“Have you tried the crepes?”
“What are you talking about?”
And sophomore Ellie Reason was spontaneously dragged to Crepe a la Cart.
Two current Miami University students proposed an idea for crepes as a dining option in February after hearing the idea from a university in California, according to Chris Fields, manager of commissary operations in the Demske Culinary Support Center.
Fields said it took a week and a half to two weeks to launch after the necessary equipment arrived.
“Once we get an idea that we think will work, we’ll run with it,” Fields said.
Crepe a la Cart launched Wednesday, April 14 outside Market Street at McCracken. Wednesday night drew 130 customers within the four hours. Crepe a la Cart has been operating from 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
“It’s proven to be pretty popular so far,” Fields said.
Fields said Crepe a la Cart has been serving between 100 and 125 customers each night.
“(The crepe) was really good,” Reason said. “People started to line up at 7:45 p.m. for (the Cart).”
Sophomore Shobha Topgi agreed.
“It was so good,” Topgi said. “I thought it was kind of pricey but I thought it was really good. I went the next day, but I just don’t like how it’s open Wednesday through Saturday. I would’ve gone on Sunday.”
The cart would be operating outside King Library starting Wednesday, April 21 through Sunday evening. The cart is now located outside King Library at various locations and will be open until 1 a.m. during finals week, according to Fields.
“We’re trying to meet students where they are,” Fields said.
Topgi said service was generally fast, but there were difficulties.
“It’s really fast, generally,” Topgi said. “But when I went the next day the crepe kept ripping so I waited in line for 10 minutes, but it was worth it.”
Crepes vary in price between $4.50 and $6.75.
Text message alerts and a Miami Dining Facebook.com site were launched around the same time as well. One text “blast,” as Fields calls them, offered the DVD “Julie and Julia” to the first five customers at Crepe a la Carte one night. Students who text ‘DINING’ to 313131 receive text alerts for dining deals.
Karen Recker, associate director of dining and culinary support center, said within five minutes of the first text, 68 more students joined the text messaging service.
Housing, Dining and Guest Services had an existing trailer that wasn’t being used at the time, so equipment was ordered and crepe recipe development began. After taste-testings by selected students, dining services chose the popular 10 crepes of about 20 recipes for the initial launch. The Crepe a la Cart menu includes five savory crepes and five sweet crepes. Some beverages are also offered.
Crepe a la Cart accepts student meal plans as well as cash and credit cards.
Dining services is marketing at all dining locations in addition to Facebook and text message alerts, Fields said.
“We could hang posters all over, but it’s your reputation that precedes you,” Fields said of marketing efforts.
Miami dining will be launching a Twitter account in the fall as well.
“Mobile food services is growing across the nation,” Recker said. “We wanted to get in on it before summer hits because our business is so seasonal.”
Recker said dining services is brainstorming to add the possibility of guiros, fresh cut French fries and a campus ice cream stand.
“It’s an exciting, exciting time,” Recker said. “We’re building popularity for the program.”