Tuesday 30th September 2014,
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Chartwells sacrifices for OWU: Student values quantity over quality in food choices

Staff February 15, 2012 Opinion No Comments

The Hamilton-Williams Food Court serves lunch to over 650 students every weekday.
Shortly after noon, people flood into the court, swiping sandwiches, sushi, and drinks. The cashiers and servers are awash with business until, an hour later, all students have trickled out.
Yet students’ most frequent complaint is not about the Food Court’s flow or space, but the amount of variety which it offers.
Simply looking at Chartwells’ menus can refute the notion that employees always serve the same food.
Most dishes move on a 17 day cycle, appearing infrequently on the serving line. Cooks prepare sushi, sandwich stackers and varying items at the salad bar. And the static grill items are served for a reason: the campus’ best-selling items are french fries, chicken fingers, and pizza.
Does the lunch-time rush cloud perception? Or do students only remember meals that look appetizing?
I have heard many students grumble about food presentation, taste, and texture. The pizza is too greasy, they say. Rice too dry, ravioli tasteless.
Campus food may not look or smell tantalizing, but students gain more from small sacrifices in taste.
Chartwells chose convenience over food quality, a decision which often goes unappreciated.
Ohio Wesleyan is unique in that it offers 10 different dining locations, from a pizzeria to a bakery. Nearby colleges do not offer nearly as many options.
Denison only has four locations, and Kenyon only one.
Imagine, in this cold weather, trekking to Ham-Will for every meal. No Smith buffets, Thomson grocery shopping, or Science Center coffee.
Chartwells keeps these many locations open at its own loss; to run efficiently, they should only maintain four stations.
It is possible the decreased food quality allows the school to continue funding six more dining locations than logical.
To reduce spending, Ohio Wesleyan would have to close a few locations.
How would the school decide which places to close?
Putting the choices to a vote might prove unfruitful, as each store provides convenience for certain professors, and majors.
Another complaint which students voice is about food pricing.
Yet Chartwells takes losses for the students in this area as well.
In the last year, inflation has increased food prices by 4.47 percent.
Yet OWU has only increased student food prices by 3%, saving students approximately 30 cents a day.
While the savings might seem insignificant, the implications are important.
The school could, if it wished, burden students by basing prices solely on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
But the school avoided such actions, saving students money.
Personally, I value convenience over taste. So, on the whole, I am very thankful for Chartwells and their services.

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