I noticed in this month's Staff Notes Monthly that Food Services is setting
up cafeteria space at the Pearl Street site. I am very disappointed to hear
this, especially given the fact that for years Jeffco employees tried and
failed to negotiate with Velma for some sort of service (even when staff
was as high as 60 in the early nineties, all we wanted was fax [ordering
and] shuttle service at noon). Also, I am concerned that divisions and
programs will end up with higher overhead rates in order to subsidize a
convenience for a few employees. Here are my questions:
(1) How much of a subsidy, if any, does Food Services estimate it will need
each year, including space, in order to pay for the new Pearl Street location?
(2) How many employees (not total customers, since I'm sure we aren't doing
this as a service to the general public) per day does Food Services
estimate it will attract? How many employee hours per week go into this
location? Is Food Services going to employ new staff to do this (or cover
work at the FL site), or are they going to split existing staff between sites?
(3) At Jeffco, we were told that one of the reasons we couldn't even have
sandwiches delivered was that we were close to many fast food restaurants
and could just go there (at least two miles). At the Pearl Street site they
are walking distance from many excellent eateries, at least one of which is
in the business park. How is the Pearl Street site different from Jeffco in
terms of their need for convenience and moderately healthy fare?
(4) Wouldn't it be easier to have a shuttle run between Pearl and FL at
noontime, or to provide blue bicycles for employees to use to get over to
FL, than to open an entire eating facility?
(5) Given that Velma seems to have found a way to be more accommodating to
all staff, even small groups, is she planning on offering something to the
Answered on July 13, 2000
Thank you for your questions. We will be exploring the feasibility of
providing services at Jeffco (see below). May I assure you, first of all,
that all facility plans are carefully analyzed by a wide group of people
who look at many factors. Any plans for extended food service must fit into
the overall break-even Food Service operation. This was done for Pearl
Street. It was first determined that there was a need for a common area for
larger meetings and events as well as a support area for the planned
corporate training center. Food Services only occupies the back wall of
this common area. It is operated as a satellite operation for one and a
half hours per day (11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). There is also a vending area,
similar to those at other sites, which offers snacks and beverages. Now let
me try to answer your questions specifically.
(1) As stated above, Food Services is expected to operate in a break-even
manner and has been able to maintain that status over the years. Cafeteria
prices are kept as low as possible as well as the costs for all other
services, including coffee breaks, receptions, dinners and the like, which
are available to UCAR entities. This in turn is reflected in lower costs in
UCAR budgets compared to getting these services from the outside. We strive
to provide better service and quality, too.
Regarding space, the public and common areas are used by all, not just Food
Services. We are also exploring opening the food service area at Pearl
Street to the public during lunch, as it is at ML and FL.
(2) We do have an employee at the Pearl Street location during the above
times. She is also a necessary part of the FL staff, which has seen an
increase in business over the past several years and needs that additional
support. We feel that Pearl Street works within our structure to help us
maximize resources, production, staff, and time.
(3) I do not recall specifics regarding Jeffco requests for food service
ten years ago, but I am certain that there was much consideration given to
these. We do know from early experience that an e-mail/delivery system did
not work at Pearl Street. There were challenges in people knowing their
schedules, inadequate time to prepare food for delivery, and limited
selections suitable for transportation.
Pearl Street is 3 minutes away from Foothills, while Jeffco is at least 30
minutes. Delivery would have to be coordinated with Traffic Services. The
costs would be much higher. Would this be feasible with the business we
would expect to generate?
There are several other factors to consider. Jeffco is a highly specialized
facility, one where the on-site population varies according to job
assignments. Another very practical consideration is health department
regulations. ML, FL, and Pearl are all licensed food service operations and
must meet stringent requirements in transportation, service, and sanitation
and the practicality of doing that at Jeffco would have to be determined.
We will survey the group at Jeffco in September to determine the interest
and level of support. I would then like to sit down with a group of
interested staff to determine feasibility of such an endeavor. If anyone
might be interested in being in this focus group, please contact me (ext.
(4) Shuttle service and "blue bikes" are available for employees at Pearl
Street as they are at other locations. These are utilized for lunch, I'm
sure, but a fair number of employees stay at Pearl Street and use the food
service daily. At this time it appears appropriate to offer all options.
(5) Food Services does indeed make every effort to accommodate all staff
and divisions. We have provided numerous coffee breaks, luncheons,
receptions, and dinners to Jeffco when requested over the years. We look
forward to exploring practical options to expand the service.
-Velma Ryan, Manager, Meeting Rooms and Conferences,
Food Services and Special Functions