“BabyBerk” debuts at UMass

Foodservice Director - In The News - “BabyBerk” debuts at UMassSept. 7—BabyBerk, the new food truck at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, made its debut Sept. 6 in what Dave Eichstadt, assistant director for retail dining, said was a “soft” opening. The truck kicked off service at noon at Haigis Commons, near the Fine Arts Center and several academic buildings.

The truck, custom designed for UMass Dining Services by a New Jersey manufacturer, features burgers, fries, onion rings, snacks and sodas. There are five specialty burgers on the menu, each named after a different dining commons. For example, the Hampshireburger features sharp cheddar cheese, a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon and garlic aioli. The Babyberkburger contains mild cheddar, avocado slices, applewood smoked bacon, leaf lettuce, tomato and salsa.

In keeping with UMass’s recent tradition of supporting local farmers, the beef comes from a cooperative called the Northeast Family Farms.

Eichstadt explained that the truck, which had been set up for tours the previous day during the opening week barbecue, would be open daily from noon to 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., traveling around to six different locations on the campus.

“We didn’t make a big announcement about the opening, because we wanted to give the staff to get used to the truck and food prep,” said Eichstadt. “We did post on Facebook and Twitter shortly after we opened, but other than that we didn’t do any marketing.”

However, even on a gray, drizzly day, it didn’t take long before curious students and faculty began to wander over to the green and yellow truck. Within 30 minutes the truck had served a dozen students.

Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary services, said he expected the truck to generate $500,000 in revenue annually. BabyBerk accepts cash and credit, but does not accept student meal cards.