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U. of Montana food trucks return for late-night fare

The University of Montana is bringing food trucks back to campus dining fold after a long hiatus, giving students a new late-night dining option. The trucks are making their return at the request of students and will start serving this month.

As reported by the Montana Kaimin, it’s been almost two years since the University of Montana’s own food truck suspended its regular service, but the new initiative will see the arrival three outside food truck concepts.

“Students have asked for the opportunity to have some late night food truck options,” said Byron Drake, interim director of Campus Dining. “We’ll probably have more as the weather warms up.”

The food trucks will serve the late-night student crowd, operating from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. in an on-campus parking lot. Joining the food trucks in late night service will be The Corner Store, UM’s on campus c-store, which will extend its closing time to 10:30 p.m. to serve students.

The three food trucks will operate in rotation with one truck operating each of Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. One of the food trucks has already expressed interest in expanding service to weekends or lunch hours if the demand is high enough, but historically these times haven’t proven fruitful.

“Typically, there is not enough business for trucks during lunch hours on campus,” said Drake in a statement to the Montana Kaimin. “Saturday and Sunday night I don’t think would be great for them. But, if one of them wanted to try it, I wouldn’t say no to that.”

The University of Montana’s food truck concept, the Galloping Griz, saw consistent success from 2014 to 2016, but a loss of $33,000 impacted UM Dining in the second half of 2017. After that, the truck cut back from daily service to special events the following spring, before closing permanently.

The new batch of food trucks will not accept meal plans or the campus card for payment. The vendors will instead pay a 10% cut of revenue to Montana Campus Dining.

All three food trucks will be on the University of Montana campus this week, and there are plans to add an ice cream truck in mid-April.

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