Increased food prices aren’t slowing down customers

While many students have noticed a price increase in food provided in both the Student Center and Center Court, it hasn’t stopped them from spending.

According to Director of Dining Services Matt Wilton, they have noticed an increase in spending at convenience food locations on campus since the beginning of the semester.

“We don’t have historical data on Center Court or the Student Center but I have heard that so far students are spending money at a faster rate than ever before,” he said.

Although Wilton said there has been an increase of students spending. Many students believe the cost of food is too expensive.

“I think for the quality [of food] prices are too high,” said junior studio art drawing major Allison Poplett. “This is the first time that I’ve [eaten at the Student Center]. If you’re going to pay this much you should go to a restaurant.”

Junior education major Karina Mirchandani said she agreed, but said she thinks that in comparison to last year, food quality is better.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “There’s no reason why you should pay five or six dollars [at the Student Center] for this food. If you want to pay that much, you should go to a restaurant. The food quality isn’t bad though, it is better than last year.”

Even though some students have noticed an increase in food prices and entrees provided at convenience locations on campus, Dining Services Marketing Coordinator Nicole Glueckert said they acknowledge those concerns and are providing students with more bonuses to eat on campus.

“Any food purchases that are hot or made-to-order, not pre-packaged, are 10 percent off when you use meal plan,” she said. “It is just another incentive that we have implemented to encourage students to utilize their meal plan on campus.”

Glueckert said in addition to offering students incentives, Dining Services continues to ensure their prices are competitive by comparing to other comparable businesses.

“We price shop each month, but we’re not a Wal-Mart and we don’t have the ability to buy in bulk,” she said. “You can compare [P.O.D.S] to a CVS and [campus convenience food] to a Steak and Shake, which is a sit-down restaurant but fast food as well… When compared to Avanti’s, a place students frequently visit, their prices are lower but our portion sizes are larger than what is offered there.”

Glueckert said they are doing everything they can to keep prices low for students.

“We will continue to adjust food prices on campus, and potentially [prices can increase],” she said. “But we are at a high point and I don’t see prices rising in the near future, but you never know.”

This week marks a month since ARAMARK began operations for the entire student body. Wilton said they have made a lot of improvements.

“This is a journey,” he said. “Where we are is where I think we should be. We’re still learning but I’m satisfied with the direction we are going.”

Danielle Gehrke, the wellness director of dining services, said they have been listening closely to student feedback and continue to make improvements to dining hall menus. For instance,  Gehrke said there is now a daily hot vegetarian plate and hamburgers are alternated with turkey burgers, providing students with more variety.

Although Gehrke said they are trying to provide students with more vegetarian options, junior health science major Alex Warden-Michl said she is not satisfied.

“Personally, I don’t feel like vegetarian options are up to par on Bradley’s campus,” she said. “Yes, they have improved on food quality when it comes healthiness, but many of these options are not vegetarian…Although salad is a vegetarian option, I feel like I shouldn’t have to completely rely on just that for my meals every day.”

Dining Services is also incorporating some of the more popular food options provided by the former Dining Service provider into their current menus. Spicy chicken wraps are now available in the Student Center and breakfast options like breakfast sandwiches will be available soon.