Washington, DC: Beyond the Pasta – Food Truck Offers Unique Internship

CapMac – the macaroni and cheese campus staple – brought on a student intern this spring to help steer its social media presence. Owner Brian Arnoff, who partnered with GW School of Business professor Mary Schoonmaker, prepares a dish.

By Rachel Smilan-Goldstein | GWHatchet.com

CapMac – the macaroni and cheese campus staple – brought on a student intern this spring to help steer its social media presence. Owner Brian Arnoff, who partnered with GW School of Business professor Mary Schoonmaker, prepares a dish.
CapMac – the macaroni and cheese campus staple – brought on a student intern this spring to help steer its social media presence. Owner Brian Arnoff, who partnered with GW School of Business professor Mary Schoonmaker, prepares a dish.

When a GW School of Business professor prompted students to discuss their favorite food trucks on a test, she found an overwhelming favorite: Seven out of 10 students picked CapMac.

Marketing students can now merge their love for the truck’s inventive mac and cheese creations with their passion for entrepreneurship through CapMac’s new social media internship.

The popular on-wheels purveyor of pasta that holds “GWU Thursdays” on H Street linked up with business school professor Mary Schoonmaker this semester.

Schoonmaker invited CapMac’s founder and owner, Brian Arnoff, and director of operations and social media, Victoria Harris, into the classroom as guest speakers on marketing. CapMac uses social media to market itself and connect with customers as its van – complete with a mac-and-cheese paintjob – traverses the city.

“They were so inspiring as marketers. They both talked about the logo and the brand, and they’re ‘Generation Y-ers’ to begin with, [which gives them] instant credibility about marketing,” Schoonmaker said.

She said she hopes that in honing their social media expertise, business students can differentiate themselves in a competitive job market.

Harris said CapMac has developed a buzz and knows many customers by name. The truck’s business model revolves around social media.

When Harris found herself single-handedly advertising CapMac on social media platforms, the company crafted an internship program to level out the work. She asked Schoonmaker to advertise the opportunity to her marketing students.

“[The internship] gives us new blood that can provide additional ideas and generate new possibilities for the company that maybe the people that we already have working at our company wouldn’t have seen,” Arnoff said.

As the only food truck to offer internships through GW, CapMac may soon expand its intern program to include “entrepreneurial” positions, Arnoff said. The program would teach the ins and outs of running a small business, giving students first-hand experience with finance, accounting and sales.

Junior Krisha Paz got the gig as CapMac’s social media intern. Working outside the iconic truck, she takes to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to chronicle CapMac’s events and promotions as they unfold, advertising anything from upcoming neighborhood treks to special delivery deals.

Paz said she enjoys working with the young marketing staff.

“Getting into the food truck atmosphere, because I’m a D.C. native and I’ve only really been into the art culture here and never really the food culture, [is how] I get to learn about my city,” Paz said.

http://www.gwhatchet.com/2013/01/21/beyond-the-pasta-food-truck-offers-unique-internship/