At the USC Farmers Market on Wednesday, the Buck Truck pulled up and parked on McCarthy Quad for the first time. The Buck Truck is a pop-up food truck run by a group of students in a business entrepreneur class titled “Gaming the System.” Sophomores Arthur Johnston and Anthony Yin and junior Jacob Fishman created the Buck Truck — a healthy food truck that brings both Asian and Mediterranean influences to on-the-go food.
“We were initially just asked to create a conceptual business plan for a proposed food truck that we would pitch to industry professionals for feedback, and the team with the strongest concept would win a handful of coins,” Fishman said.
But the pitch became a reality when their team was selected to partner with Roaming Hunger, the company that owns the truck and permits and staffs the kitchen.
The Buck Truck is a white truck painted with abstract black and pink lines and stamped with the boxy, clean-cut “Buck Truck” logo. It’s a classic raised-window food truck, with room onboard for about four to eight people. As lunchtime approached, a line began to form in anticipation of this new vendor among the Farmers Market’s usual offerings.
Through advertising over Facebook, the Buck Truck was able to gain a following; some students came to the Farmers Market for the first time just to check out the truck. In another clever marketing ploy, customers could take pictures of themselves with the food or truck using a Polaroid camera. They then clipped the photos to lengths of string hanging on the side of the truck, unless they wanted to keep the photo, in which case they had to post something about the truck to their social media accounts. Though the photos were a tad washed out from the midday sun, they added to the truck’s overall aesthetic appeal.
The Buck Truck also gave out free lemonade to the first 200 customers until it ran out. The pink lemonade was freshly made and more sour than sweet, but it paired well with the various food items. The only appetizer/side menu item was the avocado fries, which consisted of quarters of thickly sliced avocado and deep-fried potatoes. The avocados were fresh enough that they held up against the oil they were fried in and did not become too greasy. However, eating that much avocado in one serving can weigh down one’s stomach, despite the contrast of the fried breadcrumb surface.
The Buck Truck served simple menu options — bowl or burrito, Tziki or Yaki. Tziki refers to the Mediterranean-inspired grilled lemon chicken with arugula and other veggies, avocado and tzatziki sauce. The Yaki bowls and burritos offered grilled teriyaki chicken over white rice and veggies, topped with chopped green onions, sliced avocado and sriracha mayonnaise. The flavors were not overtly Asian or Mediterranean, but the overall flavors paired well together. One burrito or bowl was $10 a la carte, but $13 with the addition of avocado fries and lemonade.
Johnston, Yin and Fishman partnered with Swipe Out Hunger, a nonprofit geared toward ending student hunger, for this event. Proceeds will go toward helping people in the USC community who struggle with food security. Despite being on the pricier side, the Buck Truck helped support a worthy cause and added a new and fresh flavor to the USC Farmers Market.