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Meals on Wheels: The Red Food Truck Speaks

While the immense number of activities in TechTatva’17 kept the minds occupied, the variety of stalls kept the stomachs satisfied. Amidst all the noise and the haste, the red food truck seemed to be the centre of attraction. As the culinary golden duck squeezed out food with a surreal mix of smokiness and savouriness, students hovered around like cops at a crime scene. Unsatisfied customers of Square Ruth were like square roots of negative numbers – imaginary. Intrigued by their taste and way of business, we had a chat with Umesh Chandran, the man in charge.

Your food has been the talk of the fest. Tell us more about Square Ruth and how it came to be.

We started our business two and a half years ago in Bangalore. Our intention was to set up a restaurant there, but to our surprise, we couldn’t afford the real estate back then. After a lot of brainstorming, we came up with the idea of a food truck and we’ve been sailing smoothly ever since.

Why did you decide on a food truck over other alternatives?

A food truck gives plenty of advantages. We are able to reach our customers directly whenever and wherever we want to. Another crucial factor is how sensitive our country is to meat products. For a restaurant, it is very difficult to survive on such products. Rather than being fixed to one place, we can be on the move, taking advantage of the norms and laws of different areas.

Even at 11 am in the morning, with most MITians in class, the truck was swarming with hungry folks.

What places have you been to and served food at other than MIT?

Our crew loves to travel. We’ve been to many places across India, including Goa, Pondicherry, and Manipal. From a business point of view, we do it because it gives our brand a lot of mileage. It also helps us to maintain a good portfolio by covering important cultural fests and other events around the country. This gives us an opportunity to boast about ourselves to the event managers we get calls from.

How are the sales in MIT versus any other colleges that you’ve been to during similar cultural fests?

Sales are definitely more in MIT than NITK or most of the colleges we’ve been to. Nowadays, there are plenty of food trucks in Bangalore so our uniqueness is kind of lost there. In places like Manipal, the concept is relatively fresh and you guys aren’t exposed to food like this, so we get more customers here.

Considering the huge line we are looking at, how are you able to manage the plentitude of customers?

Yes, managing the number of customers we get here is extremely difficult. We serve gourmet food which takes around 10-15 minutes to prepare. We’ve even seen people go haywire and scream at us. But we would rather lose the customer and give back the money than serve pre-cooked food. Nevertheless, the people in Manipal have been really patient and I can’t thank them enough.

Can you tell us about some of your best recipes? 

We specialise in anything with bacon! We tend to keep our dishes really simple. A bacon cheese sandwich, for instance, has the most basic ingredients. Yet, it is one of our most-loved sandwiches. The only thing that we work on a lot is our barbecue sauce. I believe a good sauce is the key to a mouth-watering repast.

The range of succulent cuisine it offered.

This question is on behalf of all the vegetarians out there. The variety of options available in the non-vegetarian menu is vast. Why isn’t it the same for the vegetarian menu?

Well, we never had any intention of serving vegetarian food in the first place. We’ve included it in the menu only because my best friend’s girlfriend is a vegetarian. Anyway, as far as feasibility goes, it is difficult to cook vegetarian and non-vegetarian food at the same time in such a compact place (points to the food truck).

What is your message to the Manipal crowd?

We love you guys. We look forward to coming here again to sell delicious sandwiches and hotdogs. Have a great fest, MIT!

As told to Rhitam Dutta and Garima Singla.

Featured Image Source: TechTatva’17 Social Media Team.

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