Explanation behind the difference of prices in Taher’s food


Courtesy of Emily Howell

Students compare two different food options offered at Taher.

Taher, no doubt known for its cookies, chicken-fried steak, and breakfast potatoes, offers a wide variety of meals and items for students to buy throughout the day. While a monthly menu provides daily entrees, the array of chips and granola bars, salad bar, and grill-type items are available every day. The prices for all Taher items can be found on the monthly calendar and menu list located online as well as in the school commons. 

Though buying something is a simple swipe of an ID card, there is a sort of science to determining the price of each menu item. Taher runs like a business, and that means they are buying food and ingredients to match student demand. “Individually, we probably sell more chips a day than we do fruit, but there’s also a price difference,” Cafeteria Manager Lynn Lynch said.

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Part of this demand is due to the food Taher is allowed to sell as well. “[There is] more demand at this school because it’s different than if I worked for a public school because they’re regulated, and we’re not here, so I purchase things that a lot of the other schools can’t and offer them to the students,” Lynch said. 

Another part of this is the freedom students have to choose from the large variety of items offered.  “Junior high comes in, and it’s a whole new world. With so many options, they tend to buy more,” Lynch said. 

Taher takes these factors into account when purchasing ingredients, but the price of the food comes into play as well. This then relates to meal prices, as items like pizza, burgers, chicken balls, and French fries are $1.00-3.50, cheaper than the salad bar or fresh fruit. “Obviously fruit costs way more than a bag of chips costs,” Lynch said.

Another option we could do is if we portion it, and we see the ingredients we’re putting in, we can price it ourselves, then it could come down.”

— Lynn Lynch

Even if student demand for fresh options were to increase, the price of salads and fresh produce items are unlikely to decrease.  “I don’t even think a salad could come down. We don’t even sell that many salad bars, and the people that buy it are getting a super deal right now because most of the time when you go to buy a salad, it’s weighed,” Lynch said. 

However, a price cut in these items could be possible with a trade-off of smaller portion sizes. “Another option we could do is if we portion it, and we see the ingredients we’re putting in, we can price it ourselves, then it could come down,” Lynch said. 

Regardless of popularity, Taher will continue to provide salads and fresh produce ingredients for students to purchase. “I don’t want to take [those foods] away because it is a healthy option,” Lynch said.