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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Campus eateries choose cost over customization

Savannah Douglas

Business freshman Allen Hughes makes wraps for customers at the Park Student Union cafeteria on Tuesday. Campus menus have recently changed and students are upset that customizing wraps at IQ Fresh is no longer an option.

The menus at campus eateries have fewer customization options than in previous years in an effort to make meals more affordable for students.

Jason Tolliver, the executive director of Arizona Student Unions, said that the food slips have fewer options than before because the student unions are trying to provide a better value for students.

Tolliver said eateries are creating more standardized food by offering combinations to students instead of a multitude of singular items. He said that those combos are providing a better value to students.

Tolliver also said they were able to cut down on costs by providing similar foods at the different locations across campus while maintaining the “flavor profile” that students have become accustomed to having.

There is now only one type of french fry used in the student union-operated restaurants, whereas before, there were six different types, which drove up the cost, Tolliver said.

“The more we can standardize these things, the better off it is for the consumer,” Tolliver said. “The more options that you give for input, the more expensive an item becomes.”

Tolliver said that by offering those customization options, they were passing a lot of costs onto the students.

According to Tolliver, they came to decide on these changes by analyzing the data that they had from student orders through the registers at those restaurants. By doing so, they were able to find out what students were ordering the most frequently in order to determine what options were necessary to standardize and keep on the menus.

Students, such as Abdullah Alghamdi, an aerospace engineering sophomore, have noticed the difference.

“Last semester, I was having options like quesadillas to customize my type of food I’m choosing,” Alghamdi said.
Now, though, Alghamdi said that the papers he is filling out for his food choices have fewer options than they did in the past.

Other students said that they were divided on the topic. Daniel Iniguez, a physiology and molecular and chemical biology sophomore, said he welcomes the changes.

Iniguez said that with the limited options, he has noticed an improvement in the quality of the food.

“The menu changes really made a significant difference in the quality of food,” Iniguez said. “Less variety of food gave for higher quality, and I think it’s a good change.”

Other students said they preferred the older student union menu.

“I think I liked it better before, because I still had more options to choose from,” Alghamdi said. “I don’t like choosing the same option every time.”

Tolliver said he would challenge the opinions of students unkeen about the menu changes, saying that it is still likely they can order what they want.

“I think that it’ll be different,” Tolliver said. “I think the ordering will be different, but I think in most of our units, they can still get to the customization that they want except for items that we may no longer carry because of cost.”

—Follow Max Rodriguez @njmaxrod

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