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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.

Caf Price Rise Reasons

Caf Price Rise Reasons

Cafe prices have risen. Coffee and tea prices are up a penny to sevenpence and fivepence respectively, the main course has gone from 2/9 to 3/-. A three course dinner with bread, butter and a drink which was 3/9 is now 4/3, without bread and butter. Messers Boyd and Levenbach gave these reasons for increases.

In late 1960 Mr. Levenbach and the Student Union Management Committee (a sub-committee of the University Council) leased the cafeteria and shop to an outside caterer—Levenbach (the only person willing to take the contract as it stood). The contract provides that Levenbach will serve meals at times, prices and sizes laid down by the Management Committee, and be entitled to use the S.U.B. for other functions.

Management Committee policy is to break even or lose slightly on the students meals and make a profit on the outside functions. Last year the student side made a substantial loss, and the present price rise is an effort to prevent this happening again. If student meals make a considerable profit the Management Committee can order a price cut.

The cafeteria faces many expensive problems. Though it pays no rent for day-to-day running, fuel and power bills are heavy as are staff costs. Staff and food are particularly expensive because the cafeteria is open for only six and a half months of the year. Most of this period is in the winter when vegetables are most expensive. Many of the staff of sixteen full-timers must be kept on for the whole twelve months; this applies to cooks, cashier etc. Staff are hard to get; we are out of town, waitresses are necessarily laid off in October and the disgusting mess on the tables makes extra work. Such conditions would not be tolerated downtown, by either staff or customers.

Many costs have risen but Levenbach's prices have not matched them. Doughnuts, for example, went up sharply during the recent sugar-price scare and have not come down yet, but Levenbach has not asked for a price increase. Considered as a whole. Levenbach's prices are still lower than elsewhere.

Many students are worried that they are not permitted to peruse Levenbach's accounts. Commenting on this, Managing-Secretary Boyd, said that if Levenbach's operating figures were published, it would put him in an intolerable position in relation to outside competitors. Since catering is very competitive, it is quite possible that Levenbach would be put out of business. It is in the interests of students to see that this does not happen.