Bon Appâ€štit: higher prices, same points
Over winter break, the administration of Bon Appâ€štit increased prices on an array of food products at Bear’s Den and other campus eatery locations. Citing rising transportation and fuel costs as reasons for increasing prices, the catering service posted flyers to notify students about the decision.
Only a select few Washington University officials were consulted by Bon Appâ€štit, excluding Justin Carroll, assistant vice chancellor for students.
Although Carroll said that he was concerned about this issue, he explained that Residential Life is independent from Bon Appâ€štit.
“We care about the quality of life for students, but administrative oversight doesn’t come from Residential Life,” Carroll said. “If Bon Appâ€štit makes small changes, we typically don’t hear about them.”
Bon Appâ€štit General Manager Kathy Carmody cited rising food prices as the reason behind higher food costs on campus. She pointed to a 6 percent average increase in inflation for food items, explaining that at the current pricing Bon Appâ€štit only recouped 2 percent of the cost. Prices were raised anywhere from $.01 to $.50, mostly on meat and dairy products. Nevertheless, Carmody maintains the increases shouldn’t significantly impact students’ buying power.
“The decision to raise prices is a decision Washington University wanted to make,” she said.
The changes were brought to the attention of the Resident Student Advisory Board (RSAB), a committee that provides a venue where students can communicate with administrators about their concerns. Members of the board and other concerned students were less than pleased about the price increases. Sophomore Danielle Matilsky, who chairs the RSAB, explained that students seem to believe there were other factors at play in the decision.
“In looking a little deeper into the issues,” she said, “it seems [students tend to believe that] the heart of this matter is due to something other than the rising costs of transportation of food or annual inflation.”
RSAB members were concerned that the changes might have been partially motivated by a desire to increase attendance upstairs at Center Court, Matilsky explained. If Bear’s Den becomes less of a value, they say, students might be more willing to endure the typically longer wait at the Court.
Carmody and Bon Appâ€štit deny such suspicions.
“We’d love to increase attendance at Center Court, but increasing the prices had nothing to do with it,” Carmody said.
They also deny rumors that Bear’s Den’s portion sizes were decreased, including limiting of the breakfast buffet.
“Every semester we have new employees, portioning is always an issue,” said Marilyn Pollack, director of financial planning and administration for Bon Appâ€štit. “When students learned that prices were increased, it drew extra attention to portioning, which was not altered. None of our practices have been changed.”
Rising prices have affected restaurants and dining services elsewhere in the St. Louis area as well. District Manager Fred Wencel of Chartwell’s Dining Services, the company that Saint Louis University contracts, echoed Carmody’s comments about rising food costs.
“Everything seems to be climbing,” he said.
Wencel cited the same problem of food price inflation, adding that increasing petroleum costs increase prices on plastics. This can have very tangible effects for hungry students; since they don’t pay for plastic carry out containers and the like, food prices have to go to up to alleviate the plastic-price burden.
Popularity: 1% [?]