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.”