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

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

FSD Resources