Why cafe prices are rising at AHS


Lauren Kinney

AHS students purchasing food from the cafe

Aspen High School students have access to both a cafe, where snacks and baked goods are sold, and a cafeteria where meals are served. Recently, both students and staff have noticed the rise in prices.

Tenille Folk is the food service director for all three Aspen School District schools. Tenille reveals how the original cost of the food items determines final pricing at the AHS cafe.

“As far as items in the cafe go, I have a general markup of around 20% (Give or take). With the cost of food [seeing an] increase of 20-30% since the start of COVID, and added transportation cost, as well as higher labor costs, the items in the cafe’s markups would be even lower than that,” Folk said.

Students have the choice of driving to restaurants in Aspen with AHS’s open campus. This includes purchasing gas and food, rather than purchasing high cost cafe food.

Olivia Cook, a sophomore at AHS, feels that the Cafe is especially helpful for underclassmen, and feels that staying at school to buy food from the cafe is more convenient.

“Even though the cafe prices are rising, I think it is easier to just stay at school. I do not have a car to go into town with, so I think for the freshman and sophmores, the cafe is more convenient,” Cook said.

There has always been a markup on products sold at the cafe, but this year people are questioning how the pricing of the cafe works.

“A general rule for a school lunch program I base pricing on 50% Food Cost and 50% Labor. As you can see, we do not have room for profit or maintenance or equipment. Generally speaking, a restaurant for profit company is 30% Profit, 30% Cost, 30% Labor, and 10% Miscellaneous.” Folk stated.

“I think the markup on the food is sort of leading me away from the cafe. Before COVID, it [the products] was cheaper, which made me want to buy cafe food more,” Cook said.