Fork in the Road recently rolled out and has been parking at various locations around campus during lunch hours to serve burgers, tacos, salads and more.
The truck draws a growing trend across the country. Private operators have parked food trucks in urban locations and on campuses. In recent years colleges have started their own operations.
The National Association of College and University Food Services estimated in June, 2013 that there were at least 100 university-owned food trucks operating on campuses around the country, according to the Foodservice Equipment and Supply website.
From an institutional standpoint, food trucks’ relative affordability is a big part of their allure, the website said. A full dining center renovation might cost upwards of $1 million while fully outfitted food trucks costs between $100,000 and $200,000, it said.
The idea for a food truck came from watching food trends and discussing campus dining options over the years, Rich Roldan, director of Kent State’s Dining Services, said in a news release. Food options on the northwest corner of campus are limited.
“We’ve had a small truck, and it’s done OK for us, but the trend seems to be going toward food trucks,” Roldan said. “Adding more dining locations to that side of campus is expensive and not a feasible option to build something there, so we kept thinking of doing a portable option.”
Fork in the Road will have a core menu and chef specials. The menu will change with availability of seasonal ingredients and feature both classics and signature items.
“This is definitely culinary-driven,” Roldan said in the news release. “It’s going to be street food, but in a different fashion. It will be very good and healthy, not your standard menu.”
Students can use their dining cards and anyone can pay cash or use a credit or debit card, the university said.
Fork in the Road also will appear at athletic events, campus festivals and other special venues.
The food truck is equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and blue undercarriage lights for night time.
Diners can check out Fork in the Road’s menu, locations and events through its Twitter account @KSUFoodTruck and on Facebook at Facebook.com/KSUFoodTruck.
University of Akron receives urban university grant: The University of Akron has received a $225,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development and testing of new models for the urban universities, dealing with issues such as improved student success and cost efficiencies, reports Inside Higher Ed.
Six other urban institutions also received grants. They are Florida International University, Fresno State University, Georgia State University, Portland State University, Temple University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
They institutions were selected by Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in coordination with the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities.