Dining Services Staff Will Not Change, but Food Quality Might
At the end of September 2016, President Stratsi Kulinski said the university will not outsource the dining services at AUBG in the foreseeable future. Despite the rumors going around campus, the employees of the Hungry Griffin will not be replaced. Still, Kulinski acknowledged the students’ dissatisfaction with the dining services and stated
he is working toward solving the problem.
In the Spring 2016 semester, 298 students signed a petition initiated by the Student Government. Through the petition, the students expressed their discontent with the price-to-quality ratio of the food offered by
the Hungry Griffin. The signatures were presented to Kulinski, who said he tried to evaluate the situation during the summer break.
High-quality vendors, including the firm providing for the American College of Sofia, had the chance to bid for the management of the dining services. They had to meet three major requirements: to keep all employees, to improve the price-to-quality ratio of the food, and to work at a no greater financial loss for the university.
As he told the students at the meeting of the Student Government on Oct. 19, only two companies officially submitted their proposals even though five applied initially. However, neither one of them could meet the third requirement. AUBG had to either accept a “financially unfavorable” offer or try to improve the product offered internally.
Given that the food offered at the Hungry Griffin is “actually low to mid-price on the market,” Kulinski said he aims at improving the quality of the food in order to balance the ratio. He said he talked to members of the staff and introduced them to his particular requests.
As a customer, Kulinski would like to see a more refreshed and diverse menu as well as a cozier ambiance at the Hungry Griffin. Some of the improvements he offered to the dining services representatives were flowers to be put on the tables and a chalkboard with the menu to be shown at the entrance of the canteen. Both proposals are already a fact as of early November. Another personal suggestion Kulinski made was to enable students to season their food by picking herbs and spices from a living wall which would be put in the cafeteria
However, Kulinski said he would not give strict deadlines for his plans and particular actions.
Olga Draganova, the Dining Services Manager, said the dining services staff
is also working on informational boards with some of the items offered resembling those in fast food franchises which would be displayed in the café. The staff also plans to place cupboards with jars filled with condiments in the restaurant. Additionally, they intend to make a shorter menu with fewer meals offered in one day.
Draganova said the dining services staff is open to students’ suggestions to which the staff would try to adapt as much as possible. She acknowledged the change in the taste of the food after being displayed on the line as the main problem. Currently, the staff is brainstorming ideas how to establish a mechanism which would help solve that problem. However, it cannot be predicted precisely when and how many students would go to the restaurant.