Students to Launch Campus Food Truck

Isaac Brower '13, Steve Borukhin '14, and Eric Edelman '13 stand in front of their food truck, which they plan to redecorate with their CampusFoodTruck logo

 

Taking a cue from a culinary trend sweeping through cities across the country, three Bowdoin students will soon open a food truck on campus to feed late-night bookworms and revelers.

“Food trucks are making a big splash in New York City right now,” Steve Borukhin ’14 said. “It’s the latest craze.”

Borukhin, an economics major, is partnering with Eric Edelman ’13, an economics and history major, and Isaac Brower ’13, a psychology major, to open CampusFoodTrucks, Inc. by early March. All three students have a keen interest in food: Borukhin has worked in the restaurant business; Edelman says he likes experimenting with recipes; and Brower, who’s from Camden, Maine, already owns his own successful food cart in Rockland, Maine.

They also share an interest in making CampusFoodTrucks take off at Bowdoin, and then expanding their business to other schools. “The business model is easily replicated on other campuses,” Edelman said. He added, too, that they were inspired by the call President Barry Mill made for entrepreneurship in his Baccalaureate address last spring. “That resonated with us and it seemed that the administration would support us,” he said.

CampusFoodTrucks will be open 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the Farley Field House parking lot, and could at some point be stationed in the Smith Union parking lot for special occasions. Edelman says he’s confident students will make the trek to the truck to satisfy late-night cravings. “There’s a complaint from students, both who drink and don’t drink, that there aren’t enough things to do late at night. We feel like we can fill a void,” he said.

Our country needs entrepreneurs and innovators, and this is actually a great time for taking these risks.
—President Barry Mills, 2011

Brower said he believes the truck could become a Bowdoin institution. “My hopes are that it’s profitable and becomes embedded into campus life and becomes a big part of the school,” he said.

The three co-owners plan to hire student employees to help cook and run the register.

After applying for local and state permits and getting the go-ahead from the college administration, the trio this winter turned to the challenge of getting the truck onto campus, hooking it up to a power source, and setting up the kitchen. The truck belongs to Brower, who with a friend has operated Duo’s Takeout in Rockland for the last three summers. Duo’s Takeout caters to tourists and sells seafood, such as fried haddock, lobster rolls, and fish n’ chips. Because Brower supplied the truck, Edelman and Borukhin took on the responsibility of rounding up venture capital, mostly from family and friends, Edelman explained.

Following the truck’s arrival in mid-February, Edelman and Borukhin began testing recipes. Brower will be studying abroad this semester in Australia, leaving the management and cooking to his partners. The menu so far includes burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, a Caesar wrap, french fries, onion rings, grilled cheese, falafel, grilled chicken and CampusFoodTrucks’s signature sandwich, the CFT, a grilled cheese stuffed with chicken tenders and bacon. Occasional specials might include fried Oreos and poutine, Edelman said.

The plan is to break even by the end of this semester, Edelman said. “We’re not doing this because we want to be profitable or make money from our friends. We want to create a successful business — something that we can be proud of and Bowdoin can be proud of.”

 

Comments

  1. George Maling '52 says:

    The students ought to talk to Peter Buck ’52. When you walk into a Subway, it looks like a pretty simple operation. But Pete’s genius was to see how the operation could be scaled up to a the very large internation franchise operation it is today.

    When thinking of expansion of food trucks to other schools, the Subway model might be a very good (and profitable)way to go.

  2. George Sheldon says:

    “We’re not doing this because we want to be profitable …” Really? President Mills’ call for entrepreneurship “resonated” with you and inspired you, and yet you don’t want to make a profit? Sounds like the idea of entrepreneurship embarrasses more than inspires you. It shouldn’t.

    As economics students (at least Steve and Eric), you might have said that while you intend to make profits, you don’t expect to given that many businesses cater to the food demand of students (including Bowdoin College.) Suggesting you are not interested in profits is probably a good marketing approach to take with both the College and potential student customers. But, this claimed goal doesn’t mean much beyond that and shouldn’t – – with no apologies needed or demanded by your hopefully satisfied customers.

    And finally, don’t dismiss profits in a way that suggests earning them is trivial. Most start-ups find this is quite definitely not the case and go broke – -and that happens when profits are the stated goal.

    Seeking to not make profits is setting the bar so low that you cannot help but succeed. Be a little more entrepreneurial. And, I’m guessing you will be anyway. You have been so far.

  3. mary Ellen Johnston says:

    Please don’t forget to cater to the more health-conscious students at Bowdoin, who may be vegetarians or vegans. There are lots of easy options for them, and they get hungry too! Hamburgers and hot dogs? Be creative!

  4. ann sullivan '06 says:

    GREAT logo! designer?

  5. The graphic artist is Ruiqi Li ’13.

  6. James A Pierce says:

    Regarding Steve Borukhin’s comment about food trucks being “the latest craze” in New York City, allow me to quote one of Yogi Berra’s malapropisms: “It’s deja vu all over again.” Food trucks, aka “roach coaches”, have being around New York for a long time, albeit in not such an upscale and trendy milieu. They have been around for decades, usually in industrial zones and catering to a definite blue collar crowd. Kearney , New Jersey had several, and they were found on Fish House Road near the truck parks. I wish Steve and his fellow entrepreneurs all the best in their venture and look forward to sampling his wares.

    James Pierce ’69

  7. Jamie Hale '94 says:

    Larry Lindsey ’75 and Stan Druckenmiller ’75 both got their start with a hot dog cart at Bowdoin. I’m sure they both would have great insights into the unit economics of the business. Good luck (and don’t eat the profits)!

  8. Gents, congrats! Check out “Food Truck Nation” under “Groups” on LinkedIn. It’s a group that I started to help food truck operators get the ball rolling and identify resources. Well done!!!

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