year has made it too difficult to continue,” Guild President Raeesah Khan said in a statement.
There are no plans to reopen the café for food in the short term, but The Guild says it is in discussion with the University to make the area available for students as a space for study and group work.
“There’s always people down there…the majority don’t buy Walter’s food but just use it as seating area for group work and study,” says Guild Manager Will Pereira.
Where are all the kids?
Apart from the stiff competition from the Food Court, Sir Walter’s has taken a hit from the sheer lack of students at Murdoch University due to the so called ‘half-cohort’.
All four public Uni’s in WA have seen their student numbers fall due to the minimum school age being changed in 2002, which has culminated this year with high school leaver numbers being almost half the usual amount.
According to the Guild Manager, the closing of Sir Walter’s will not have an overtly bad impact on the staff who work there, and they will have opportunity to move to Guild operated Café Kadj and Caffeine.
However The Guild will have to decrease its number of casual café staff, who are almost exclusively Murdoch Uni students.