San Antonio-based Trinity University has recently gotten into the food truck game. Fresh off the heels of the renewal of their contract with Aramark, the school’s dining services team unveiled two new food truck concepts for the 2018-2019 academic year. And the varied menus have something for everyone.
First up? The Tiger Press Juice truck, which offers fresh, cold-pressed juices as well as healthy snacks and other drinks. “This generation of students is very well informed and concerned with health and wellness, so we saw an opportunity to bring fresh pressed juices to campus in new ways,” says Charles Robles, Aramark’s general manager at Trinity University.
Customers can choose from flavors like Red Roar, made from beet, orange, green apple and ginger; Fierce Green, made from spinach, kale, pineapple, cucumber, green apple, pear and mint; and plain orange juice. The flavor combos were designed to be delicious and creative—but still mainstream enough to entice curious customers. “We wanted it to be something familiar and most importantly great-tasting for students who may not be used to fresh-pressed juices,” Robles explains. Bottled water, fruit cups and packaged natural snack bars (like Clif bars and Luna bars) are also available for purchase.
Dining services is always looking for new ways to serve up healthier options, Robles notes, and selling them from a food truck makes sense for Trinity’s on-the-go customers. “We chose a vehicle due to its flexibility to be where the students are located,” he says. “Since students have such hectic class schedules, we have the ability to go where they are during peak times.” The truck has been stationed in the campus fitness center for the winter, where it’s open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. “It provides healthy options right outside of the workout facility,” Robles says. But it’ll start roving around campus as the weather warms up, with location announcements coming through Instagram. There are also plans to offer free snacks and drinks during reading days and finals periods.
Also new to Trinity is On The Fly, a food truck aimed at making eating at sporting events more fun. The truck is designed to run multiple menus, including concession favorites as well as themed concepts. Phill Up, for instance, serves creative takes on the classic Philly cheesesteak. In addition to the traditional steak sandwich with provolone and onions, there’s a Buffalo-style cheesesteak with Buffalo sauce and crumbled blue cheese, a bahn mi-style cheesesteak with pickled vegetables and Sriracha, and a pizza-style cheesesteak with mozzarella, pepperoni and tomato sauce. Another menu offers snacks like corn dogs and cauliflower bites. “The different concepts play on favorites that will add variety and flexibility for the changing trends,” Robles says. Launched last fall during football season, On The Fly has been a fixture at most outdoor games ever since.
Both vehicles are smaller than standard food trucks, so getting them from one spot to the next is especially easy. “We wanted to be able to go places on campus that traditional trucks would struggle to get to because of the size of the vehicle or the space needed to drive around on campus,” he says. “So we developed a food truck around the size of a golf cart that’s capable of going just about anywhere.” Robles hopes to bring The Juice Press into other buildings, where he’ll set up healthy pop-up markets. And he’ll use On The Fly for late-night outdoor pop-up events in the spring.
The only downside of tiny trucks is less room for food prep. That can prove especially challenging at big events with the potential for long lines of hungry customers. When more space is needed, Robles takes advantage of the fact that he has kitchens and staff scattered across the university. “Because we are only on campus our main restaurants and catering team are always available to keep the truck running smoothly,” he says.
And so far, the positives have far outweighed the potential difficulties. “Students enjoy seeing the trucks around campus and they like having them for campus events,” says Robles. “It’s fun to see a mobile kitchen that’s putting out really good food and heart healthy drinks.”