Food Truck Solves Catering Challenge

Published in FSD Update

Many college and university foodservice departments are looking to food trucks as a new source of retail revenue. At Princeton University in New Jersey, however, the food truck that will debut this fall will actually solve a problem for Dining Services—by giving them a portable catering option.

Stu Orefice, director of dining services, explains that the as-yet unnamed truck will be used primarily as an outlet at athletic events for what he calls “lower-tier” sports such as lacrosse. The truck will replace a food trailer that had to be hauled back and forth by a pickup truck.

“When [university administrators] were redoing the lacrosse stadium, they were looking at some different options to replace the trailer,” says Orefice, who adds that the athletic department even offered to build Dining Services a concessions stand—but without a hood. “We looked at the costs and realized that for $30,000 to $40,000 more we could get something much more mobile. So we decided to do that and asked the athletic department to just build us storage space at the stadium.”

The truck will build its menu from the five options in the Food Gallery at Frist, a retail unit in the Frist Center. “We’ll be doing more carnival-type food and our All-American burgers,” Orefice says. And when it’s not needed for sporting events, the truck will be converted to a mobile kitchen for high-end catered events that are outdoors or in venues without a kitchen.

“We didn’t view this as a big moneymaker but as a solution to a problem,” he explains. “A food truck doesn’t make sense for us because we have a living wage here that is fairly high, so in order to break even we’d have to have high prices and need a lot of foot traffic. But it’s very hard to put a price on being able to have a kitchen at [an outdoor] high-end catered event.”  

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
spicy bibimbop

Bowls continue to trend as meal carriers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both operators and the guests they feed appreciate bowls for their convenience, customizability and creative combinations. Build-your-own stations are increasingly popular ways to offer bowls in college dining, corporate venues and school and hospital cafeterias. But building a satisfying bowl takes more planning than randomly tossing ingredients together in one vessel.

Playing with layering

“Texture is the secret ingredient for a successful bowl,” says Kevin Cecilio, senior director of culinary innovations...

Industry News & Opinion

Austin Independent School District in Texas is introducing new globally influenced menu items this school year, Spectrum News reports.

The offerings are meant to reflect the district’s diverse student body and will include yuca fries, Jamaican meat pies and plantains.

Read the full story via spectrumlocalnews.com .

Industry News & Opinion

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is introducing new plant-based menu items this school year, CBS Miami reports.

Vegan chili and cilantro-lime rice will be appearing on menus when students at the Miami district return to class later this month.

The new plant-based offerings join other new items such as French toast, turkey bacon and antibiotic-free chicken tenders and breast fillets. Students will also be able to enjoy a variety of salads and fresh fruit.

Read the full story via miami.cbslocal.com .

Ideas and Innovation
baby boomer eating

Millennials get a lot of attention from foodservice operators and chefs, but baby boomers make up a large and lucrative group of potential patrons that shouldn’t be ignored, finds Technomic’s 2018 Generational Consumer Trend Report . As more senior-living communities cater to the baby boomer set , here’s a look at the factors that drive those customers’ dining choices.

1. Boomers are flavor-seekers

There’s a perception that because these consumers are older, they are stuck in their ways. But this generation is the most likely to say that they enjoy trying new flavors from time to...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code