Our fear of losing Ofir

Last week, the Roundup printed an article delving deep into the gritty details of what can be considered the uncaring eviction of the Falafelicious Catering company.

Despite the support of Pierce College administration, Falafelicious’ five-year lease is at risk of early termination, as the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) seeks to install one vendor on each campus that will provide cafeteria, mobile food and vending services. This would strip the school of any autonomy it presently holds.

Ofir Bass, the owner of Falafelicious Catering, fought for years to occupy the empty cafeteria. Before Bass’s company took over the space, the cafeteria sat empty, limiting food options to food trucks and one cafe. If the food court closes, the school risks repeating the same problem that it only recently solved.

Bass has done an exemplary job when it comes to caring about customer satisfaction. He caters to Pierce specifically. If you give feedback, you’ll see results.

Some customers asked for more vegan options. The next day, a vegan burger was on the menu. He talked to some students, asking what vegan snacks are popular, and he purchased those exact food options by the next week. Bass said he is working with a rabbi to figure out what kind of kosher food he can add to his menu to cater to the students who keep kosher.

Bass has made it a point to make himself accessible, and he cares about providing variety. He bargains with clubs for better pricing for catered events.

That is leaps and bounds above the customer service we would get from a heartless corporation such as KFC or Taco Bell. Fast food wouldn’t do the things Falafelicious has done.

And why would they? Unlike Bass, a big corporation wouldn’t be on campus everyday hearing the demands and needs of the students. To a chain restaurant, Pierce would just be one of its many customers. Alternatively, Pierce is Falafelicious’ main focus. In fact, he said he closed down his two other restaurants to focus on Pierce.

LACCD wants universal, cookie-cutter type services. From the Brahma Café to the vending machines, Pacific Dining and High Rise Goodies, the top bidding companies, would have a monopoly. This doesn’t encourage any sort of quality assurance.

Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and Los Angeles Harbor College are already on the exempt list from the one-vendor plan, so why not add Pierce? Why remove any independence from us? That turns our upper administration into nothing more than middle-management who get to now pass the buck when we have legitimate complaints.

Kicking out Falafelicious Catering from campus would be a mistake. Bass employs several people who are at risk of losing their jobs. The decision to terminate the catering company’s contract would affect Bass and his family, his employees, students and faculty at Pierce.

The Food Court appears to be thriving. It is always filled with students who are eating, socializing or studying. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

Support a local business that has time and time again been willing to accommodate us. Falafelicious Catering checks all our boxes. Bass is not just the face of a business; he’s a man who continually shows up for Pierce students.

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The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.