The Daily Californian Online

Sweet and Sour

By The Senior Editorial Board
Daily Cal Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Category: Opinion > Editorials

Cal Dining's decision to stop using King Pin Donuts for donuts may make business sense but seems full of poor record-keeping and missed opportunity.

It is clear from Cal Dining's website that buying locally produced food is a high priority, with it detailing an organizational goal of 25 percent of all purchases being local. Contracting with King Pin Donuts would be beneficial to the campus by not only providing good quality food but also supporting the local economy.

However, supporting the local economy is not always the most efficient option and the campus must strike a balance between doing so and minimizing unnecessary costs. Therefore, we support the campus's creation of the Honey Bear Bakery and subsequent production of donuts if doing so is financially savvy.

Even so, a review of events prior to the switch last fall reveals poor communication between King Pin Donuts and Cal Dining and raises questions on why neither side worked harder to preserve their relationship.

The first major problem is the lack of a paper trail consisting of documents that could have easily clarified any issues and avoided the delay between the final donut delivery and the campus's last payment. We don't know how either side could allow such a discrepancy in their records, especially one that eventually resulted in a $1,100 accounting error.

Second, better communication could have avoided much of the confusion and potentially preserved the business relationship. Executive Chef and Assistant Director of Culinary Ida Shen of Cal Dining claims that the cost of processing paper invoices was a major reason for severing the relationship and that if King Pin switched to electronic invoices, the relationship could have been saved. However, owner Dari Shamtoob claims switching to electronic invoices was his idea, and he was never offered a chance to switch.

Regardless of whose idea it initially was, the fact both parties claim to have thought of it suggests that options were open for either side to preserve the relationship.

Moving forward, Cal Dining - and any other business - must be sure to be overtly clear in its communication and meticulous in its record-keeping. Had it done so initially, perhaps we would still have the chance to eat donuts from King Pin on campus and enjoy the sweet taste of supporting the local economy.

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