Rise in Prices: The Hidden Costs at the Saints Cafe

Four years ago, a delicious chocolate chip cookie at the Saints Café costed 50 cents. Today, the price of the same cookie is $1. In recent years, the prices of cookies along with other products at the Saints Café have risen at the displeasure of the Saints student body. The real question is: why?

In an interview with Ms. Melissa Gaudiel, the Head of Food and Services, remarked that there are many “variables” associated with the determination of prices at the Saints Café– including the price of gasoline, the market price for ingredients, sustainable responsibility, and bills and wages.

She comments, “as prices of gasoline goes up, our charge for delivery fees from our delivery drives and suppliers also go up.” Similarly, “as prices increases for our ingredients, so does the Café’s prices.” This accompanied by the produce fluctuations that depend “on availability, season, weather, and economies from where our products come from. For example, we paid more for oranges when there was freezing weather in Florida that damaged a lot of their orange trees.”

Additionally, the introduction of new products and the implementation of “fully biodegradable or compostable products” have attributed to higher prices for the containers your items come in.” On top of this, Ms. Gaudiel says that the “[Saints Café] strives to buy more organic and BC local items on our menus” and thus “pay a bit more for these than compared to items that are not organic or local.”

Lastly, the expenses of becoming more sustainable compound the expenses of wages, especially for the “purchasing items that are made from scratch” like the Yogurt Parfait. On top of the expenses for the ingredients, “prices have to also cover business expenses such as the wages that it took a Saint Café team member to clean and chop the strawberries;  pay for the detergent to wash the knives, cutting board, bowls, bills that paid for the gloves that the team member uses to keep your yogurt food safe; as well as the energy bill to run the fridges that keep your yogurt at a food safe temperature.” These hidden costs in production for these products ”will more often than not, cost more than what we call “convenience” items such as a can of pop or a bag of chips.”

When asked about changes in the Saints Cafe in the near future, Ms. Gaudiel said, “we are constantly brainstorming about how we can communicate our changes or initiatives. We have been planning for an electronic monitor for a couple of years now so that we can communicate these changes responsibly and we have gotten word from our IT department that this is in progress.”

While the Saints Café continues to be a provider of daily refreshments for the student and staff body, a bigger question lies ahead: what does the future hold? Let’s hope it’s another step in the right direction.