As Deerfield students returned to campus this fall, a buzz of annoyance rang through the Greer Store and Louis Cafe. Although the changes were largely insignificant, some students noted that prices had increased on smoothies, cookies, and candy.
Assistant Head of Dining Services Bradley Woodward attested to modest increases: “[These changes] are the first times we’ve raised prices since I’ve been here, and I’ve been here for five years.”
Mr. Woodward explained that the primary cause of these rises result from either the cost of prepackaged food from a vendor, or the labor invested by staff members to make the items. “Those are the main factors: labor and cost,” said Mr. Woodward. Vendor prices must be met, so the item prices must rise. Products like cookies or muffins “are made in-house, in our bakery,” as Mr. Woodward explained, and those costs have risen to reflect the time dedicated by staff to providing them homemade.
The menus themselves have also changed for the new school year; some price increases mirror these changes. Mr. Woodward explained that a few years ago, smoothies at the Greer were made from a processed mix that was “90% sugar and 10% fruit, if you were lucky.” Now, the smoothies are 100% fruit and fruit juice. “The cost on the smoothies is considerably higher than it used to be, because the mix was cheap, and buying fruit is not cheap,” said Mr. Woodward. “But I thought it was worth it, in terms of the quality of the product, and how well it would be received, and the overall healthfulness of the item.” As the menu evolves with student requests and the increase of healthy options, the prices must change to reflect those shifts.
To minimize confusion about the recent changes, it is important to understand the goal of Deerfield’s on-campus cafes. The cafes are run as break-even operations, and, as such, the prices are manipulated to ensure that the Greer and the Louis Cafe can pay for themselves. There is a small amount of cushion room to maintain the facility and the equipment, but the cafes have never been operated to generate a profit. Rather, they strive to provide delicious food and drinks to the Deerfield community at the lowest prices possible.
With the increased amount of healthy options and the increased quality of items, both in prepackaged food from vendors and house-made products, prices are bound to rise. Mr. Woodward hopes that the price increase is moderate enough to not be an inconvenience.
Nicholas Ortega ’19 said, “I didn’t notice [the changes] until someone brought it up, but the cookies only went up a dime, so it’s not a big deal.”
However, other students worry that a dime a day can stack up to a much larger cost overall. “The Greer is very convenient and it is very common for people to miss a meal,” said Valentina Saldarriaga ’20. “With prices rising, a good percentage of campus might not be able to afford it as often.”
Although these changes may pose a slight inconvenience to students, the Academy dining staff hopes that having more healthy and delicious items on the menu will be an overall positive change for the Deerfield community.