Panther Dining: is it worth the price?

Georgia State students are speaking out about their dissatisfaction with the prices they pay for food on campus.

There are three main on-campus restaurants: the food court at the Student Center, the food court at the University Center and Panther Pizza, also located at the University Center.  Many students choose to dine at these conveniently accessible restaurants between classes for a quick bite.

Some students, however, are not happy with how much money they are having to pay for those midday meals. With all the student fees, tuition and books for classes, students said having lunch is just becoming another hit to the pocket.

“Considering how much I pay in student fees, the food should definitely be cheaper,” senior Zachoyia Scott said. “We put so much into [Georgia State] already.”

Junior Andrew Whyte agreed, and said in past years, with Panther Points, students did not “physically see their money diminishing as they do now.”

Senior Jennifer Jeboda complained about the lack of variety many on-campus restaurants offer as well.

The pricing at these food courts also rival lower prices at off-campus locations. While a large, one-topping pizza costs $12 at Panther Pizza, Pizza Hut offers two two-topping pizzas for $7.99 each.

While a Chick-fil-A sandwich costs $3.15 at the University Center, the chicken-loving franchise charges $2.95 at off-campus locations.

“It’s not that much of a difference,” Scott said. “But the lowering of prices should still be a topic of discussion for students who already pay ridiculous prices for everything else.”

Pamela Barr, the interim chair of the Department of Managerial Sciences at Robinson College of Business, said this slightly higher price can be credited to various additional fees Georgia State must pay in order to have food at these facilities.

“Some of [the higher costs] have to do with the costs of facilities, as well as insurance, labor costs and purchase from the restaurants,” Barr said.

She said the comparison between the size of the University Center and the size of an average Chick-fil-A restaurant has to be factored into pricing possibilities.

All three eateries are catered by Sodexo, the food and facilities server for Georgia State as well as several other colleges and organizations. Non-franchised eating stations such as State Place Grill, Panther Pizza and Pounce Deli are all catered by the same company. Sodexo purchases the food sold from Cisco, our current food vendor.

Head chef and Sodexo employee Maricus Nolley explained how the pricing, selling and buying system takes place.

“Prices are determined through our food supplier, which is Cisco,” Nolley said. “Sodexo, our university caterer, buys the food from Cisco and then prepares and sells it to students in our food courts.”

All approved vendors, such as Cisco, are based on FDA regulations. Georgia State only buys from approved vendors in order to provide the best quality food for students.

“If the tradeoff to high prices is food that benefits our bodies, I will pay for that,” Whyte said.

Scott agreed, but also remained adamant on student fees being somehow incorporated to improve food pricing on campus. She suggested that Georgia State put some of students’ fees toward lower food prices as opposed to services not used by students.

“There should be a survey for student fees,” Scott said. “Everyone doesn’t go to Panther Prowl or to the football games. But everyone does eat [on-campus].”