Statement from Joe Werts on Four Meal Swipes

“Illinois College and Chartwells discussed how to better serve all students this year with their meal plans and implemented a four swipe limit to daily swipes for all students on block plans. This helps the students maintain their freedom associated with the block meal plans but helps safe guard the many, many students who face the risk of running out of meals every semester.
The college and Chartwells partner every year to discuss options for making the meal plans better for all of the students and taking all needs into account.
The first thing that needs to be understood is that Chartwells can do just about anything, but there are pricing scales and structures in place for every change made to meal plans and services. That’s how the negotiation is handled. To be competitive within their market and to give the greatest value to the students; both returning and incoming, the college has a specific cost associated with the room and board rates.  The college asks to add or take away from the services provided and makes compromises to keep within a certain price structure. Chartwells is willing to try new things and change just about anything to adjust to the students needs, but we have to stay within the constraints of our business to ensure our success.
For example, two years ago, we had two venues open for breakfast and lunch, and three for dinner. We had errors in the efficient use of scheduling because of how the students were using our services, so we changed. We traded breakfast and dinner at Mondo’s for lunch at the grill. This reduced lines and we were able to swap hours so we did not have to increase rates to do it.
This year, we pulled hours from the dining room in the afternoon when no one was here, and we were able to open Starbucks for late night service, again without increasing rates.
These are two example of compromise to better serve the students.
The same goes for meal plans and meal plan cost. The more flexibility and unlimited use that exists in the meal plans, the more the cost will increase. We can open up constraints and give larger freedoms, but those come at a cost because of the additional cost involved to us as a business to enact these plans and provide more goods and services.
My advice for students who want to get involved is to first understand the process and to understand both sides of the business arrangement. The more you understand about the process, the more impact you can have. Understanding the dynamics will help the students gather a realistic list based on priorities knowing that they may not get everything because of the negotiation process involved.
Please let me know if you have any further questions, or require any further explanation. Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to explain our collective decision making process with the Senate.”
Joe Werts

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