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Diners, Drive-ins and UAlbany

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By Era Bushati

Web Editor

theaspnews@gmail.com 

Oct. 24, 2013

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is bringing his first ever food truck to the University at Albany campus this fall as part of an exclusive collaboration with Sodexo.

A press release from Fieri and Sodexo explains that Guy Fieri On Campus is a casual retail dining concept featuring his unique culinary style with hints of Italian, Asian and Mexican flavors – the kind of food featured regularly on the TV host’s shows and in his restaurants will be served.

Fieri, who hosts his own show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network, is ecstatic to be able to showcase his cuisine at UAlbany, said Gloria Chabot, Director of Brand Management for Sodexo’s Northeast Region.

“UAlbany was chosen for the first Guy Fieri On Campus food truck because both Sodexo and the University Auxiliary Services are committed to continually bringing innovation to campus dining. What could be more innovative than being the first in the nation to showcase Guy Fieri’s cuisine in his first food truck?” said Chabot.

A few of the featured menu items will be: Guy’s Big Bite Burger, Plain Jane Burger, Morgan’s Veggie Burger, Triple Stack A Grilled Cheese, Firecracker Wings, Buffalo Bleu Sabi Wings, BBQ Bourbon Wings, Vegas Fries, Fries with Sea Salt and Garlic Fries.

Fieri’s UAlbany food truck is in the final stages of completion and University Auxiliary Services (UAS) is hoping to have the truck serving students on campus by mid-November.

“Because this is the first one, Fieri is being very particular about what the food truck’s graphic design looks like,” said UAS Executive Director, Stephen Pearse.

“But the good news is that once the truck gets here it will be the first and only of its kind. We’re going to be a trendsetter and that’s pretty cool and unique for UAlbany,” said Pearse.

The first time UAlbany featured a food truck was Spring of 2013, when dining services was still provided by Chartwells.

“To be perfectly honest, it really did not do that well. It did well for customer satisfaction in terms of the wow factor but in terms of the actual sales value versus food costs and labor costs it didn’t break even,” said Pearse.

Pearse said he believes the timing of the food truck affected its popularity. “It was introduced in the winter months, which is a tough time to have people stand out in the parking lot ordering food. And the other part of it was that I didn’t feel that the notification of the location was adequate or effective so there were people who didn’t know where it was going to be. It was hit or miss,”

UAS is counting on three factors to make the new food truck more successful than the last: effective social media advertising, brand recognition and great food.

“If you can get all three of those things going then it should be successful,” said Pearse.

Eventually UAS also plans to open one of Fieri’s restaurants in the Campus Center within a few years as well.

Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey was the first to open a Guy Fieri restaurant, the first of 15 proposed restaurants coming to university campuses nation-wide.

2 Comments

  1. ADKMTCHICK
    November 6, 2014 at 12:16 am — Reply

    UAlbany should be embarrassed. Obviously this is a marketing stunt by UAlbany to attract students to their campus. There are so many innovative local fook trucks that serve far better food than Mr. Fieri will ever be able to provide to the students. He is, at this point, only a celebrity, and not a chef.

    Mr. Pearse’s comment about the food truck being “the first and only of its kind” is nonsense. There will be nothing special about it, except as he pointed out, a cool truck wrap. I am assuming Mr. Pearse further believes Guy Fieri will actually be serving in the food truck to entice “people to stand out in the parking lot ordering food” during the winter months. I understand this truck is a beast. It is not like the truck will be parked in front of each dorm. Students will still have to stand out in the cold, only to be disappointed with the results. I hope Guy Fieri’s brand will make Mr. Pearse more successful at his job, since he was so unsuccessful with his last food truck experience on campus. The same plan would have worked for that situation, as well.

    And to add insult to the injury, UAlbany is planning on opening one of his restaurants on campus? Apparently UAlbany is unaware of the poor reviews his restaurants have been receiving of late. YUCKY!

    This is very disappointing. Thank you, UAlbany, for the lack of local business support. Mr. Fieri’s bank account appreciates it. It is after all, Guy Fieri. Good luck with that! I hope your student population and national exposure increases.

    • ADKMTCHICK
      November 6, 2014 at 12:35 am — Reply

      I get it. No truck during the winter months.

      *GFOC will CLOSED for the season beginning Monday, November 10. See you in the spring!

      Nice stunt. I like it!

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