University Centers to Replace Three Price Center Vendors

Photo courtesy of Alex Hansen. Link to photo license.

University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) will replace three Price Center vendors—Shogun, Zanzibar, and Round Table Pizza—by 2020, despite a lack of transparency and student involvement.

The 2017–2018 board extended the leases for Shogun and Zanzibar on May 8 with the recommendation that they be replaced the next time the leases are up for renewal in 2020. Sales for both vendors are declining in spite of significant growth from other restaurants in Price Center.

UCAB will review both Shogun and Zanzibar again the next time the lease is up for renewal. If the future board decides to follow the recommendation to replace the restaurants, University Centers (UCEN) will create a restaurant concept. UCAB will then identify and review candidates with a broker.

In addition, the lease for Round Table Pizza expires June 30, 2018. The space was opened to a competitive bid for vendors in May 2017, but Round Table chose not to participate. UCAB began review of restaurant proposals for Round Table’s space in November 2017 and finished the process in February 2018.

“The University has entered into exclusive lease negotiations with their selected candidate [for Round Table’s space],” said University Centers (UCEN) Director Sharon Van Bruggen. “During the negotiation period, UCAB and UCEN do not publicly discuss the selection process nor the candidate.”

UCAB holds public meetings every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Earl Warren Room at Price Center. It has not updated the contact information on its website, making it difficult for students to express ideas and concerns to student board members, who represent and convey the concerns of the student community. UCAB also regularly delays the release of its meeting minutes by up to one month. Students looking to understand what UCAB is planning have limited access to its public records because of these delays and the lack of transparency.

However, Van Bruggen defends the ways through which UCAB obtains its information on student population opinions.

“The UCAB representatives discuss options with their respective councils and constituents, and then bring their feedback to the board for discussions that generally span several meetings,” said Van Bruggen. “Additionally, we get feedback through the student customer satisfaction survey, our mystery shopper program, retail focus groups, and the CSI survey of principal members.”

Mick Mattie is a Contributing Writer for The Triton. You can follow him at @Mick_Mattie