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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Picnic Day revenue pays police service, student employees

Picnic Day is one of the busiest days of the year for campus dining and Unitrans transportation services.

According to Darin Schluep, food service director for Associated Students Dining Services, the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo) garnered about $28,000 in revenue on Picnic Day — an increase in overall sales of about three percent.

During the day, on April 20, the CoHo was open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Swirlz Bakery opened at 7 a.m.) and employees were paid time-and-a-half.

“The thing that makes Picnic Day so crazy for us … is our services are focused in a four- or five-hour timespan,” he said.

The Coffee House earns an average of about $27,000 in sales Mondays through Thursdays.

According to Schluep, though about 5,400 transactions were made on Picnic Day — as opposed to the daily average of 7,500 to 8,000 transactions — close to the same amount of revenue was made on Picnic Day because the average price paid per transaction was higher; indicating that most customers purchased meals with multiple items, not a single. The average amount paid per transaction on a regular business day is $3.38, whereas during Picnic Day, the average amount paid per transaction was $5.19.

Schluep added that there are many costs associated with the event, including materials and heightened labor costs, so like usual school days, not all revenue is returned to the business.

On-campus retail dining also garnered near the same amount of revenue that they would on a usual day, according to Gina Rios, general manager of Retail Operations at University Dining Services by Sodexo.

Rios said that staff at retail dining locations, like the Silo, were busy the whole time they were in open — as opposed to receiving groups of customers hourly or between class times.

“Picnic Day income is part of the annual income budgeted for these units to provide services and cover all of their expenses throughout the year, including funding for almost 500 student jobs,” said ASUCD interim business manager Anne Myler in an email interview.

Myler said because AS Dining Services and Unitrans are breakeven operations, they do not have surplus funds at the end of the year.

Unitrans, which charges $1 to all passengers (excluding senior and disabled passengers) on Picnic Day, made $10,241 during Picnic Day in 2012, with 12,415 passengers — 1,433 passengers fewer than the previous year, according to Teri Sheets, assistant general manager at Unitrans.

Unitrans ran special Picnic Day lines from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Drivers earned an extra $1 per hour during shifts.

“This is work over and above their normal work schedules, and they provide a higher level of service than Unitrans normally provides on a standard Saturday,” Sheets said.

A significant amount of the revenue made goes toward driver, supervisors and cleanup crew pay, according to Sheets.

The amount made for this year’s Picnic Day is still being calculated. However, Sheets said Unitrans is estimating that approximately $9,400 was made.

A large amount of the profit is also directed toward UC Davis and City of Davis Police service.

“The remainder of the fare revenue that we make on Picnic Day is allocated to pay for the additional security presence on the buses and at the MU and Silo terminals. Our customers and drivers have expressed appreciation for this security presence to discourage unruly behavior and to respond quickly to medical emergencies that may come up,” Sheets said in an email interview. “In the end, Unitrans does not make a profit from the fare revenues collected on Picnic Day.”

MUNA SADEK can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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