College students are always hungry, and food trucks are always looking for a high traffic area to set up shop. Food trucks often park at festivals, concerts, and events, but what about when there's not much going on? Yeah, they can hit up an office park during the lunch rush, but that will only give them so many customers. What better place for food trucks to set up than a college campus? There are thousands of hungry students strolling through campus everyday who are eager to get in on all the latest food trends. 

I'm sure there are a number of college campuses around the nation that occasionally have food trucks on campus, but I didn't realize what a great idea it was until my school, Seattle University, started having them set up every day at lunch. Once I learned that my campus had set it up so that meal cards could be used at the food trucks, I was all in on trying new types of street food. I decided to interview a couple of truck owners to find out the pros and cons of being on a college campus, and to see if having food trucks on college campuses really is the next big thing.

Q & A With Real Life Food Truck Owners

Lauren Kobayashi

Question: Is it difficult to constantly find locations that have high volumes of customers?

Answer: Andrea of I Love My Gluten Free Food said that she is lucky to have found high traffic spots for her food trucks, but that it takes patience and experimentation to build locations. The Vet Chef mentioned that it was initially difficult for them to find locations, and that they had to get involved in the community and organizations more to get a higher volume of customers.

Question: What are some of the best aspects of setting up on a college campus?

Answer: The Vet Chef said that they love the diversity of the students, and the feedback from the younger population. They love the customer density and collaboration with the university that helps promote them and allows students to use meal cards at their trucks. Andrea said that the campus provides a beautiful, friendly setting, that has all the amenities they need to set up their truck. 

Lauren Kobayashi

Question: What are the downfalls to being on a college campus?

Answer: The Vet Chef said that at times they would get a huge rush of customers and had a limited ability to serve the whole line quickly. They said it would be helpful if they could be on campus for longer periods of time in order to serve students throughout the day. Andrea said she hasn't had any!

Question: How can having Food Trucks on college campuses benefit the students?

Answer: Andrea said that it allows students to support local small businesses and opens them up to a world of new cuisines. The Vet Chef also agreed that it exposes students to the small business world. In addition, he mentioned that it's important to offer students a variety of options in flavor, nutrition, price, location, and quickness. As the food industry grows, these things are becoming even more important to the business and the customers. 

Lauren Kobayashi

Take it From a Student

Food trucks have been on our campus for most of the year, but I really didn't try any of them out until months after they arrived. I was first unaware that they took meal cards (which is a huge bonus) and I didn't want to spend money out of my pocket. Also, being a bit of a health freak, I wasn't convinced that they would have many healthy options for me. The first time I tried one out was at I Love My Gluten Free Food. I decided I needed to treat myself to a vegan coconut chocolate chip cookie, and boy was it a great decision! I now get a cookie every Wednesday, and it seriously gets me through the week. I've also tried out some other trucks, and learned that they use a lot of local products, plus you know everything that's going into your meal, because you can watch them prepare it!

After talking to these local food truck owners and doing my own taste testing, I think it's safe to conclude that having food trucks set up on college campuses, at least once in a while, has more pros than cons for both sides. The students get an opportunity to taste fresh and unique cuisines while supporting small businesses. And the food trucks, well, they get a whole lot of hungry customers who aren't afraid to give their feedback, or post their tasty meals on social media.