The Queens College campus has seen numerous outside food vendors start serving their students across all hours of the week. The Knight News inquired about what went into this process and what’s next.
“With students, faculty, and staff now coming back to campus more regularly, the campus has made ensuring a quality food service program a top priority,” Joseph Loughren, chief financial officer at Queens College, said.
According to Loughren, what having food trucks on campus does is allows for the seamless integration of options so that a variety of selections can be provided for the campus community. When asked what factors led up to the decision to have food trucks on campus, and why the present vendors were chosen, Loughren explains the primary selection criteria when considering food service providers are: quality offerings, diverse options (halal, kosher, vegetarian, etc.), and a price point that works for the campus.
Campus food selection has always been a concern for students at Queens College, with a vast dining hall, multiple on-campus cafes, and many off-campus locations such as Gino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and various food carts near each entrance typically serving as the answer. Recently, however, there have been a few new outside additions to the on-site options.
“We work with numerous vendors so that we can provide the best options for our students,” Loughren said. “The College’s procurement department works directly with the vendors to ensure that they are able to provide quality, diverse options at a price point that works for our students.”
Currently, the College’s procurement department is in the process of soliciting a vendor, or vendors, for a multi-year agreement to serve the campus starting in the spring semester. The vendor(s) will be selected through a Request for Proposal process where food service providers (including those already on campus, if they wish) will submit proposals to operate the QC food program.
The process, which involves considerable input from students, student groups, faculty, and staff, will allow QC to choose the best options for the campus based on the vendor’s ability to meet the specific campus community needs. For the vendors already in service this semester, there are contracts with the vendors that speak to service expectations and legal compliance.
When asked about the benefits of having mobile trucks on campus, Loughren said that while the primary benefit is the ability to provide a wide range of quality options at a reasonable price point, the trucks have proven to be a popular option for students and are a great supplement to other on-campus dining options.
Diana Papadopoulos, an English major at Queens College, agrees with the popularity statement, saying, “I have to agree, having food carts on campus is very convenient.”
Ayman Khitri, who works at the on-campus Shah’s Halal Food cart, also agrees, saying, “This place is good for business. We get a lot of students. They come to eat, and sit down right over there,” alluding to the benches in between Kiely Hall and Virginia Frese Hall.
Khitri, along with the vendors manning Mr. Sandwich and the Colombian food truck, experience many hungry students flocking to their carts for a delicious bite in between classes, and hope to continue experiencing it in the upcoming semesters as well.