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

Managing Your Business
hands team

In November, students at University of Missouri in Columbia began leading protests against discrimination faced by people of color on campus—including some marches through the dining halls. Julaine Kiehn, director of the school’s campus dining services, said the 2015-16 school year was a tough one, but she was proud of MU’s students for being at the forefront of a national movement.

And not only did the protests launch important conversations with students, but also with staff. Kiehn heard the protests and thought that her student workers, at least, might not feel safe and welcome...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

Ideas and Innovation
nutrition facts label

Despite operators’ attempts to communicate nutrition information to guests via cards and labels on the food line, many guests still feel they have no clue what’s in their food. University of Illinois food economist Brenna Ellison shares a few guesses as to why consumers ignore these signs following a recent study on their placement in dining halls.

Q: Who is most likely to read the cards?

A: Students who were already exhibiting more healthy behaviors. So those were the students who track their intake using an app or a food diary. After the first week, we found the rates of people...

FSD Resources