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Cafeteria prices and portions


I have a question about the Cafeteria. Though I appreciate the fact that we actually have a cafeteria at the Foothills Lab and the folks who work there are great, that’s about all I do appreciate about it. Considering that the food is mediocre, the portions are small, and the price is already overpriced, why is it that the prices go up so frequently?

Answered on July 31, 2012


The questioner brings up important issues and opinions; some we can explain and others we will have to agree to disagree with. Regarding pricing, the last across-the-board price increases occurred in October of 2010. Almost two years without an across-the-board increase is almost unheard of in today’s marketplace. However, prices on individual products have and will always fluctuate, both up and down, depending on market conditions. For example, the recent drought is expected to raise meat prices 4–5%. These costs, both up and down, are simply passed along, at cost, to the customer. 

A very important point to remember is that Food Services operations receive no subsidy from UCAR, so we must recoup all our costs. At the same time, the Internal Revenue Service strictly regulates the amount of profit that can be made. In our case it is close to zero. Our target, year in and year out, is to break even. What this means to the consumer is that our pricing and portion control is tied to our ability to provide service and product at cost. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that UCAR employees get a 15% discount off published prices when using their UCAR access cards. So, the prices actually paid by employees are less than what is seen on the menu.

We believe in our dedicated staff of food professionals who work hard to provide a good product at a reasonable price. But, we also realize that when it comes to food, everyone has their own taste. Our staff is completely open to new suggestions on how to improve our products. Please feel free to contact any of the cafeteria supervisors to offer suggestions.

Mari Bradley
Event Services Manager

Steve Sadler
Director Safety, Security, Site Services