The cost of living is ever increasing, as are the costs of dining on AU’s campus. With those rising costs, however, have come several improvements to campus dining.
Since last year, the cost of dining in the Marketplace has increased by an average of 42 percent. The highest price increase comes at breakfast, where the price rose from $5.25 last year to $7.99 this year, or by 52 percent. The cost of lunch was increased by 44 percent from $6.95 to $9.99, while dinner increased by 38 percent from $7.95 to $10.99 this year. The price of special meals was raised 34 percent from $8.95 to $11.99.
According to Suahil Housholder, business manager for the Business and Auxiliary Services on campus, the price increases were determined to be “competitive with local all-you-can-eat locations.”
“Price increases in retail items are normative and adjusted for increases in the cost of living,” Housholder said.
The increased prices of Marketplace meals do not impact those with meal plans, according to Housholder. “However, it does demonstrate that the University’s meal plans deliver a savings over paying cash at the door,” she said.
In addition to increasing prices, AU and Chartwells worked together to make improvements to dining services for this school year.
Improvements to the Marketplace include increased hours of operation, as it is now open on Saturdays, the #SMASH deli bar, a smoothie bar offered each morning and a yogurt bar added each day for lunch and dinner.
Other dining services were also improved over the summer. At Create, additional specialty sandwiches and salads were added, as well as online ordering and new monthly special promotions.
The Haven introduced the Student Choice Station, where students are able to vote each semester to keep the food options that are already in the station or to switch to a new offering. Voting is currently open for next semester at www.dineoncampus.com/Anderson. Students may vote to either keep the current station, SONO, or to change the station to one of three other options: Twisted Mac, which will serve a variety of macaroni and cheese dishes; Yo Bowl, which will serve a choice of several Asian-inspired meals; or Meltdown, which will serve grilled cheese and other fresh food items.
Additional food items were added to Chick-Fil-A, including cool wraps and fruit cups. A Hershey’s ice cream novelties and milkshake station was also added in the Haven. According to Housholder, there were 307 Hershey’s milkshakes sold in the Haven during the month of September.
Many of the changes to campus dining services came as a result of feedback from focus groups that were held in March. “The results of these sessions held earlier in the spring of 2016 were instrumental in the many program enhancements that were rolled out in the fall,” Housholder said.
“A review of retail prices of all offerings in the Haven, Create and Xpress is carried on an annual basis during the summer months and adjusted based on several factors: a market basket comparison which is done by comparing prices in local convenience stores, sale volumes during the prior year, cost of living increases and cost of sales, to name a few,” Housholder said.
Housholder encouraged students to offer feedback on dining services. There are several ways to do so, including leaving feedback on www.dineoncampus.com/anderson, filling out comment cards that are available at each dining location, or by contacting any SGA senators with comments, questions or concerns.