By Ben Longnecker, Staff Writer
Beginning last semester, Furman has made the brilliant decision to expand its dining options by allowing select food trucks to periodically come, park and serve students food during common lunch hours, once a week.
For those of you that do not know, a food truck is a type of food-serving vehicle that tends to specialize in making cheap, fast and tasty food that the normal city-dweller or poor college student can enjoy. These trucks are extremely popular in big cities and music/culture festivals, as they tend to attract millennials near and far.
Furman has recently allowed for a couple of food trucks to park in front of the James B. Duke library once a week to feed those hungry students who are tired of the normal Furman dining options.
Is this a good idea? Most likely, this may be one of the best moves in Furman dining history. The fact we have had to suffer under Aramark’s monopolistic control for so long, without a clear competitive deviator, is sickening.
Furman needs to be honest with itself and realize that students want options for their lunches. The Paddock was a great idea in theory, but its unreasonable price on everything (including water) makes me wonder how in the world it stays open. One piece of advice for the Paddock: do less. The uncomfortable chainmail walls and weird dining hours drive me and most students away from your $10 cheeseburgers, which is why the food trucks are the perfect addition to this campus.
Students can casually wait in line at a truck, order their semi-reasonably priced food, pay with Palapoints and eat their meals in the nice weather in front of the fountain. Although, why stop at just two food trucks? Furman should expand even more and have an open food truck policy in front of the library during lunch hours. Let the competition for the students’ Palapoints drive the price of a lunch down and the quality of the food up.
If you are worried that this will put financial pressure on the dining hall, you are right. It probably will. However, the dining hall is not entitled to our money. The students’ choice to each lunch at a different location will give incentive to the dining hall to offer better food for students to entice them away from the food trucks.
But overall, this shift to offer more food locations creates a good alternative option for students during their lunch hours who simply want to do something different.