One of the hot commodities at N.C. Central University last semester were the food trucks. The university had given students the options of purchasing food from food truck businesses in the Triangle Area instead of dining at W.G Pearson Cafeteria, Subway, or Chick-Fil-A on campus.
“We are the only university around, that’s been checked, other than a school in Australia, that has a food truck program installed,” said Food Truck Coordinator Nakita Johnson.
There was a cycle of 18 food trucks that came on campus Monday through Friday, and the university received a 20% profit from the businesses. The food sold, the menu prices, and the food portions were solely based upon each business.
One of the biggest incentives about the food trucks were they allowed students to use their flex dollars, money given to college students by the university to purchase food on campus, which may have been one of the primary reasons why they were so popular.
“I liked the variety of the food trucks. Hickory Turkey Barbeque was my favorite because they made food I couldn’t make myself,” Mass Communication Junior Siegee Dowah said.
The food trucks were on campus last semester because of the Chick-Fil-A on campus being upgraded to a full-scale restaurant inside of NCCU’s Alfonso Elder Student Union.
After the full-scale Chick-Fil-A opened on Nov. 4, which was the first day of NCCU’s Ultimate Homecoming, the food trucks were no longer on campus.
Now students only have Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, and W.G Pearson Cafeteria to dine at on campus.
Many of the food truck owners and students had great things to say about the food trucks last semester.
Keep on Shuckin’ owner stated his truck being “one of the favorites” because of its Pineapple boat menu item and that it is “something many students have never tried before.”
He added that there was a decline in people at the food trucks towards the end of the Fall semester, compared to the first week the food trucks were on campus because of students running low on their flex dollars.
“I liked that there were different food trucks daily because it gave you more to choose from. My favorite food truck was the one with the frozen lemonade. It was always good and the taco truck gave you a lot of food for a good price,” Music Education Junior Victoria Smith said.
The food truck R&B Grill is “one of the most popular trucks,” said an employee.
She said that by being on campus, “it has given them (referring to other R&B employees) an opportunity to try other food trucks too.”
The food truck is not new to the university. Food can also be purchased from the food truck at home football games on campus.
To some, its more than just grabbing a bite to eat.
Tropical Delights Smoothie’s owner spoke on how this is more than just feeding students.
He talked about the city of Durham and how it was once called the “Black Wall Street.”
Durham was known for black-owned businesses and he sees the purpose of keeping that going.
He added that he enjoyed the food trucks on campus as much as the students. One of his favorite food trucks, other than his, is Lee’s Jamaican food truck, which is also a premier restaurant located in Raleigh.
Now that the food trucks are gone and students only have two fast-food restaurants and one dining hall on campus to dine at, hopefully the university considers bringing back the food trucks before the new student union opens in 2022.