September 26, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 17  

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Food Services breaking even?

Food Services at Western has stated they just want to break even, which may seem incomprehensible to most students who are forced to fork over huge amounts of cash to simply eat on campus.

Can anyone really believe that sort of a statement from an organization that sells a bottle of Dasani water at CentreSpot for $2.39, while the Pit Stop, which is run by the University Students' Council, charges $1.48 for the same bottle of water after taxes?

The Pit Stop does make a profit from its sales and most likely strives to do so, but Food Services claims to just break even. How can the near dollar difference be explained when one establishment charges less but makes a profit, while the other charges more and claims to only be covering costs? The pricing system does not seem to make any sense.

Where does this discrepancy come from? Can greater overhead costs prompt Food Services to be charging more? Or does Food Services attempt to break even to pick up the slack of the cafeterias in the residences which may be losing money? Does that mean in the grand scheme of things Food Services does not get a return on its sales?

The fact is not-for-profit could have several meanings, such as Food Services does not intend to generate a profit from food sales but does not complain when the soaring prices on food glean possibly millions from student consumers on campus.

The core of the problem seems to be the inherent secrecy surrounding Food Services and its tentacle-like operations. On more than one occasion university administrations have resisted government efforts to audit them. Do they have something to hide?

If Canadian public servants must reveal their salaries which our taxes help pay for it should not be too hard for universities to do the same considering the government also funds them.

If the actual cost of an audit is too much, then why not get a group of students from the Richard Ivey School of Business to conduct an audit of Food Services as a part of one of their class assignments.

Rather than deflecting and downplaying, maybe Food Services should just lay down the books and show students what they are up to. Don't the students deserve that much?

Until then, maybe some phone calls should be made to:

  • Frank Miller, Director,
    Hospitality Services - 661-2111 x84030

  • Susan Grindrod,
    Housing and Ancillary Services - 661-2111 x83549

  • Kevin McCabe,
    Campus and Vending Services - 661-2111 x83508

  • Gerry LaHay, Manager,
    Campus Operations - 661-2111 x85634




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