By Andrew WroblewskiStaff Writer
Lackmann Culinary Services, Hofstra’s main, on campus food provider, has posted signs in Hofstra’s dining halls detailing the company’s success at keeping on campus food prices the same as they were in 2011. Hofstra and Lackmann were able to agree upon not raising prices in 2012/2013, despite rising food prices that have been seen outside of Hofstra. Linda Pianelli, Marketing Manager for Lackmann Culinary Services at Hofstra University, stated that the signs posted in the dining halls are a part of Lackmann’s “You First” service program. “‘You First’ is a guest service and associate recognition program that Hofstra Dining Services has started to incorporate in all of its units,” said Pianelli. “The program encourages associates to provide excellent guest service every day, every meal and for every guest.” The “You First” program has been implemented at Hofstra through the incorporation of suggestion boxes in the Hofstra dining halls. Hofstra and Lackmann are hopeful that customers will use the suggestion boxes to have their feedback and criticisms heard immediately and understood so that the quality of food services can be improved. Hofstra and Lackmann have been able to better understand their customers and their needs through the “You First” program. This understanding was applied when Hofstra and Lackmann met for their annual summer meeting where they discussed the food prices for the upcoming year. At the 2012 meeting, Hofstra and Lackmann both agreed that prices would not be raised, despite pressure from rising prices elsewhere, which can be attributed to an unstable economy. “Particularly in a declining balance meal plan environment, such as our own, [Lackmann] understand[s] the sensitivity to pricing,” said Pianelli. Even with the decision to keep food prices the same Pianelli stated that Hofstra and Lackmann have been able to avoid suffering any negative financial impacts. Nevertheless, some students such as Tyler Botte, a Junior Business major, are not particularly impressed by Hofstra and Lackmann’s accomplishments. “While I think it’s great that Hofstra and Lackmann were able to keep prices the same this year, it doesn’t change the fact that prices are already too high to begin with,” said Botte. Another student, Matt Barry, a Junior Accounting major, agreed with Botte, saying that food prices are simply too high. “While it seems like a nice enough gesture for Hofstra and Lackmann to maintain the food prices at their current level, it’s just not enough,” said Barry. “Instead of maintain the prices, Hofstra and Lackmann should consider lowering them.” Botte and Barry were made uneasy by the thought of a possible price increase by Hofstra and Lackmann in the future. “I’d be very upset with both Hofstra and Lackmann if they decided to raise prices,” said Botte. “If food prices ever were raised I would not purchase a meal plan and would stop eating on campus altogether.” “I would most definitely eat completely off campus if Hofstra and Lackmann ever decided to unreasonably raise their prices,” said Barry. “I wouldn’t even bother to purchase a meal plan.” Thankfully for Botte, Barry and many others, Pianelli was able to confirm that food prices would not be raised at any point during the 2012/2013 academic year. However, Pianelli could not predict whether prices would be raised sometime in the future. Pianelli was also able to put some minds at ease when she rebuked a recent rumor that stated meal plan points would no longer carry over from semester to semester. Pianelli confirmed that there has been no such change made by Hofstra or Lackmann to the policy and that meal points will continue to carry over from the Fall semester to the Spring semester as long as an equal or higher meal plan is purchased for the Spring semester.