Diners, Drive-ins and UAlbany
By Era Bushati
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.