School intervenes to lower canteen prices

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2008, 12:00am

Diocesan Boys' School has moved to cut prices in its canteen after students complained about the higher prices charged by a new operator.

Principal Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung said yesterday he had asked the operator, Cafe de Coral, to reduce its prices to levels similar to those charged by the previous operator.

Mr Chang apologised, saying he had not paid enough attention to the prices after the operator was brought in to meet extra demand from a new 300-bed dormitory building at the school that had increased its boarding capacity almost eight-fold.

'I feel sorry about this,' he said at an event to show off the new facility.

'I have to take up the responsibility and I cannot blame others for this. I am the principal, but I haven't paid much attention to the price list. It is my negligence.'

He said Cafe de Coral had agreed to lower the prices. 'They said the list was made according to their usual practice adopted in their outlets.'

Students had complained about, among others things, paying HK$10 for a bottle of water and HK$20 for a lunch set. From today, a large bottle of water will cost HK$7 and a small one HK$5. Lunch sets will cost HK$17 to HK$18, the same charged by the previous operator.

Form Seven student Lai Chun-ho said a 250ml packet of lemon tea drink went up to HK$5 after Cafe de Coral took over. 'It used to cost HK$4. I think HK$5 is enough to buy a 370ml packet,' he said. 'The old tuck shop used to draw crowds of students to buy sandwiches, but not any more.'

The school said it needed a large operator to cope with demand from the new dormitory, which was beyond the capacity of the family business that used to run the tuck shop.

'We need one operator of a bigger scale to provide three meals a day to our boarding students and meals for those who don't live on campus,' spokeswoman Elizabeth Chan said, adding that the old dormitory could house only 40 students.

The new eight-storey building cost HK$110 million. Five floors are devoted to dormitories, while others house a swimming pool and gymnasium. The monthly boarding fee remains at HK$5,000 and 67 students have already moved in for the new school year.

A spokesman for Cafe de Coral was not available for comment.