At exam time, when the library is crammed with studying students, it is pretty busy in the canteen in MetaForum. Eurest co-worker Gijs van Erp, manager of catering locations, knows that every day they cater for 1400 to 1500 customers. In quiet periods, a thousand people come to get their lunch in MetaForum, mainly between noon and 1 p.m. Having four food trucks standing on the concrete paving next to the Market Hall, as of next week, will go some way to easing this crowding.
“But that's certainly not the only reason,” says Van Erp. “We are also keen to expand our food range. Over the past six months I've had conversations with people who have asked, very specifically, for vegan food. And in the Muslim community there is a need for more halal food. Not now and then, but all the time and everywhere.”
A lunch of halal or vegan food is already an option, for example in Flux, but Van Erp has noticed that this isn't enough. He went in search of food trucks capable of expanding the present food range and a site where these trucks could bring some life to the campus.
“The KOE field was my first choice, but I understand that the trucks aren't allowed to stand on the grass. Between MetaForum and Ceres is another nice site. Once it gets colder, they could stand under cover in the Market Hall. But that's six months and a contract down the line.”
An added advantage of the food trucks, anticipates Van Erp, will be their social value. “I looked for small independents who feel the university is a nice place to be. People who enjoy striking up a conversation with students and researchers, just like the couple who runs Kebab Lovers.”
Eurest is happy to give the entrepreneurs at Bakblik, Delekkerik and The Health Club a site next to Kebab Lovers, whose vehicle will also be sited outdoors. From Tuesday through Thursday the food trucks will make their lunches on site.
The manager expects the 'square' to attract people all day along. “I'm hoping for a lively, friendly atmosphere. Food truck owners could set out some tables and chairs and perhaps play some background music that's easy on the ears. These details are being discussed with Facility Services of Internal Affairs (DIZ).”
To whet your appetite, here's a glimpse of the lunch menus. The Health Club is offering The Bohemian Burger, a hamburger with exotic fruits, and The Superfood Smoothie with enough nutrients to keep you powered up all day long (say the makers).
At Bakblik you can order a fantastic falafel or feisty mushrooms in beer batter, and Kebab Lovers will be happy to make you a vegetarian halal kebab. For a halal spicy chicken or a fish sandwich, you can nip along to Delekkerik.