The petition to reinstate UCen Dining Services’ business partnership with the Bagel Café, which once supplied the university with its bagels, is toast.
Bagel Café manager Wes Hensley said he started the petition for students, faculty and staff to sign after Dining Services dropped Bagel Café last spring quarter as its bagel supplier, replacing it with Santa Barbara Bagel Company. Hensley said he put the petition — which requested that the university reinstate its contract with the Bagel Café — aside after meeting with Dining Services in early August, in order to show good faith in their continued business discussions.
Bagel Café owner Doron Friedman said a great number of community members showed their support by signing the petition.
“We started the petition to get people to think locally,” Friedman said. “We have overwhelming positive support from the students, faculty and staff. We used to supply bagels to UCSB athletic teams and give out discounts to athletes after games. Also, the company that sells its bagels to the UCen now sells them a lot more expensively than we did.”
UCen Production Manager Rick Jones said Dining Services ended its 14-year relationship with Bagel Café last spring because of the company’s poor service.
“Bagel Café kept messing up orders,” Jones said. “It wouldn’t just be one or two bagels missing — 60 to 70 percent of our catering orders wouldn’t come in. We put up with these problems for over a year.”
Jones said the quality of service has improved since Dining Services hired Santa Barbara Bagel Company as their new supplier.
“Other [companies] wanted our business,” Jones said. “Santa Barbara Bagel Company has a good product and we wanted to stay local… Business actually picked up after we dropped Bagel Café.”
Hensley said the problems Dining Services experienced with Bagel Café have been solved. A series of inexperienced managers — hired during a transitional period for the café — caused the poor service, he said. He said the café has since resolved its management issues.
Hensley also said he thinks the university should have considered the long-standing relationship it shared with Bagel Café before dropping it as a client.
“The decision was made more hastily than it should have been, given that Bagel Café had such a good, long-term relationship with the university,” Hensley said.
Bagel Café’s total revenue has declined since Dining Services decided to drop the eatery’s services, Hensley said. However, he said he thinks it is still a possibility that Dining Services will reconsider its decision.
“I had a very good meeting with them and I don’t think it’s out of the question that they’d come back to us,” Hensley said. “They agreed that our product was superior.”
Currently, Bagel Café supplies bagels to Lazy Acres Market Incorporated, Debbie’s Delights, Bacara Resort and Spa and Anna’s Bakery — all of which are located in Goleta and Santa Barbara, Hensley said.
But Friedman said he is still committed to re-establishing business with Dining Services.
“My goal is to get the business back,” Friedman said. “We love the university.”