Complaints work, concludes student member of the University Council, Thomas Vaessen. Last December, he held a minisurvey among students and employees on the selection of products offered in the university restaurants and the other catering ‘concepts’ by caterer Albron. Respondents’ wishes included more variation, more halal, more vegan. Albron listened, says their new operational manager for the UM, René Kersten. They have already introduced a halal day menu once a week, to be extended “within a month's time” to daily halal menus. The same applies to vegan meals; vegetarian food was already available. As far as halal is concerned, Albron will take a good look at the actual demand; there are quite a few Muslim students in Randwijck, but what about the city centre? If there are very few Muslims there, perhaps offering such a meal once a week may be sufficient, says Kersten.
The subject was discussed in a meeting with a student panel at the beginning of March. Kersten would like to have such meetings every three months. And as far as he is concerned, there should also be an employee panel.
Albron has also responded to the constant complaints about high prices. Kersten: “We are of course a commercial organisation, but we do want to do something. We will offer ‘combi-deals’: you buy something and you get something else. A meal with a dessert, a piece of apple pie with a latte macchiato. So you will receive a discount.”
The caterer will also have to get out more and seek publicity. Kersten: “We do a lot, but we don't communicate very well. That will have to change.”