Costs to replace dishes included in meal plans
Washington University Dining Services spent approximately $7,000 this year to replace missing and broken dishes, utensils, cups and trays.
The cost of replacing dishes is reflected in students’ meal plans.
Each year, Dining Services allocates $1.50 to 2.50 per student in its budget to cover the costs of replacing missing dining equipment.
According to Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager of Bon Appétit Management Co., Dining Services has had to replace 2,400 pieces of silverware in the Danforth University Center this year and between 500 and 700 bowls from the stir-fry station on the South 40. Bon Appétit manages the eateries on campus.
Figures on other replacements were not available.
According to Siddiqui, there are several factors that led to this need for replacement.
Health Code regulations stipulate that any chipped dishes must be replaced. Dining Services consistently replaces china that is chipped or shattered.
Students often mistakenly throw away metal silverware with their disposable containers in the DUC.
According to Siddiqui, although some of the replacements are due to unavoidable wear, many members of the University community fail to return their dishes after using them.
He says that many students bring dishes and silverware home from the dining halls and that professors and staff members often bring tableware back to their offices and do not return them.
“Sometimes it is purely innocent, but a lot of [tableware] does enter into rooms and offices on campus,” said Paul Schimmele, assistant to the director of operations. “It is not just students.”
Junior William Swanson thinks that the student body should pay for stolen or borrowed tableware.
“It is not good that there is so much stealing going on, but at least there is some accountability,” Swanson said.
China and silverware are not the only items that members of the University community borrow from the dining hall.
According to Siddiqui, during the snowstorms this winter, some students took trays from the dining halls and used them as sleds. Many of these trays were never returned.
“It’s not surprising that they are stealing trays, but they should return them. They are not very durable, so the chances are that those trays are broken,” Swanson said. “The chances are that you are going to have that wherever there is snow and university students.”
Swanson suggests that students use cardboard instead of trays for sledding.
Junior Kim Frisch thinks that Dining Services has handled the shortage well.
“They seem really prepared for it, so it does not seem like an issue,” Frisch said.
Although much of the missing silverware and china has already been replaced, Siddiqui and Schimmele encourage students to return china and silverware to any dining location on campus.
“It would be nice not to have to budget for a huge shrinkage,” Schimmele said. “We would be happy to see that stuff come back.”