Foodservice is among the many selling features that colleges and universities use to attract students to their schools. The sophisticated and demanding palates of college students have led colleges and universities to incorporate many of today’s hot restaurant trends into their foodservice offerings, such as:
- Customizability—Made to order, ability to select ingredients, personalized, etc.
- Social Responsibility—Sustainable, humanely raised, local ingredients, etc.
- Health Halo—Vegan, gluten-free, organic, calorie-conscious, etc.
- Global Flavors and Unique Cuisines—Indian, sushi, street food, etc.
More recently, the food truck trend started appearing on college and university campuses. Many independent operators of food trucks have already deemed college campuses a great parking spot for their businesses, but now school foodservice operators are realizing they can be great additions to their programs. Food trucks not only have the same restaurant offerings that college students crave, but they also provide the convenience of moving operations around campus and accepting school dining plans.
Below are examples of colleges and universities that have begun adding food trucks to their dining programs:
- California State University, Fullerton operates food trucks that sell food on campus on weekdays. The Spudrunners truck serves gourmet sandwiches and the Barcelona On the Go truck menus Spanish tapas.
- Michigan State University dining services operates The Eat at State On-The-Go food truck, which serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, snacks and drinks year-round. The truck’s menu items are made using local ingredients, such as greens grown at the MSU Student Organic Farm, beef raised on campus, cheese from the MSU Dairy Store, desserts from the MSU Bakers and bread baked at Breadsmith Artisan Bread Bakery of Okemos, MI. Some seasonal menu items for fall include salad wraps, a smoked cheddar cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, a smashed chickpea sandwich and a specialty sandwich. The food truck accepts cash, credit cards, dining plans and Spartan Cash for payment. It is currently located outside of Shaw Dining Hall while the dining hall is under construction. But starting in spring 2013, the truck will be changing locations throughout the campus.
- The University of California, Davis became home to the Star Ginger Asian Grill & Noodle Bar food truck in 2011, the first-ever standalone Southeast Asian retail platform from foodservice operator Sodexo.
- The University of Central Florida operates the YUM YUM Cupcake Truck that serves classic cupcakes around campus.
- The University of Washington offers a number of university food trucks around campus that serve anything from hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches to street tacos and Korean cuisine. UW Street Food is a collection of food trucks that operate around campus, providing students with a quick bite on the go. Trucks include Hot Dawgs, serving hot dogs and sausages; Motosurf, known for Hawaiian, Korean and Pacific island street food; Red Square BBQ, offering house-smoked meats and other barbecue favorites; Siganos, known for street tacos, burritos and fresh salsa; and Curbside 8, offering new American and global comfort foods.
Source: 2012 Leading Colleges & Universities Foodservice Report; Technomic’s Digital Resource Library.