Students complain of Gyro Chef price irregularities

Students stand in line for Gyro Chef. Gyro Chef is a food truck that primarily operates on Tech green during the week, and has recently come under fire for price irregularities. // Photo by Ethan Vitak, Student Publications

Most Tech students will recognize the Gyro Chef food truck that is normally parked outside of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, but the truck has recently been under scrutiny from some students alleging that they have been overcharged for their food.

On Sept. 13, a post was made to the Tech Reddit asking if other students had thought the Gyro Chef food truck had overcharged them when ordering food, and the post receiving many affirmative comments.

“I used to eat at Gyro Chef at least once a week in the spring semester,” said Igor Dito, PHYS and ME ’21. Dito said that they always ordered “a plate of food with a drink [which] would cost me around $13,” but this semester they were charged $18 for the same meal and they have never returned.

Another anonymous user replied that the price of the meal they always order has been increasing each time they go. The user always ordered the chicken shawarma pita sandwich at Gyro Chef, which has a listed price of $10, and always paid with dining dollars.

“One time they did say that it would be $11.50 and I was really confused,” the user said. They later checked their BuzzCard balance and saw that they had actually been charged $12 for the sandwich.

After the post gained some traction, the Graduate SGA VP of Campus Services replied to let the original poster know that the issue had been forwarded to Turq Daniels, the Tech Dining Director of Retail Operations. The VP also confirmed that dining dollars are non-taxable forms of payment, which was brought up by some of the commentors. Daniels did reach out to the owner of Gyro Chef about the complaints, and he was able to offer some explanations for the overcharging and price inconsistencies.

“From what [the Gyro Chef owner] told me, there’s a charge for each individual sauce that students or guests order,” Daniels said. The owner also showed Daniels where the signage explaining these charges was posted, and stressed that any problems with the price should be brought up as students order their food.

Daniels also mentioned that the cost of food does rise every year, and an increase in price between semesters is not unheard of. Food trucks set their own prices for their items, and as long as the price is not obscene, Tech Dining will not interfere.

Ryan Greene, Senior Director of Tech Dining, stressed that Tech does have the power to stop doing business with the food trucks at any moment, and would exercise this power if they suspected Gyro Chef was violating their guidelines. So far, they have not received more excessive reports of the food truck overcharging students after they talked to the owner.

A few weeks after the Reddit post had been made, the Technique visited Gyro Chef to see if the issues were still apparent. Two $13 combos were purchased, one with dining dollars and one with a normal credit card. The meal purchased with dining dollars did result in a $13 charge, and the meal purchased with a credit card had sales tax applied to bring it to a total of $14.81.

These were the expected prices for the two orders, and imply that Gyro Chef fixed whatever problems they may have had. Whether there were actual problems with the pricing or students were not noticing postings on the truck, Greene wanted to stress one last point to students:

“Please pipe up and let everybody know what the concern is” in regards to dining operations on campus, he said. “We don’t want to see people complaining and frustrated,” Greene said, and urged students to alert Tech dining to any issues they may have.