Buffalo caesar wraps and nachos are back at the Ram in the Rye after over 400 students signed a petition to resurrect their favourite menu items.
The petition, created by fourth-year computer engineering student Matthew Smith, appeared on Change.org last week and circulated on Facebook. It urged the campus pub to bring back staples from the old menu, like sweet potato fries and chicken fingers.
Smith said he launched the petition as a reaction to complaints he has heard since orientation week. “All the engineers used to go to the Ram every night and order dinner for the first years, but there wasn’t anything worth buying [for] them,” Smith said. “And everyone [has] kept complaining since then.”
In Smith’s letter to the Ram, he writes that the pub “refuses to acknowledge any of the concerns,” and that they repeatedly say, “We were running a short menu today. We’ve got lots of options coming down the line.”
Two days after the petition launched, the Ram announced on Facebook that it would bring back the two items by Oct. 3.
“I’m happy they’ve decided to bring some of the old favourites back,” Smith said. “But there’s still many items missing, like sweet potato fries, chicken fingers and the spinach dip.”
Addressing quality and price
The return of old menu items wasn’t the only issue raised in the petition. “I’ve seen comments on the petition itself complaining about the quality of the food, price and some concerns about food allergies and diet choices,” Smith said. “So I’d like the Ram to address those concerns as well.”
And these concerns have not gone unnoticed by the Ram. Michael Verticchio, general manager of the Ryerson Student Centre, told the Ryersonian in an email about the reasons for the menu change.
“It is not normal practice for the broader student body at Ryerson to have input into menu changes as there are many considerations to be taken into account,” Verticchio said. “However, we are committed to listening to students needs and will make changes if possible.”
Verticchio said that the menu change considers the cost and availability of ingredients. He added that other considerations include meeting health requirements and providing options for people with dietary needs.
“Students are increasingly dissatisfied with highly processed foods that are not sustainable and don’t meet their dietary requirements,” Verticchio said. “Our previous menus were loaded with frozen and pre-packaged food. We want to provide similar pub-style items that are better in quality, more inclusive, and which meet growing demands for fresh, sustainable, high-quality meals.”
Verticchio said the pub wants to take students’ favourites into consideration.
“Our plan with the new menu is to keep the favourites and make other changes by adding and deleting based on seasonal availability and student feedback,” Verticchio said, “Based on the latest round of feedback, we are bringing back the beloved nachos and the chicken caesar wrap. However, the items will not be exactly the same.”
Verticchio says changes to the returning items will make them healthier. For example, students will be able to choose between kale or romaine lettuce on the wrap, and the chicken will be locally sourced and halal.
Once the petition reaches 500 signatures, Smith said he hopes to send the Ram’s manager a complete outline of the changes people still want to be made. “I’m going to continue to share it until most of the popular items are brought back.”