WLUSU food service businesses see substantial loss

The last Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union board of directors meeting of the semester on Friday saw two main points of discussion all revolving around finances: the first being Wilf’s and then a follow up on the Brantford Williams.

During the last period, Wilf’s produced a $28,000 unfavourable variance, which director Jordan Hyde pointed out to the rest of the board as a problem.

Wilf’s had projected to lose $97,000 over the course of the year; to date it has lost $141, 000.

“Literally food costs and part-time labour. If you take those two costs there you go,” said WLUSU general manager Mike McMahon about why Wilf’s has lost money this year. He added that Wilf’s has been very busy, and has therefore needed to increase staff.

“We have to make sure we can provide the best level of customer service,” said McMahon.

He added that next year the plan is to hire more full-time staff in order to decrease the number of people needed on a shift. “We have to be more conservative in our budgeting.”

The other main issue discussed was what to do about the large losses experienced by the Brantford Williams.

To date this year the franchise has lost a total of $251,000. Director Hyde asked the board about possible alternatives to the Williams.

WLUSU president Laura Sheridan noted that she met with Laurier president Max Blouw and dean of students David McMurray about the possibility of collaborating with the students’ union about potentially getting a meal plan in Brantford.

“It’s incorrect to assume that we can’t have a meal plan in Brantford without a dining hall. You can, and the university is eager to help us explore that option,” said Sheridan.

“Williams would be a part of the meal plan, other external vendors would be as well. They’re going to help us create another option, and the meal plan is not contingent on a dining facility.”

Sheridan added that the process would not happen overnight, but would be phased in slowly. “There is still plans for a dining facility, but not until they build the new residence facility.”

Hyde asked about the possibility of replacing the Williams with a Union Market, a WLUSU brand, so the student’s union will not have to pay extra fees.
“Why can’t we have both?” said director Kayla Smith, who attends Laurier Brantford.
“Brantford takes in more students every year.”

Smith added that it might be difficult for directors to see the long-term picture because they only serve one term on the board.

“It’s still running at a loss, but we kind of expected to run at a loss. If a board decided that the Williams wasn’t for Brantford, then I fear that Brantford students would feel that we just took one step forward, two steps back.”