Students to launch The Box in spring

by Kate Bradshaw | 2/16/14 8:17pm

Serving lunch, dinner and late-night fare, The Box is a student-run food truck that will offer locally-sourced Mediterranean cuisine starting the first week of spring term.

The joint venture will be run by eight Tuck School of Business students and over 15 undergraduates.

In addition to providing an alternative dining option, The Box will promote greater interaction between Tuck students and undergraduates within the Dartmouth community, its founders Eric Winn ’04 Tu’14 and Mike Parshley Tu’14 said. A student-run truck, they said, is both mobile and a manageable business size.

Acquiring the proper legal permits and meeting some zoning requirements challenging because Hanover has no precedent of food trucks, Winn and Parshley said. Citing student employees at the Dartmouth Skiway, they said they hope that The Box will incorporate experiential learning and job training for employees.

The Box will prioritize continuity by focusing on mentorship between Tuck students and undergraduates.

Operating on a rotating schedule, students can work in various roles, like alongside executive chef Tyler Harvey or with Tuck students on finance, operations and marketing strategies.

Fundraising efforts have collected enough money to purchase the truck and some equipment, as well as to partially cover operating costs. The Box’s Kickstarter campaign, which launched last week, aims to raise $15,000 by March 13. As of press time, The Box had garnered 91 backers and $5,775.

Using student focus groups and surveys to conduct market research over the past year, the founders said that they had found demand for fresh, healthier and locally-sourced food. They then took these demands to Harvey to develop the menu.

Students working on the project said they are excited for the launch and the opportunity to gain hands-on entrepreneurial experience.

Jessica Wolf ’14, who works on staffing operations and marketing, said she has been recruiting and training students to start in the spring.

She added that initial survey results indicated a student demand for less salubrious offerings like mac and cheese and fried food, but said The Box was unlikely to offer them as there is already access to these foods through Dartmouth Dining Services.

“If we were going to do something,” she said, “it would have to be something different.”

Kristo Jorgenson ’16, who became involved with the project while auditing an introductory entrepreneurship course at Tuck last winter, said the project has been his most valuable learning experience at the College. The project has showed him how Tuck students handled tough situations and answered difficult questions.

Cecelia Shao ’16, a member of the project, said she had access to a wide variety of food options growing up in New York City, many of which included food trucks. A food truck in Hanover is long overdue, she said, and provides another opportunity for students to develop their entrepreneurial capabilities.

“A lot of other schools have the infrastructure to support entrepreneurship,” she said. “This is a great way for Dartmouth to charge forward, past the bad publicity,”

Shao is a former member of The Dartmouth staff.