Back in the USSR
The Kansas City Star published a piece this weekend that examined the impact on caterers of the proposed convention deal. Specifically, they examined the plan to give the Hyatt exclusive catering rights to the convention center that would cost existing local caterers millions in lost business.
According to some, ending competition for convention catering business would increase quality:
An exclusive food provider, according to O’Neal, would help the convention center ensure quality control because “with one vendor, the building can control quality better, and that’s what people remember about a building.”
City Manager Troy Schulte agrees. Even if the city weren’t negotiating with Hyatt, Schulte said, he was thinking about moving toward a single caterer. He said the city has received some complaints about catering, which he declined to specify. Schulte said a single provider would make quality control better.
You read that right. Some Kansas City leaders apparently think that reducing choice increases quality. (By the way, Aramark has an exclusive catering agreement at Kauffman Stadium, and they haven’t been doing so well regarding quality.)
This flawed thinking isn’t limited to the catering contract, according to the Memorandum of Understanding. Neither the initial award of catering nor the award of the construction contract for the hotel are to be competitively bid. The city apparently just plans to give those contracts to Hyatt and J.E. Dunn respectively without making sure their bids are the best or the cheapest.
Is it any wonder that city finances are such a mess when even the most basic economic principles of choice and competition are disregarded?