Catering costs will not increase

Student organizations will not see an increase in food catering costs despite a new University policy barring organizations not affiliated with GW from hosting events in the Marvin Center during the school year, a Sodexo official said last week.

The food service company will look at other resources to make up the profits lost from the outside renters who will no longer need catering in the Marvin Center, Sam Ramos, director of operations for Sodexo at GW, said at a dining services commission meeting last Thursday.

Ramos added that the University’s new policy “hurt” Sodexo, taking away “more than half of our profits.”

Charging students more to make up the lost revenue, however, was not considered an option.

“That [option] never came up in our discussions,” Ramos said.

Director of Campus Support Services Nancy Haaga also said revenue from student catering could not make up the lost profits for Sodexo.

“We couldn’t possibly make up the difference on the students’ backs,” Haaga said.

Student organizations already receive an “at-cost” rate, Ramos said. Sodexo only charges them for the food, labor and space costs, which he said shows Sodexo’s commitment to helping student organizations.

Sodexo plans to reach out to different academic and administrative departments – that often use outside catering companies for their GW events – and try to convince them to use Sodexo instead, Ramos said.

“When you use third-party caterers, the money goes away from the University,” he said. “If you use Sodexo, we pay the University money so some of it is coming back in.”

Another option Sodexo is exploring is to sign another exclusive catering agreement for a different building on campus, Ramos said. Currently, all food served in the Marvin Center must be provided by Sodexo. Ramos mentioned 1957 E St. or Duques Hall as possible options.

Haaga, however, said her office has not heard of these plans, and did not comment on them. Ramos said this plan is something Sodexo is only talking about, as one of many ideas to make up the losses.

Student Association President Julie Bindelglass, who brought up cost increase concerns, said she is happy the University is committed to keeping costs low for students.

“I was very comforted to hear that, in light of the revenue loss of outside catering, all of the Sodexo and GW administrators agreed they would not pass the burden off to student organizations,” Bindelglass said. “As is, many student organizations struggle to pay for the cost of catering and we will continue to work for prices which decrease rather than increase.”

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