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Questioning outside vendor ban

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Questioning outside vendor ban
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2014
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS

Questioning outside vendor ban
David M. McCarthy

To the editor:

Until recently, Ridgewood has allowed outside vendors to drop off lunches at its schools for Ridgewood students. Most of the deliveries have come from three vendors in and around town. They are serving not only working parents with limited time in the morning, but also students who don’t like the food served by the incumbent food service provider, Village Fresh, as well as others who have dietary restrictions that the in-house vendor cannot meet.

As of Jan. 13, the Ridgewood Board of Education has banned outside vendors from dropping off lunches at the various schools in town. Many reasons have been given for the recent change in policy. From the superintendent’s email announcement on the matter and from what was said at Monday night’s board meeting, here are the reasons I have heard: student safety/limiting access to the building; illegal parking by food delivery people; governmental guidelines concerning the nutritional content of lunch; too much disruption for school staff; outside deliveries may violate an exclusive provision in the Village Fresh’s contract; and due to a minimum profit provision in the Village Fresh contract, the popularity of the outside vendors may end up forcing Ridgewood to pay Village Fresh a make-whole fee if not enough kids buy their lunch at school.

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