The Binghamton University sandwich game has changed, with deli sections at Appalachian and College-in-the-Woods dining halls now charging flat fees for sandwiches.
The new pricing scheme has come to the dining halls as a result of Sodexo trying out a new delicatessen products company called Thumann’s.
According to Sodexo officials, in previous years the company enlisted an assortment of delicatessen suppliers to stock its sandwich and wrap sections.
The shift in suppliers brings some changes with it, most importantly a larger variety of meats, including pastrami, corned beef and prosciuttini.
The pricing change seems to have had a polarizing effect on frequenters of CIW and Appalachian. Students like Joshua Krinsky, an undeclared sophomore, think the flat fee will end up being more expensive than weighed pricing.
“I almost always just get meat and cheese on my sandwiches, so mine don’t weigh that much,” Krinsky said. “Typically, I think my sandwiches probably end up costing less than two dollars when weighed, which is less than the flat fee.”
Others believe that the flat fee is far more economical than weighed pricing.
“I usually get a ton of stuff on my sandwiches: lettuce, tomato and pounds of banana peppers,” said Julian Gilbey, a sophomore majoring in English. “My sandwiches weigh a lot since I get a lot on them, so I’m down for the flat fee.”
The flat fees for meat sandwiches range from $2.46 for oven-roasted turkey, to $3.05 for prosciuttini, while a turkey sandwich at Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) or Hinman costs 30 cents an ounce and a Genoa salami sandwich costs 33 cents an ounce. So for the flat fee system to be more economical than the price by weight system, customers will generally have to get a sandwich that weighs more than half a pound.
Some students have recognized the potential benefits of the flat fee and see it as an opportunity to indulge.
“I want to order a sandwich and just ask for literally everything on it,” Aaron Fienberg, an undeclared sophomore said. “I used to get fewer toppings, but now I can just do whatever I want with my sandwiches and not worry about it.”
Fienberg lives closest to C4, but joked that he will always go to CIW or Appalachian for a sandwich.
However, certain customers feel that the change in pricing has had negative effects on service.
“I am more inclined to get more toppings now because the weight doesn’t matter. But, at the same time, they seem to give me less and I feel bad asking for more tomatoes or something like that if they only give me one,” Lorraine Wong, a junior majoring in management, said.
While CIW and Appalachian added three new meats, some students were upset that chicken breast was taken off the menu. Sodexo corrected this on Thursday by putting chicken breast back on the menu. However, students can no longer get chicken fingers from the grill sections on their sandwiches.
While toppings and condiments are unlimited in the flat fee system, additional portions of meat can be added on for an extra $1.03 to $1.63, depending on the meat.
“I am losing money overall,” said Anthony Stella, a junior majoring in computer science. “But I really like the fact that I don’t have to continually wait for my sandwich to be weighed.”
In spring semester of last year, Sodexo made a similar shift in its pricing of Mexican food at CIW. Burritos were originally priced exclusively by weight, but shifted to offering both a price by weight and a price by portion system.
Large beef or chicken burritos could cost upwards of six dollars when priced by weight, making flat fee pricing far cheaper for customers asking for a lot of extras in their burritos.
“I wish they gave both pricing options, the portion pricing and the weighed pricing – like they do for the Mexican food – for sandwiches,” Krinsky said. “That would be my dream.”