Allow departments to use approved outside vendors for catering services rather than the Student Union

The Catering and Food Service Policy requires that departments use Student Union Dining Services for events with a cost that exceeds $500 or request a waiver. Campus department representatives believe that they should be allowed to use the catering vendor that best suits the needs when considering a combination of quality, service and cost.

Suggestion: Increase the amount when a waiver is required to a much higher level, such as $5,000, or eliminate this requirement altogether.

Why does this make sense?

1.  In this challenging budget and financial environment, campus departments are striving to be more cost effective. In many cases, catering can be provided at a lower cost, and often of higher quality and with better service from approved catering vendors.

2.  Campus department representatives believe that many events would be better served by a specialty catering company based on the nature of the activity, and going through the waiver process is time consuming and frustrating. Increasing the level when a waiver is required reduces the frequency that the exception process must be used, and the focus would be shifted to higher dollar events.

3.  The policy was established in 2000, and was most recently modified in 2005. The $500 limit is ten years old. The policy should be reviewed to determine if this still makes sense. At a minimum, the policy should be updated annually or every few years to reflect the increased costs of catering.

(Submitted April 2014)

 

Notes

Because the Student Unions' business model was built on serving as the University's primary catering organization, the waiver limit will not be entirely eliminated. The event maximum has been increased to $750 and the exemption process has been streamlined. 

Status

Carefully Considered

Category

Comments

Submitted by kkahle on
University catering is rude. Last time we used them, they took the food away over an hour before they were supposed to!

Submitted by annep on
They have let us down too often. Not brought enough food, napkins, glasses. Not arrived early enough and I've had to call on department staff to help set tables in order to start our function in time. I've had to stand in front of over 100 people and explain that "catering" is running late. Very embarrassing. Food has been cold, lettuce limp, pastries dry and bagels/breads old and stale. It's happened so often that now I'm anal about confirming and checking up on them which takes time away from other projects that I work on.

Submitted by charismam on
Student Union catering services are increasingly expensive for low quality service. Orders are not acknowledged, staff is unavailable for confirmations food arrives either far too early and gets cold or arrives late. The Student Union has started outsourcing simple orders to third party vendors anyway. We may as well save the cost and arrange catering with outside vendors directly.

Submitted by aubreycarter on
Our MBA students have consistently given very low ratings to the food and service provided by Student Union catering. Though we recognize that they are making efforts to improve, it would greatly increase our students' satisfaction if we could provide more variety through outside vendors
Aubrey Carter
Program Coordinator, Eller Evening MBA

Submitted by vaillana on
Hello, everyone. We've got a good idea about the issues at play here, so as your moderator, I'm going to ask us not heap on more commentary on this topic, unless you have something new to share. Senior VP Melissa Vito and Student Unions Director Jason Tolliver have been notified of your concerns. Let's give them some time to respond..
Allison Vaillancourt
Vice President, Human Resources & Institutional Effectiveness

Submitted by sarmstro on
Would it be possible to have an update on this idea posted as a comment?

This idea currently has an average rating of 4.9 stars from 162 votes, and the last status update was provided at the beginning of May.

Thank you.

Submitted by vaillana on
I understand that Student Unions Director met with the Council of Academic Business Officers to discuss this, but am not sure about the outcome of that meeting. We will follow up and request an update on this.
Allison Vaillancourt
Vice President, Human Resources & Institutional Effectiveness

Submitted by vaillana on
I understand that Student Unions Director met with the Council of Academic Business Officers to discuss this, but am not sure about the outcome of that meeting. We will follow up and request an update on this.
Allison Vaillancourt
Vice President, Human Resources & Institutional Effectiveness

Submitted by brendak on
In response to feedback from the campus community, the Catering waiver limit has been raised from $500 to $750 and the Catering waiver request form has now been automated which should speed response time. The link for the waiver can be found on the Arizona Catering Company website.

In addition, an updated menu should be available online early next week to reflect revised pricing to better accommodate department needs.

Thank you all for your valuable input and suggestions.

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