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Street Food Station Boosts Participation

Lebanon Valley College sees 50 percent increase after management company implements concept last semester.

Metz Culinary Management was looking for a creative way to boost student participation in the campus dining program at Lebanon Valley College in Eastern Pennsylvania. 

“We know food trucks are a big, trendy thing right now but with a campus of only about 1,500 to 1,800 students, that wasn’t feasible,” says Bill Allman, general manager for Metz at LVC. “So we looked for a creative idea that could maybe bring the food truck indoors.”

Allman says he asked Executive Chef John Hopewell to look into the idea and Hopewell came up with the street food concept that would rotate through the Bravo! station in LVC’s Mund dining Hall twice every five weeks as a change of pace.

Bravo! features stir frys, international foods and other specialty menus on a rotating basis so street foods was a perfect addition to the mix.

The concept boosts participation by about 50 percent when it is offered, Allman says. “It also takes pressure off some of the other heavily used stations like the grill. Students kill that station along with the deli, so the street foods help spread out the participation.

The street food menus have included Le Fue Rouge Flat Bread (fresh dough flat bread filled with honey-lime-cilantro-marinated sliced grilled chicken topped with house made sun-dried tomato, onion relish and chipotle mayonnaise) and Tucson Boulevard (fried housemade taco bowls filled with in-house smoked pulled beef brisket topped with Hopewell's Barbecue Mango Relish or Mango Avocado Relish).

A recent South Street Pretzel Dog on a Stick menu featuring an all beef hot dog wrapped in a house made pretzel dough prepared on a flat-top grill (“like Philadelphia street food,” Allman says) generated 520 portions served. To put that in context, the Bravo! station typically serves 100 to 150 guests at a meal period.

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