Food truck brings diverse menu to UC Riverside

Jan. 6—The Culinary Chameleon, the University of California, Riverside’s new 32-foot food truck, will bring an always-changing menu option to campus beginning in mid-January, according to a university press release.

The truck’s name and branding reflect the department’s wish for the menu to change regularly.

“Anyone who follows food trucks knows that they are trendy and edgy. We wanted our truck to have an identity that wouldn’t change, even when the menu changed,” Cheryl Garner, executive director of dining services, said in the release. “We landed on the chameleon with input from students and staff because a chameleon changes it colors depending on where it lives—much the same as we will change our menu based on seasons, trends, times and customer feedback.”

The truck’s debut menu will feature some items from the department’s now-closed Taco Fresco, which served street tacos and quesadillas. The truck features commercial kitchen equipment that will allow it to conduct 95 to 100 transactions per hour. According to the release, the truck cost about $250,000. Despite the truck’s many features, David Henry, director of Dining Services, says the truck will still be a challenge to operate.

“Even though it is a full kitchen to a large degree, it’s still a truck.” Henry said in the release. “The limitations we have are storage and, during peak periods, maybe speed of service. And of course everything has to be sealed and closed down when we move—we don’t want things flying around inside.”

The Culinary Chameleon will have a Facebook page and Twitter account, which will allow customers to learn about specials, promotions and where the truck will be parked. The truck will accept cash, credit cards, debit cards and campus Bear Bucks.

“Food trucks allow us to lower our overall investment and maximize our versatility and location by going where the customer is, when they are there,” Garner said in the release. “We hope to service portions of our campus which are currently under-penetrated with restaurants.”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources