Quest Food Prices on the Rise
With the contract renewal that occurred last summer, Quest has been serving Maine West students for well over 10 years. Though striving to serve healthy and affordable foods, product prices have increased in the past three years. Quest has tried balancing food prices by adjusting their prices to accommodate student interests. By charging students a little bit extra, they wish to keep the quality of the food while also sustaining themselves as a business.
Signature foods, such as the burrito supreme, have maintained the same price of $4.50 but, due to the new format, all extra ingredients added on to it will cost 25 cents extra or a dollar for extra meat. All extra ingredients that are not on the food menu will cost an extra 25 cents to the purchase.
“People who buy reduced lunch usually pay around $3.50 and that’s a lot for a small measly lunch,” junior Adam Carrasco said. “Some of the prices are justifiable, but it depends on what they’re serving. I’ve been buying lunch since last year, and even then the food was a bit pricey. What I’ve been seeing is that they’ve been taking away portion sizes while also keeping the prices. “The ingredients might be expensive so I can see why they would have increased the prices. But it’s not justifiable since we’re still high school students who can’t afford $7 worth of food every day.”
But there are students who are already used to the price increases—seniors who have dealt with Quest’s price practices are already familiar with them. “I’ve been buying lunch at Maine West since I was a freshman,” senior Samantha Linek said. “Every year since then the price steadily started to rise, so I expect it to be more expensive whenever the new school year starts. I mean, the food is great. The only problem is its price.”
“We increased prices on a few select items this year. In every case, they were driven by supplier price increases,” Quest President Nicholas Saccaro explained. “The most notable change may have been in our french fries, where industry-wide production constraints have really driven prices up this past year.
“Every manufacturer we spoke to was quoting price increases. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to absorb all of these costs and still provide fresh food, decent wages and variety to our schools without passing along at least some of the price increases.”
Maine West’s Quest manager Beth Dudzinski understands student’s frustrations. With that, she tries to balance feeding students and running a business. She explains that even though food prices have to increase, she explains that it’s to provide the students the best food Quest can provide.
“My primary job is to feed the students healthy food. My secondary job is to run a business as well,” Budzinski explained. “I wish I could not raise prices but unfortunately, that’s the nature of running a business.”