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)
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.