Outdoor dining allows for social distancing, accepts Tarbucks
Rollins Dining Services has provided a selection of local food trucks for students as an alternative to eating indoors.
Many students have expressed interest in food trucks on campus throughout the years, said Bill Short, associate vice president for Finance and assistant treasurer. Dining Services listened to those students’ wishes and provided food trucks during the construction period of Skillman Dining Hall. This semester, food trucks are back on campus.
Diego Arenas, director of operations of Dining Services, described that one of the reasons for providing the food trucks is “to give students another place where they can get food and actually keep social distancing, something outdoors.”
These food trucks give many students, especially those living on campus, a greater variety of dining options to choose from. Vendors rotate weekly, and some of the food trucks on campus include Toasted, Hayburner Eclectic Kitchen, El Cactus Azul, and The Wandering Goat.
Arenas described how the Dining Services team has worked diligently to cater to students by requiring food trucks to offer combo meals, which come with an entree and a drink, at a price of $9. Students can purchase meals using their Tarbucks.
There are no unreasonable monetary costs for hosting the food trucks, said Short. Administration was initially hesitant to provide food trucks in the past, but these hesitations stemmed from dealing with permits, providing electrical outlets, and providing space for the food trucks to park, which would mean blocking off the streets on campus.
The health and safety of Rollins’ community members is one of Dining Services’ top priorities. As Short explained, Rollins uses food trucks that are permitted by the city of Winter Park specifically, rather than the city of Orlando, because Winter Park has a stricter permitting process.
Short said, “Permitting can sometimes just be a fee, but a lot of it, in this case, has to do with health and safety standards.”
Short spoke with the companies who coordinate the food trucks to make sure employees comply with these standards.
Short and Leon Hayner, dean of Students and interim assistant vice president for Student Affairs, both referenced an incident during the first week of school that involved a food truck attendant who was not wearing a mask. A student noticed this and reported the incident to Student Affairs, whose staff then contacted Dining Services to handle the issue. Short spoke with the operator of the food truck, and the issue was dealt with immediately.
While there are not enough Campus Safety officers to patrol every food truck, Short said that students can do their part and report incidents like this one to Student Affairs or Dining Services.
Short noted that there “are no plans to discontinue” the food trucks for next semester; however, “if the students and faculty and staff don’t use them enough, they, because they’re independent, may decide it is not worth coming.”
Food trucks are available Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 1:30pm by Bush Lawn. Any health and safety concerns about the vendors can be directed to Leon Hayner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill Short at email@example.com.