Lack of food options on campus leads to purchase of new food truck

Members of the College Council unanimously approved the purchase of a new $55,000 food truck for El Camino College in an effort to expand food options on campus, council officials said.

Randy Firestone, an EC philosophy professor and representative of the Food Committee, presented the idea of buying the discounted food truck during the latest College Council meeting Monday, May 20, due to the foreseen closure of the Campus Deli in 2020 or 2021.

“We are in a pretty desperate situation on campus. We really only have two options, besides a couple of food trucks,” Firestone said. “We have Cafe Camino and the Art Deli.”

Firestone said that the addition of the new coffee shop, The Manhattan, located next to the Bookstore, will not help improve food selection on campus because it will primarily sell coffee.

The Manhattan was closed in 2016 after a fire broke out Thursday, Jun 2, leaving extensive damage.

“[It] should have some sandwiches,” Firestone said. “So we really are only going to have Cafe Camino.”

EC President and Superintendent Dena Maloney said she sees the food truck as an opportunity to generate more money for the school, hoping to place the food truck closer to Crenshaw Boulevard where businesses like McDonald’s and Chicken Maison lure students.

“We are losing a lot of revenue from food sales on [the east] end of campus, students can walk out and go across the street,” Maloney said. “If there was something on this end of campus that is appealing, quality food, kind of in keeping with the other food that we have now developed on campus.”

However, the food truck may entice students to try more on-campus food options as Firestone said the food truck is unique and should be placed near an academic building on campus.

“It’s not like a normal food truck, it’s much bigger,” Firestone said. “It’s also on wheels and be moved, so if we decide to put it somewhere else we have the flexibility to do that.”

Academic Senate President Kristie Daniel-DiGregorio asked whether members of the Food Committee had seen the food truck and confirmed its details.

Firestone addressed DiGregorio’s concerns and reassured her that the food truck was ready. However, Firestone added it was important to act fast and purchase the food truck or else EC would miss out on the opportunity.

“Time is of the essence. We are lucky [the food trailer owner] has held off this long, unless they will try to sell it to someone else,” Firestone said. “We told them we had this meeting and they agreed to hold off.”

Both the location and opening date of the food truck has not been determined.