Branded food service outlets at UTM are raising prices in anticipation of the upcoming minimum wage increase. Costs are expected to increase by five to 11 per cent, as opposed to the previous average year-on-year increase of three per cent.
Prices for non-branded food are also set to increase, although it is unclear by how much. UTM is set to work with its catering partner Chartwells to keep its non-branded price increases “as low as possible given the increase in labour costs and expected increase in food costs,” according to the minutes of the Food Service Advisory Committee meeting on November 15.
The Food Service Advisory Committee evaluates and reviews various policy and operational aspects pertaining to food services at UTM and serves in a consultative capacity responsible to Vicky Jezierski, Director of Hospitality and Retail Services at UTM.
Jezierski explained, “University of Toronto Mississauga has no control over price changes in branded food service outlets… We do not set our branded prices at premium or non-traditional price levels that some other campuses do.”
The food price increases will also affect student meal plan rates, since these can be used at both branded and non-branded vendors on and off-campus. Jezierski noted that food prices are “the driving force” behind proposed meal plan rates.
“We are still in this part of the process, so the price increase for non-branded food service outlets has not been finalized,” said Jezierski. “Our focus is… also on sustainable food service hours of operation and service levels from year to year while still maintaining food prices at UTM that are well below the average of food prices at other Canadian college and universities.”
Jezierski said that Hospitality and Retail Services cannot subsidize increased costs because it “operates as an ancillary and is not in a position to get subsidies from the UTM’s operating budget.”
UTM Dining Services has put up printed notices of these increases at the various branded services’ kiosks, including at the Tim Hortons in the William G. Davis Building. The notices indicate that branded services “will be introducing price increases consistently for the remainder of the year.”
All branded services are implementing price increases, such as Bento Sushi, Subway, and all branded vendors in the Temporary Food Court, including Booster Juice, Elements, and Pizza Pizza.
As of the 2017 University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) AGM, the Blind Duck pub, a UTMSU division, had not indicated increases in price. The pub is currently running a deficit as UTMSU executives opted not to increase food costs last year despite increases in the cost of sales.
The UTMSU did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment in time for publication.