Graduate student starts business after competing in an investment competition

Food+Truck

Food Truck

Graduate Scott Hodges plans to offer a new late-night food staple to the downtown area with his taco truck “Bueno” as early as the start of fall semester.

Hodges’ plan to enter into the food truck business began in April when he participated in “The Hatch,” a live, interactive investment competition hosted by the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the College of Business. “The Hatch” has a similar format to the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” where people present their ideas to investors to gain their support.

Hodges and eight other students were given the opportunity to present their business ideas to investors, who contributed more than $100,000 to student business proposals, $40,000 going to Hodges’ taco stand start-up for 40 percent of the equity, according to a press release by the University’s College of Business.

Director of the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University Kirk Kern said the taco stand could be serving up food as early as two weeks from now.

“Scott has been working really hard and I would hope that you will be able to see it appear in Bowling Green in the next two weeks,” Kern said.

Kern has worked with Hodges during the process of “The Hatch;” meeting with each other each week to discuss the business plan. Kern is looking forward to what comes next for Hodges.

“We are in what we call the incubation stage right now,” Kern said. “The real hard work begins and Scott has to build the company.”

Bowling Green’s lack of food trucks is surprising due to the “food-on-wheels” craze in a lot of college towns, Senior Sam Rhinehart said.

The estimated revenue for food trucks in the U.S. was $650 million in 2012, according to the National Restaurant Organization. It’s estimated to grow into a 2.7 billion national industry by 2017, according to Intuit Inc (research by Emergent Research).

“I eat at the Burrito Buggy almost every time I go down to visit [Ohio University] and it seems like there are food trucks serving up all kinds of different food on every corner down at [Ohio State University],” Rhinehart said.

Bethany Rutter, co-owner of the Burrito Buggy, said food trucks are successful in college towns because they become a part of the whole college experience.

“Homecoming weekend is one of the busiest weekends for us because we get all of the alumni coming back who feel the need to come by for a burrito,” Rutter said. “It is a chance for them to reminisce about their college years and all of those nights that ended with a burrito from the buggy.”

Rhinehart is looking forward to having more late-night food options downtown.

“A food truck is a great idea and probably something that all of us have thought should be up here at some point,” Rhinehart said. “I am a big fan of food trucks so as long as the food is good I will definitely be a regular there.”