Food truck initiative may continue into fall, Ibby’s halts to-go service
After beginning its food truck pilot program this spring, Dining Services will meet at the end of the semester to the potential of continuing it into next fall.
The pilot program, which has hosted four food trucks—Steak Louie (twice), Bombay Food Junkies, K-Bop and Mission Taco—has taken place over the course of five weeks with a new food truck parked outside of the Danforth University Center near Mudd Field each Tuesday. The food trucks will continue into the final two weeks of this semester, with Go Gyro Go and Blues Fired Pizza coming to campus.
According to Dining Services Manager Paul Schimmele, deliberations at the end of the semester will begin with calculating how the food trucks have impacted sales.
“The next step after this semester is over is that a group of us will meet to discuss the impacts on a variety of things,” Schimmele said. “Those groups will meet and discuss to see if we can do this any longer, and if we do it longer, how would we organize it.”
In designing the pilot program, Dining Services wanted to make sure that it would be accessible to all students regardless of their financial situations. According to Schimmele, they had two main goals: keeping food trucks on the meal point system and protecting the undergraduate meal plan.
“My personal belief is that we shouldn’t be serving food on campus to undergraduate students that they can’t use their meal points on. The two parts to this that have been themes from the beginning is that every student needs to be able to participate, so what that means is that we have to be able to work out something with the meal plan because there are students that don’t have extra spending money,” Schimmele said, “The second part is that we have to protect the undergraduate meal plan because the bottom line on the meal plan of course is that it’s all paid for by students.”
As far as the impact on daily sales in the DUC, Schimmele believes the food trucks have drawn in more people to the DUC.
“It seems to have had little impact because people are coming from a broader area. We haven’t really looked at all the traffic, all the locations,” he said. “That’s a question we will be asking sometime next month.”
Many students can be found in the long line for food each Tuesday—a line which sometimes reaches all the way to the DUC’s front entrance. Sophomore Savannah Zhang has been one such student.
“Even though Wash. U. offers a lot of options, they do start to get repetitive after a while,” she said. “The trucks are really nice for bringing in new food and excitement. Also [it’s] amazing that they’re meal points.”
As the food trucks draw long lines, Ibby’s has also been increasing in-house dining
activity, causing the restaurant to temporarily cap its to-go program. With the patio now open, more students have chosen to dine in-house, and the relatively small size of the Ibby’s kitchen limits the amount of people they can serve. While it will still accommodate as many to-go orders as possible, Ibby’s to-go orders will likely be limited for the remainder of the semester.
Schimmele noted that he can’t recall the last time Ibby’s had such an increase in business.
“As I understand, it’s been an issue before but never to this extent,” Schimmele said. “They will accommodate as many people to-go as they can, but obviously, the number is somewhere between zero and infinity, and it’s probably a lot closer to zero.”