Bon Appétit pockets unused meal points at the end of each year
Point by point
Total meal points purchased between July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010
Unused meal points from 2009-2010 school year
Average unused meal points per person
The Bon Appétit Management Company pockets unused meal points at the end of each year, Student Life has learned.
About 1 percent of meal points purchased in undergraduate plans are returned to the food service company that operates dining halls on the Danforth Campus, according to Steve Hoffner, associate vice chancellor for operations.
In the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2010, undergraduates purchased a total of 11,382,712 meal points as part of predetermined meal packages. This number does not include food purchased via the Campus Card system.
At the end of the 2010 school year, students “forfeited” 108,951 points because they did not use all of them by the established deadline.
According to Hoffner, returning the points to Bon Appétit enables the company to keep prices low.
“If whatever points that are left at the end of the year were not going to the contractor, then the University and students would have to pay higher prices,” Hoffner said.
Still, some students expressed concern when told by a reporter about the arrangement.
“That bothers me, but my friends in CS40 met with them, and apparently the money on extra points goes toward extra hours for workers,” freshman Emma Postal said.
Nadeem Siddiqui, regional manager for Bon Appétit, said that he simply wishes students used all their meal points.
“My ideal is that there would be no points left,” he said. “It’s less than a percent that is left at the end, and that number has gone down. That’s our preference, really.”
While some students might be shocked at the number of meal points that go unused, nearly 109,000 unused points is typical compared to previous years, according to Hoffner. On average, 18.27 points per student were forfeited, but most students used all of their meal points.
Hoffner said that the deal transferring all remaining meal points to Bon Appétit has been in existence since Dining Services first signed a contract with the vendor.
“Our contract with Bon Appétit specifies that unused points go to them, and they based their financial projections on this being the case,” he said.
Though Bon Appétit pockets the points at the end of the year, students may roll over meal points from the fall semester to the spring.
“We are very clear in telling students that their points can roll forward from the fall semester to the spring semester but that any points remaining at that time are forfeited,” Hoffner said.
Students said that the meal points should roll over from year to year.
“I thought it would be best if we got them next year,” said freshman Ignacio Ampuero. “It almost goes to waste. If you have extra, you’d get something back, because you paid for them.”
The transfer of unused meal points will not change, even though Dining Services is currently contemplating alterations in the undergraduate meal plan for the 2011-2012 school year. Dining Services will release possible changes in the University’s meal plans in the coming months as housing contract due dates near.
Hoffner said, “We think that a balance of approximately one percent when you’re talking over 11.3 million meal plan points is very, very reasonable.”
With additional reporting by Michael Tabb.