By Brittney Jackson | The Duquesne Duke
Parkhurst Dining has responded to complaints from student organizations by lowering their prices on catering services.
After student organizations voiced their concerns regarding a 17 percent price increase on catering services, the catering service charge was reduced to a 4 percent increase. The percent price increase was responsible for pick-ups and drop-offs of food, as well as administrative costs, according to student body president Attila Mihalik.
Student organizations are not permitted to select catering services from sources other than Parkhurst Dining, due to Duquesne’s contract with the food service provider. The increase in catering charges consequently resulted in many student complaints, according to Mihalik.
However, Parkhurst was receptive to student concerns. Mihalik said Parkhurst is very open about responding to complaints, and described Parkhurst district manager David Manz as “very flexible and hard-working” when addressing student issues.
With the switch from Aramark Educational Services LLC to Parkhurst as food provider this summer, there was an average 3 to 4 percent price increase for food provided by campus eateries. According to Manz, these increases account for the provider’s fresh, locally-sourced products, cooked-from scratch items and inflationary food and labor costs.
The additional percent increase on food provided by campus eateries, established by Duquesne and Parkhurst, will remain. If Aramark Educational Services LLC was still the food service provider, the price increase would have also risen 3 percent due to inflationary food and labor costs, Manz said.
According to Manz, Parkhurst provides award-winning food, service management and commitment to high quality as well as a fresh, local and made-from-scratch approach to dining services. Parkhurst supports over 200 local growers, family-owned farms and food producers within a 125-mile radius of its service areas.
Sophomore biology major Anisha Patel said “the price increase is worth the freshness.”
“I like that Parkhurst provides students with fresh fruit daily and they tell you what farms the fruit comes from,” Patel said.
Although the average price increase for food provided by campus eateries rose, many particular food products fluctuated. There was a 10 cent price decrease for Off Ramp chicken sandwiches and a 10 cent decrease for breakfast sandwiches with meat. There was a 40 cent increase on Off Ramp burgers which accounts for a fresh, hand-pressed burger and a 30 cent increase on the fresher, hand-breaded chicken tenders, according to Manz.
Since Parkhurst Dining started as the new food service provider, individual student complaints have been received regarding issues other than prices. One issue in particular was the disappearance of Off Ramp hoagies. Manz said Parkhurst heard these complaints and added hoagies to the Off Ramp Pizza station as a direct response to student requests.
“The new management seems very open-minded and interested in listening to students’ opinions,” Mihalik said.