U. of Minnesota brings outside food trucks on campus

Trucks are part of five-year plan to bring more on-campus dining options.

Sept. 20—Tewodros Negash has cooked in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Egypt and Sweden, but when he set up his Afro-fusion food truck, the Cave Café, on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, he was asked to leave.

It turns out he was just ahead of the curve.

One year later, Negash, who goes by “Chef Teddy,” is selling his food on campus again — this time with the University’s blessing. The Cave Café is one of two food trucks University Dining Services has brought to campus. The trucks are part of a five-year plan to bring more on-campus dining options to the Knoll area.

The Cave Café has been parked outside Williamson Hall every Monday and at the Church Street Farmers Market every Wednesday since this summer. A week before classes started, Vellee Deli began selling food near Williamson on Tuesdays. Like other on-campus restaurants, both trucks accept FlexDine.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

FSD Resources