Grill prices soar in comparison

Grill prices soar in comparison

by Jasmynne Sloan

The Storm Street Grill’s prices are considerably higher thanother options of available to students outside of SimpsonCollege.

For example, a 20 oz. bottle of pop costs 96 cents at Wal-Mart,$1.19 at Casey’s, and $1.75 at the Storm Street Grill.

Vince LoVan is the general manager of Sodexho Campus Services,which operates both Pfeiffer Dining Hall and the Storm StreetGrill.

He said judging prices at the Grill against other stores isn’tfair.

“Prices really can’t be compared to other stores because themeal plan is a package,” said LoVan. “Students with flex moneyshould think of it as 200 points not $200.”

Ken Birkenholtz, the vice president for business and finance,said a key reason for the price difference was that the Grill hasfar fewer customers than other businesses.

According to LoVan, the Grill can’t order as much food becauseof the smaller number of customers, which means its prices have tobe higher.

“Wal-Mart can buy more food, so it has more buying power and itsprices are lower,” said LoVan.

“We just don’t go through as much food as they do,” LoVansaid.

Sophomore Rachel Haaland said it would be easy for the StormStreet Grill to charge higher prices than other businesses becauseit is one of the only place on campus to eat.

“They’re very monopolistic,” said Haaland.

“Both the prepared food and the other food costs a lot and theycan do that because we have to buy food there,” Haaland said.

According to Birkenholtz, the main reason Sodexho has a monopolyat Simpson is because there aren’t enough customers to support morethan one company.

“It has to be a successful experience for [Sodexho],” saidBirkenholtz. “In the long run, the more we can make Simpson anattractive venue for them, the more it’s going to enhance what wecan offer and help lower the prices.”

Currently there are 933 students with meal plans at Simpson. 85percent of those students have either the 12-flex or the six-flexoption.

The 12-flex option gives students 12 meals at Pfeiffer or theStorm Street Grill each week as well as $200 of built-in money foruse at the Grill. This option is available to all Simpson studentswho wish to purchase a meal plan.

The six-flex plan includes six meals a week at Pfeiffer or thethe Grill and $50 of Flex money each semester.

This 6-flex option is only available to apartment and themehouse residents.

Clearly, prices at the Grill are important to a large number ofSimpson students.

Freshman Eric Bruce is in charge of Simpson’s food committee,which works with the Residence Hall Association to relay complaintsfrom students about food to Simpson’s food service.

He sends out an e-mail once a month requesting feedback ondining at Simpson.

Bruce said he usually gets about 30 or more responses within thefirst two days of sending the e-mail.

Bruce said it was important for students to ask questions aboutprices before complaining about them.

“There’s a big concern with prices at the Grill right now,” saidBruce.

Bruce added that students should ask questions rather than justcomplain about the food at Simpson.

“We have to be careful not to automatically side againstPfeiffer and the Grill; they have reasons for what they do,” saidBruce. “More attention should be brought to trying to work out theproblem by communicating with the source of it. If students do haveissues with anything regarding food, they should express them at[food committee] meetings or through e-mails. Change really canhappen.”

LoVan said it was unlikely for prices at the Storm Street Grillto change drastically.

“The prices are structured around the meal plan costs,” saidLoVan.

“To provide that kind of service to you, we need to have thoseprices and maintain those prices as they are now,” LoVan said.