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Food Services' Costs Mount North House System Altered


The North House Food Subcommittee requested last week that the student initiated experiment in self-service in the House dining hall be altered due to an unexpected rise in costs.

Under the modified procedure which will be continued for another 30 days, students will no longer serve themselves the main dish. Self-service will continue for all side dishes.

Last fall students lobbied for two months before receiving permission from the Food Services to try the experiment, Daniel Polster '72, a member of the subcommittee, said yesterday. The students wanted to return to last year's self-service system which was discontinued when Harvard took over the operation of the Radcliffe dining halls this year.

In the first 13 days of the experiment last month, costs for North House averaged seven cents per-person permeal in excess of the South and Currier House averages. This adds up to about $50 per day for the House in excess of the South and Currier totals.

Polster suggested that the added cost was incurred by students serving themselves more food than would be given to them by a Food Services worker.

Using the self-service system last year, the Radcliffe dining halls had been operating at a deficit, possibly as much as $50,000, Richard G. Leahy, assistant dean of the Faculty for Resources and Planning said yesterday.

The students of North House had volunteered to pay any "substantial" increase in costs caused by the experiment, Polster said.

Because neither the Food Services nor the student committee considered 13 days' worth of statistics conclusive, the experiment was modified rather than discontinued.

Polster said that self-service, as a largescale money-saver, would "obviously entail labor reductions."

Stephen S.J. Hall, vice-president for Administration, disagreed with this statement, saying that a self-service system provides "no substantial opportunity to save money by making labor cuts."

Hall added that since Harvard took over the Radcliffe food services this year the deficit of previous years has been "significantly diminished."

Brown University tried a self-service system this year and discontinued it because of rising costs, Polster said.

Polster said that he has heard no objections to self-service among students and that "people went out of their way" to make favorable comments.

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