Robert Landolphi, assistant director of culinary development, and Scott Hauver, assistant director of retail operations, spoke about the new food truck available to students near the East campus residence halls.
Landolphi and Hauver said, in an email, students previously asked for more food options for the Spring 2021 semester. They said they decided to repurpose the “Food for Thought” truck as a way to provide meals to students throughout the week.
“Students living in East campus asked about food options at Whitney for the Spring semester,” the email read. “We had a Food Truck called ‘Food for Thought’ and thought it would be a great opportunity to use the truck to prepare meals for students Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.”
When asked about their goals for the program, Landolphi and Hauver said they hoped to provide more options to students in a closer proximity. They recognized the convenience this could provide students.
“We wanted to offer students residing in East campus another option closer to home,” they wrote. “Yes, they can still eat in any of our other dining halls or retail operations on campus, but sometimes it’s just more convenient to have a choice just outside your door.”
Landolphi and Hauver touched on the strengths and weaknesses they perceived in the current system. In particular, they cited leadership as the greatest strength of the endeavor and winter weather as the greatest challenge.
“The strengths are that we have a dedicated management and culinary team working the truck: John Smith (Manager), Marty Grimason (Chef) and Laura Ashley (Assistant Chef),” they wrote. “[The greatest] shortcomings: This is February in New England, and it does get a little cold while waiting in line, but students have been very good about waiting patiently in line, social distancing, wearing their masks, and meeting other students from East campus. It is a unique experience, and the students lo
Landolphi and Hauver said feedback has generally been positive thus far. They believe this is in part a product of student involvement in the development of the truck’s menu, which they said includes several options for students with various dietary restrictions.
“We actually had input from students when creating the menu for the Food Truck, and included some of their favorite dishes from Whitney Dining Hall on the menu,” they wrote. “We also made sure we had Gluten Free/Dairy Free, Vegan and Vegetarian options. So far so good; we are busier than we anticipated, and students’ feedback has been so positive.”
Landolphi and Hauver said the most popular items so far include the Sweet Heat Chicken and the Chicken or Veggie Quesadilla from the regular menu, and the Curry Bowl and Fish Tacos from their specials menu.