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Students Planning a Low Waste Food Truck for Campus

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Food trucks in PittsburghThe idea of a Pitt Business food truck began through the Service Learning class in the Certificate Program of Leadership and Ethics (CPLE). The class was tasked with coming up with a functional plan for a “zero waste” food truck and helping Sodexo with their ongoing efforts around corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Emily Meyer, a junior majoring in marketing and supply chain management, joined the food truck project in October 2016 through sponsorship of Pitt Business. Meyer and her team are accomplishing the goal of as little waste as possible by using a limited menu that involves very little packaging.

The menu currently consists of paninis, soups, salads, some various sides, and freshly fried chips. They are working towards limiting the truck’s food waste by having similar ingredients throughout the menu, specifically for paninis.

After that initial project was completed in spring 2016, Pitt Business sponsored summer interns to work on the project with Sodexo. While Sodexo will be making the food on the truck, they are working closely with the University to get the truck launched.

The interns, worked with the marketing department at Sodexo and the head chef of Market Central, Chef Chris Cox, to continue to build upon the project. They ordered the truck and began looking into permits and legal standards. The truck arrived at campus in late November/early December but is not currently approved for operations.

Meyer is currently working on the pricing strategy by looking at their competitors in Oakland and food trucks that operate in the city. The menu and the sandwich names, Cathy Club and the Bouquet Garden, are in the works of being finalized.

The end goal is for the business operations of the food truck (e.g., supply chain, logistics, marketing, finance) to eventually be run by students in Pitt Business in partnership with Pitt Dining and Sodexo. 

The food truck is one of several projects related to food security and sustainability happening at Pitt Business. The David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership previously developed a Food Abundance Index scorecard in order to help communities to identify and measure areas of food scarcity in the community. The Berg Center is also in the process of creating a social documentary on the issue of reducing food waste titled, "Rescuing Abundance."