Operating Expense and Retail Pricing Information
About the Operating Expense
The goal of Campus Dining Services at Stony Brook, similar to other dining services at other institutions, is to provide accessible dining to the community in support of the main academic mission of creating an accessible schooling environment for everyone. Dining services are self-supporting, fund the construction and renovation of State-owned buildings in which food services operate, provide a significant portion of on-campus student employment, and contribute to core University programs and student scholarships.
In 2008, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in order to find a new dining service contract to meet the specific needs essential to the success of Stony Brook University’s campus community, namely:
- Special dietary needs – namely, providing Halal, Kosher, Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten-Free meals across campus.
- Minimum of 20 hrs per day operation
- The inclusion of national brands within the meal plan
- Significant menu offerings at all dining facilities
- Back-up procedures to assure essential campus food service continues in emergencies, including hurricanes, blizzards, power outages, etc.
- Full declining balance a la carte meal plan (as had been in effect since 1992)
The Bid Evaluation Committee unanimously chose Lackmann Culinary Services after an extensive research process as the best choice for Stony Brook based on quality of the program offered and lowest pricing for both operating expense and for individual food items.
The committee’s recommendation was accepted unanimously by the FSA Board of Directors and became effective for the 2009-2010 Academic Year. Pricing was contractually scheduled to increase annually based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for Food and Beverage, Northeast Region.
What does the Operating Expense fund?
Over the past four years, the FSA Board of Directors has endeavored to create a funding plan to replace and modernize dining facilities from accrued Campus Dining revenues. This will allow the use of state funding to be used towards the University’s core academic functions.
Yearly increases to the Operating Expense has been deposited in an FSA Capital Reserve Fund that is used to pay for Campus Dining facility renovations and debt service on new construction, such as Roth Starbucks, Roth Regatta Cafe, and West Side Dining phases I and II. These funds will also be needed to construct the new Toll Drive Dining facility, which will replace dining services in the Stony Brook Union building. The current fee is $605 per resident meal plan.
In order to ensure that resident students are not the only ones paying for the dining hall construction, the FSA Board of Directors has approved gradual price increases in the dining halls for cash customers, which is offset by built-in discounts for residential meal plan users. The total increase, with offsetting discount to students with resident meal plans, is 5%.
National Meal Plan Trends
There are two basic types of meal plans at residential universities – full declining balance meal plans such as the one in place at Stony Brook and traditional meal plans, which are used by most campuses in the US.
Stony Brook’s full declining meal plan allow students to spend all meal plan points flexibly across campus at any time. Fees required to support the program are obvious and clearly stated. Other universities such as the University of Maryland also include a Facilities Fee and Renovation Fee in their meal plan costs.
Traditional meal plans are designed for students to take meals at resident dining facilities. Depending on the campus, resident meals may be allocated as a given number per week or per semester, or provide unlimited access to the resident dining facilities. These plans usually include limited use of center campus food courts and national brands. The operating expenses are included in the overall cost of these meal plans, but are not broken out.