Council should examine grill plan in more detail
The proposal by the Grand Junction Parks Department to replace the private contractor that operates the Piñon Grill restaurant at Tiara Rado Golf Course and the snack bar at Lincoln Park with a city-owned concessionaire demands careful scrutiny from the City Council.
It’s not that the private company automatically deserves to have its contract renewed when it comes due in February. That’s not the case. City officials owe it to taxpayers to review all such contracts to see that they are the least expensive and most efficient means of providing the services in question.
However, in the case of this contract, price isn’t the concern. No matter which group receives the contract for concessions, it will pay the same rent and fees as those currently operating there.
Instead, food quality, service and presentation apparently were large reasons the Parks Department has recommended the city enterprise that operates Two Rivers Convention Center be awarded the contract. But the profitability of the Two Rivers enterprise and the continued employment of some of its workers are also considerations.
And that’s where things get a little dicier. Protecting the jobs of city employees is laudable, but if that objective comes at the cost of private-sector employees, it has accomplished little.
Furthermore, making Two Rivers more profitable is reasonable enough, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the good service already available at the Piñon Grill. And, as the letters on this page demonstrate, many people are pleased with the food and service at the grill.
And, while the Two Rivers enterprise has developed a decent reputation for serving meals to large groups, it doesn’t operate a daily business providing individual meals on demand from a varied menu.
Perhaps the Two Rivers enterprise will prove to be the best option for providing food service at the city’s two municipal golf courses. But the City Council should cautiously examine pros and cons of all options before it approves the contract with the Two Rivers group.
Council members should also be cognizant of the perception in the community that a private business could lose a contract, whose requirements it has met very well for more than a dozen years, simply to improve the fortunes of a city enterprise.