Last week, many students noticed that the Rathskeller was not offering its Dollar Days, a deal where customers could purchase a specific product for $1. This is due to Sodexo’s choice to stop offering the deal after seeing diminishing returns in sales.
The Dollar Days program was developed in 2007. According to President of the Union Jonathan Stack ’13, the idea behind the program was that students would purchase the product for $1 and then buy something else from the Rathskeller, such as a drink. However, while the program existed, many students purchased solely the product on sale and then purchase a drink from Father’s Marketplace. This may be due to the fact that Father’s is run by Sodexo. The conclusion many students made was that the money was going to the same source, so it didn’t really matter.
Stack, though, stated this isn’t exactly the case. Sodexo works as a partner of the Rensselaer Union to provide students with its services. But, the way by which Sodexo pays for its space in the Union is different for Father’s from the Rathskeller. Sodexo supplies the Union with a fixed amount of money each year to run Father’s. For the Rathskeller, though, the price varies depending on sales. Because students weren’t using the Dollar Days program as expected, the sales for the Rathskeller dropped. Therefore, Sodexo asked to pay lower rent to keep their business in the Union. The Executive Board, though, can allow that price to drop only so far in order to cover the cost of the space.
Retail Manager of Sodexo Joyce Schoenig, who took her position on April 30, 2012, looked into the Dollar Days program as one of her earlier projects. After doing a cost analysis, Schoenig discovered that, “Since 2007, dairy products have increased 78 percent, grain products 58 percent, operating expenses 28 percent.” These increases in cost are referred to as diminishing returns. After she spoke with the Sodexo Board, it was determined that Dollar Days was no longer feasible.
According to Schoenig, though, they are currently looking into new dining options in the Rathskeller. Stack added that the E-Board is discussing options to fill the Rathskeller with a new food option. Harish Lall ’14 mentioned that one potential option is Mongolian cuisine.
Schoenig added, “We have just implemented a state-of-the-art rewards program call Qbot. This is a discount app that downloads to your phone, and you can enjoy discounts and value rewards.” For more information regarding Sodexo’s food options, contact Schoenig at Joyce.Schoenig@sodexo.com.