Food truck unfazed by steep increase in food prices

by | Feb 4, 2016 | Campus News, News

Campus food truck unfazed by increase in food costs

Campus food truck unfazed by increase in food costs (Phil Witmer)

Phil Witmer

Though the price of food has taken a hike, the team behind Humber’s food truck isn’t sweating it.

“A case of asparagus is $98 for an 11-pound case,” said Kevin Chong of the Humber School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism, “so we go to green beans.”

Chong is in charge of the ordering and receiving of fresh ingredients for the food truck’s student-prepared meals.

While the current climate of $8 cauliflowers has made things more difficult, the food truck is committed to a menu and work experience that stands out from Humber’s other opportunities, he said.

“It’s for student learning. Sustainability is a responsibility of the college. It’s a protocol. So we try to ensure that we buy from vendors that are responsible [like] local farmers.”

Currently, all items on the food truck’s menu are set at $6, unchanged from when the truck launched back in September.

“We were set a budget on how we wanted to sell [the food],” said Adam Lucko, associate chef, “so we took the reference point of what one can spend as a student.”

Keeping all items the same price not only helps tailor them to student spending habits but also allows the Humber truck to competitively price itself against other food trucks which typically hover around $12 to $13 on average for each product, said Lucko.

“We’re not trying to make a buck, we’re trying to promote healthy eating and culinary excellence by our HRT,” he said.

Antonio Folino, who runs the truck’s booking and catering service, said he agrees with the non-profit mindset, adding that hospitality is “the only industry where you’re expected to give things away for free. People don’t want to pay the price that’s already set.”

Folino isn’t worried about the food price crisis, he said.

“Everything is on a cycle. In the wintertime you’re always paying more for food and in the summertime the prices are a lot less so you make your profit margins higher. You make that loss.”

Labour fees have made more of an impact on the food truck than the rising price of obtaining the food itself, he said.

“We pay our students minimum wage. The wage only went up by twenty-five cents but it does affect the overall outcome. In hospitality, a nickel makes a huge difference.”

Obstacles like this are par for the course, said Chong.

“It’s the cost of doing business. If [the price of] electricity is too high are you not going to use electricity? We have to deal with change on the fly.”