In the March 28 issue of The Griff, there was an opinion section article called Abstain from Aramark to send a message by DC Johnson. While we absolutely respect everyone’s right to an opinion, this article contained several factual errors we feel we must correct.
Error #1: The “Aramark-up”
The article alleges that “students (and likely the school) get their pockets gouged”, specifically referencing Booster Juice pricing.
First, the students. Yes, there is a markup on items you purchase in the caf, just like there is at any restaurant or cafe. However, franchises set their own prices. Booster Juice, Subway and other franchises have special price lists for what they call “non-traditional” franchise locations (like ours on campus). You would find the same prices at any similar campus location, whether it was run by Aramark or not.
As far as the school goes, MacEwan University receives a percentage of the profit from food operations. That money goes directly back into our university budget, supporting programming for students like you. This is a huge benefit to us and to you.
Error #2: Meal cards
The article also cites meal cards and says they “grant a 5% discount on the price of a card.” This, the author says, “could, potentially, result in savings”.
We would just like to clarify that a meal card does result in savings, specifically 5% savings. This is because your purchases with a Dining Card are tax-free on most plans.
Error #3: “Mass-produced sushi”
Mr. Johnson referred to our Bento sushi as “mass-produced”, but actually it’s made fresh every day at City Centre Campus by the lovely people at the Bento stand in City Centre Market. If you stop by during a slow time, you can often see them making some!
Error #4: Our caf “falls short of….The University of Alberta”
Obviously much of this is subjective. However, U of A’s food provider? Is also Aramark. So when we compare the University of Alberta’s CAB to our main cafeteria at City Centre Campus, they are very similar. Both feature Bento, Filistix, Tim Hortons, Get the Good Stuff and Express items, and until recently, Fat Franks (U of A shut their Fat Franks down).
We recognize that University of Alberta also has HUB Mall, but it is a retail space, not a cafeteria. This of course provides more opportunities for variety than a managed cafeteria alone.
Error #5: Our food is only “greasy carbs and processed cheese and meat”
While we certainly sell burgers and the like, we hear you and we’re making an effort to give you even more healthy options. Watch for our weekly Get the Good Stuff specials and GTGS express options in the cooler. We launched Get the Good Stuff at MacEwan University in March 2013.
We also have a wide variety of healthy snacks in the caf, from Taste of Nature bars to Cheecha Puffs to sunflower seeds to fruit.
Error #6: We keep “abysmal hours”
This is one is less an error than a misunderstanding. You’re on campus sometimes and you want food but we’re not open - we understand your frustration.
Generally there is a very good reason we’re not open, and that reason is that there aren’t many people around. We simply can’t afford to keep the place open for one or two students. The fact is, most of you go home by 4 pm and few of you are around on weekends. Our hours are set based on historical sales and campus population.
If there’s a long line, we try to stay open as long as we can and make sure everyone gets served. If there’s a special event, we’re glad to open something appropriate for the attendee’s needs. Unfortunately, we just can’t be open 24/7, much as we would like to.
We hope this provided some clarity on what’s happening behind the scenes in Food Services. If you have more questions, please feel free to "Ask" us on Tumblr (you don’t have to belong to Tumblr to do it.)
We promise we’ll respond.