After three years in the planning and developing stages, The Truck is finally making its appearance on campus. Although The Truck has not had its official opening day, it can still be found parked and operating around campus.
Dining Services Senior Manager Abraham Hakobian said that the inspiration for the food truck came from the colleges APU corresponds with, all of whom have their own food trucks.
“Recently we went to a conference [where] colleges come together once a year, it’s called the NACUFS conference. National colleges and universities come together, and we showcased our truck there,” Hakobian said. “There were other schools, colleges, they had trucks also. So it was interesting to see that everybody liked our truck, our concept, our ideas.”
The Truck boasts all of the latest equipment models, including fryers, an oven and panini presses.
“It presses in 30 seconds, up to 50 seconds depending on the thickness of the bread. We have two of those, which is the latest, highest quality one,” Hakobian said.
The truck also features a PA system and a vehicle back-up camera, two non-standard additions suggested by Dining Services Food Truck Manager Paul Grether.
“Most trucks, they just have [the] minimum. As we go, every year they’re going to create new ideas, and basically, ours is the latest—the Ferrari of the food truck,” Hakobian said.
As far as the menu goes, Hakobian said that he wanted The Truck to have a menu that was different from all the other venues on campus.
“We’re experimenting now. We’re trying to put stuff on there that nobody else has on campus, that way the food truck is unique,” he said. “I just found out from a company that they’re going to bring in battered and fried Twinkies. I special ordered them. I have ten cases coming in. Basically, everything that is unique, it’s going to be on the truck. I want all the students to look for the truck…It’s going to be interesting and I want them to be excited. We’re excited.”
Although the menu is still in the works, things such as grass-fed beef burgers, natural chicken breasts sandwiches, Korean barbecue beef tacos and funnel cake fries are available.
Grether said that The Truck will continue to operate under the values held by Dining Services.
“[Our goal] is to serve high-quality food that no other venue offers, that’s served hot and fresh, that has appeal and taste,” he said.
Junior Criminal Justice major Brendan McKillop said that he enjoyed the items he had tried.
“It was good. I had the funnel cake fries and the chicken chipotle sandwich,” he said.
Second-year graduate student in the Single Subject Credential Program, Brianna Lopez, said that she had never tried the food, but was excited to finally have the chance.
“This is my first time here but it smells amazing,” she said.
Abbie Porter, a first-year graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at APU and student manager for The Truck, has been working with Dining Services for three years but said that working the food truck was a different experience from the other venues on campus.
“It’s a lot of trial and error because it’s a food truck and many of us, probably all of us, have never worked on a food truck before and there are limitations that you learn as you go, but just learning how to overcome those limitations has been a group effort,” she said.
Porter also said that the student responses to The Trucks food have been positive.
“People really like it. Our food is different—it’s unique. We have a lot of almost festival food,” she said. “People really like them because it’s not something that you can get everywhere and it’s really good. “
Hakobian is hoping that The Truck will be present at special events on campus.
“We want to do special events, like a block party type of thing,” he said. “We’re planning something with live music, a lot of excitement, on a weekend, a Friday night type of thing where kids can hang out on the lawn somewhere with lawn chairs.”
The Truck is also looking to attend sporting events such as football games, soccer games and softball games.
“Depending on the departments, if they want us there and if it doesn’t conflict with other schedules, we want to do those also,” Hakobian said.
Hakobian explained that one of the challenges faced by food trucks is inadequate storage.
“One of the major issues with food trucks is [that] you cannot store a lot of stuff on there. So your limited service window is about an hour, hour and a half, two hours maximum,” he said. “If you don’t have [resupplies], you’re going to run out. If we run out of one item, that’s normal.”
Hakobian said that it would take approximately a half hour to fetch or make more food for The Truck from the storages and main kitchen, then come back.
“But, again, baby steps,” he said. “We’re going to figure out how to do them slowly.”
Hakobian also said that he would like for students to follow Dining Services on their social media accounts. Information about The Truck and other venues on campus can be found on the department’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He encouraged students to share any ideas they feel could improve their experience with The Truck.
“Any ideas, anything the students like, let them come and see me or send me an email, text, or just stop by and give us ideas,” he said. “Anything they want us to carry. We’re open for ideas. I go around and go to different food truck gatherings, if you want to call it [that], get ideas, and research online, but, still, maybe somebody has a better idea and we can use it.”