Cafeteria Price Surge Unreasonable

Sebastian Fojut, Staff Writer

Earlier this year, when in a rush to get out the door, I grabbed a $5 bill for lunch and headed to school. When lunch came around, I was surprised to find that the price for a slice of pizza had increased to $5.75. In fact, the price of every lunch option had increased.

While I appreciate the convenience of having a cafeteria on campus that provides tolerable sustenance, this increase in the price is unacceptable.  One would think that public schools would be interested in offering affordable nourishment given the correlation between healthy eating and scholastic achievement.

A study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention associated skipping meals with lower test scores and lower overall cognitive ability. That means the academically ambitious may see their grades suffer as a result of skipping lunches if they find the price hikes cramping their calorie consumption.

A 75 cent markup may not seem like it would stop students from purchasing a lunch, but for those who buy daily, this small amount adds up. Over the course of a year, this rise in cost could be as much as $150.00.

$6 for a burrito and a drink leaves a student short of a balanced meal.

And one can not view this rise in prices as a simple adjustment for inflation. In the last 4 years the US dollar has only decreased in purchasing power by 5%. The 14% increase in the cost of my pizza slice is way out of proportion.

Perhaps the lack of competition is part of the problem.  Without an on-campus competitor, there is less incentive for the cafeteria to provide appealing and affordable options. Students are not allowed to use DoorDash or any other food-delivery service on campus, so in a sense, the cafeteria has a monopoly of campus cuisine.

Packing a lunch may be an alternative for some, but so many students at Campolindo are involved with extracurriculars that make it difficult.  Lugging a food trough around wold be less than ideal for that athlete who arrives early for morning practice and leaves campus late after club meetings and study sessions.

One solution may be to streamline the cafeteria lunch options.  Fewer options might improve efficiency and save money, which in turn could allow for a lowering of prices. For example, in the burrito section, one can currently choose from a classic burrito, a burrito bowl, nachos, and, for some reason, enchiladas. The enchiladas are rarely purchased.

Another solution cold be to allow companies such as DoorDash and Postmates to deliver on campus. This type of competition might force the cafeteria to reconsider its prices.

Ultimately, the campus food service should not be about making money, but about providing affordable food for the convenience of the students in order to help support their academic growth.