By Maggie Macintosh
The $5 menu at the Ram in the Rye is off the table.
During the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) election campaign last winter, the Unify slate—the party led by the current executives—promised to introduce a discounted menu at the campus pub if elected.
At the beginning of the semester, RSU president Ram Ganesh told The Eye the menu would list appetizers and half-sized entrées.
A feasibility report on the menu was then conducted by the head chef in the Student Campus Centre (SCC) kitchen.
After reviewing the report, the Palin Foundation, the administrative body on campus responsible for maintaining SCC facilities, decided the $5 menu wasn’t feasible.
The foundation, which is made up of representatives from the RSU, Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson, SCC management and the university, made the decision at a meeting on Oct. 9.
“The RSU can make campaign promises but they don’t actually run the kitchen,” said Jennifer Stacey, general manager of the SCC.
“We discussed it as a board and, as a board, we decided that actually, our focus would be on the food we’re already providing, which is already a great deal.”
A basket of fries, garlic bread and a bowl of soup each cost less than $5 at the pub. Entrée prices are between $7 to $11 before tax.
Ganesh has previously said the discounted menu of appetizers and half-sized entrées would help alleviate food insecurity on campus.
“A $5 menu at the Ram isn’t going to address food security for students,” Stacey said.
The Palin Foundation was mainly concerned that creating a $5 menu would put additional stress on the kitchen in the SCC, which services the pub, Oakham Café and events in the building.
“It is wack-a-freaking-doodle busy down there so actually increasing the volume of what goes out is just not possible,” Stacey said.
RSU vice-president equity Karolina Surowiec said in a statement the RSU team was upset to find out the menu wasn’t feasible since they worked hard on their proposal.
“Their point of view is if they make the food prices even cheaper, a lot more students would come and they wouldn’t be able to handle the workload and there would be poor service.” said Ganesh. “We kind of disagree but they’re the professionals.”
Stacey said the kitchen’s food sales have increased steadily over the last couple of years. Last year, they made $340,000 more from food sold out of the kitchen—which was served to diners at the pub, café and to conferences held in the building—than the year before.
Planning to renovate the kitchen to improve its size and efficiency is underway, she added.
With the menu axed, the RSU wants to arrange special, discounted combos available to Ryerson students at restaurants near campus on certain days of the week. Ganesh said there are similar programs already in place.
Jay Mehta, a Good Food Centre (GFC) coordinator, said the RSU has partnered with Domino’s Pizza to offer students 50 per cent off their orders during the exam period.
Mehta said GFC wants to partner with “healthy” restaurants to offer students discounted meals in January 2019.