Fatma El Shenawy
The university administration sent an email to Delicious Inc. in order to terminate the contract they currently uphold with the food provider earlier this semester. This was done in response to students’ demands during the strike last month.
The contract that was originally meant to end in October 2012 will instead be terminated as of June 30, 2012. After that point, AUC’s contracts will be directly with vendors.
As a transitional step, AUC signed a contract with Seoudi Market directly, without Delicious Inc. being involved.
Seoudi was sceduled to open on Oct. 1, but the opening has been delayed to the Oct. 23, as stated in President Lisa Anderson’s email.
Wafaa Sadek Amin, Senior Director of Administration & Financial Support, explained that the delay is due to late shipment of brand new equipment that Seoudi ordered for the on-campus outlet. There was the option that Seoudi would get used equipment from other branches, but it was not preferred by Seoudi’s management.
Amin said, “Seoudi’s management insisted on new equipment, as they did not want to start with something not up to the standards of AUC. Thus, the university approved it and didn’t push (for the original opening day).”
Hassan Mowad, Food Service Quality Assurance Manager, explained that the new market will operate from 8:30 am to 11:00 pm, with the exception of official holidays, and with the same prices and quality of any Seoudi market. This is different from the previous market outlet Quick24’s operating hours, which was open for 24 hours.
Their new and bigger location in the sports complex garden level, in front of the ARTOC sports center, will help them sell a wider variety of products than Quick24 such groceries, bread from their bakeries, as well as other basics. They also agreed that if one of the students needs an item that is not available, it will be delivered to campus from their nearby supermarkets.
AUC residents showed their dissatisfaction with the present situation. Menna Ali, a student resident said, “I stayed for one day without bottled water in my room, and I had to walk from the dorms to Tabasco at 1 am to buy water.”
Additionally, students buying from Tabasco pay higher prices, it takes 30 minutes for an order to get ready.
Nour Yehia, another dorm resident, had the same problems as Ali, but in addition to that she explained that the curfew on residents, which starts on 11 pm, makes her have to sign out every time she leaves the dorms, even to go to Tabasco, and sign in when she gets back again. Before, residents had to sign out and back in from Pepsi gate, so they were able to move around campus more freely.
Yehia says, “We signed a petition to show our dissatisfaction with the present situation after Quick24 closed. The reply was that Seoudi will open on Oct. 1, but it hasn’t opened yet!”
Another concern is the food outlets that will be available on campus after the termination of Delicious Inc.’s contract.
Amin said “everything will be determined through a survey that will show the community’s demands.”
This includes rating the present vendors, and based on that the university will be able to determine which outlets will stay and which will leave.
There are also vendors that have provided offers to AUC, such as Auntie Anne’s, offering to sell their products on campus at a lower price than their regular prices. Also in these situations, it remains the community’s call.
Mowad assured that even if students agreed on a food outlet that was not up to the standards, the university will put restrictions on the vendor’s management to make sure quality is maintained. Both Amin and Mowad repeatedly emphasized on the importance of the upcoming survey in this matter.