Photo: Truc Nguen

Price gouging at Hub

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By Jessica Whitby

Fast food franchises are charging more for food in Ryerson’s cafeteria than they do at off-campus locations.

Some food items sell for as much as 17 per cent more on campus than they do at nearby outlets. Ken Marciniec, president of RyeSAC is not surprised.

“I hadn’t actually done the research but that was my suspicion,” he said.

The Pita Pit, a food chain in Jorgenson Hall’s newly renovated cafeteria, has been charging students 10 to 75 cents more for food than at its Gerrard Street location. For example, at Ryerson a chicken souvlaki pita is $5.25 while the Pita Pit right across from Ryerson sells it for $4.50. Only three food items have the same prices for both Pita Pit locations, otherwise Ryerson prices are all more expensive.

While the Pita Pit remains popular among students, there are complaints about the high prices.

“With students paying ridiculous amounts in tuition fees, [the cafeteria] shouldn’t be making a profit,” said Marciniec.

Jacqueline Wood, a second-year early childhood education student, is also unhappy with the inflated prices.

“They [prices] have risen like no tomorrow. They shouldn’t have. Our money shouldn’t go to the [cafeteria] but to our education. If we wanted to pay a lot of money, we would go to The Keg at lunch,” Wood said.

Aramark, Ryerson’s food provider, has also cornered the North American prison food service market.

In 2002, the company’s net income rose 20 per cent to $239.1 million.

While Ryerson has the opportunity to accept other food company providers, John Corallo, Ryerson’s director of ancillary services, decided to stay with Aramark.

Marciniec doesn’t understand why.

“Aramark sells themselves as prison food services. Ryerson shouldn’t have a prison food service company on campus. My suspicion is the prices are high because Aramark is a for-profit company,” said Marciniec.

Manchu Wok, another fast food franchise, has more expensive food prices at the cafeteria than at their Eaton Centre location.

Ryerson charges 60 cents more for Shanghai noodles and 30 cents more for chicken balls, chow mein, fried rice and an egg role combo.

Yet, even with the increased food prices at Ryerson, students say they will continue to eat the cafeteria because of its convenience.

Marciniec says Aramark takes advantage of students who may not have the time to go off campus to purchase their food.

“[Aramark] also are a monopoly. They own all the food services. Where else would you pay $1.25 for a Coke?” he said.

Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse has promised to look into the matter.

Corallo was unavailable for comment.

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