Miscommunications Between Cal Dining, King Pin Donuts End Business Dealings

Photo: King Pin Donuts, located in the Durant Food Court, supplied orders to Cal Dining for at least 15 years. About two years ago, Cal Dining began reducing its orders, making way for the Honey Bear Bakery at Crossroads.
Shirin Ghaffary/Staff
King Pin Donuts, located in the Durant Food Court, supplied orders to Cal Dining for at least 15 years. About two years ago, Cal Dining began reducing its orders, making way for the Honey Bear Bakery at Crossroads.

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About a year ago, Cal Dining's healthy relationship with Durant Food Court's King Pin Donuts - which used to supply baked goods, pastries and donuts to on-campus dining locations - turned from sweet to sour.

A series of miscommunications between Dari Shamtoob, owner of King Pin Donuts, and Cal Dining administrators resulted in multiple delayed payments, which at one time amounted to $50,000, according to Shamtoob. Additionally, an administrative desire for more efficient operations and product control resulted in Cal Dining's establishment of the Honey Bear Bakery in Crossroads as the new supplier of baked goods and desserts at residence hall dining commons and on-campus retail locations.

Cal Dining had been ordering deliveries of King Pin products - pastries, muffins and donuts - daily for about 15 to 16 years, according to Shamtoob. Less than two years ago, Cal Dining stopped ordering its baked goods, and last fall, the dining services stopped ordering its donuts.

Cal Dining's reduced product flow from King Pin two years ago paved the way for the Honey Bear Bakery to flourish. Charles Davies, associate director of residential dining and executive chef at the bakery, was the mind behind its establishment in fall 2008.

"We had a space in Crossroads that was being underutilized," he said of his project. "Honey Bear is really efficient because it's Cal Dining staff - we don't generate any invoices. It's not designed to make a profit, it's more of a break-even operation."

Though the bakery opened in Crossroads three years ago, Cal Dining continued ordering donuts from King Pin because it did not have the capacity to produce them. But eventually, the cost of processing invoices from the donut shop surpassed Cal Dining's profit from selling the donuts.

Ida Shen, assistant director of culinary and executive chef for Cal Dining, said it took "quite a bit of manpower to process the invoices, and it was an administrative tax on our budget."

"We had a very good relationship with King Pin Donuts," she said. "They have a very good product and were willing to move toward trans-fat free, but things changed and organizations have different missions. We moved on and I realize that that may be a financial hardship for King Pin - for us to have moved forward - but that is part of the risk for owning a business."

Following the trend of switching to electronic transactions, Cal Dining started to "require electronic invoices" in order to minimize administrative costs and increase efficiency.

Shen said Cal Dining had offered to continue doing business with Shamtoob provided that he switched to electronic invoices, but added that he did not respond to the offers.

However, Shamtoob said the idea to switch to electronic invoices was his.

He added that several of his e-mails and voice messages to Suzanne Golden - the dining services administrator with whom he had been in contact - received no response.

"The choice was never provided to me," he said. "And if it was, I would have definitely accepted."

After a long period of silence, Shamtoob said he was exhausted by the lack of communication and decided to seek a response from Golden in person, and he was told that she had retired a couple months ago.

Michael Laux, assistant director of human resources, said the administration was waiting for Shamtoob to bring in copies of outstanding invoices.

"We've been trying to get copies from him to get them paid," he said.

Following an inquiry into the matter by The Daily Californian on Wednesday, a Cal Dining administrator contacted Shamtoob to resolve payment issues, according to Shamtoob.

"Yesterday they gave me $4,463, and today they gave me $1,100 for error of their accounting," he said in an interview Thursday. "They gave me the credit card number and they said go ahead and charge it."

Shen said on Thursday afternoon that "as of this moment, he has been paid."


Jessica Gillotte is the lead business reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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