Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Lumberjack Express mobile food lab to begin service

February 8, 2019 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University's new mobile food lab, the Lumberjack Express, will begin service Feb. 26. Tickets will be available for purchase online starting Tuesday, Feb. 12. Hospitality administration faculty members Todd Barrios, chef; Dr. Chay Runnels, program coordinator and associate professor; Dr. Mary Olle, assistant professor; and Donna Fickes, clinical instructor, are pictured alongside the mobile food lab.

The Lumberjack Express, Stephen F. Austin State University's new mobile food lab, provides transformational learning experiences for students while offering culinary delights for fans of the university's hospitality administration program.

With cuisine prepared by hospitality majors under the direction of chef Todd Barrios, service is provided by students enrolled in a customer-relations course taught by Dr. Chay Runnels, hospitality administration program coordinator and associate professor.

"We believe this unique lab will help convey the hands-on experiences that we work hard to provide all of our students," Runnels said. "We are happy to share this exciting lab experience with the public."

The Lumberjack Express will begin service at 11:15 a.m. Feb. 26 in the Education Annex Parking Lot No. 15 on the SFA campus.

No cash or credit cards will be accepted at the food lab's window. Instead, food sales will be handled online at sfasu.edu/lumberjackexpress. Each meal ticket costs $8, and only 50 tickets will be sold for each meal.

Ticket sales will begin Tuesday, Feb. 12, for Lumberjack Express service on Tuesdays and Thursday from Feb. 26 through March 14. Tickets for March 26 through April 11 will be sold March 12. On April 12, tickets for food lab meals from April 23 through May 9 will be available for purchase.

Each day will feature a different type of cuisine, such as Texas barbecue, Creole, European and Latin.

Donna Fickes, SFA clinical instructor, coordinated the effort to obtain the mobile food laboratory to provide students the opportunity to experience active learning in a realistic setting, as well as engage and empower them to create and execute an entrepreneurial business plan. According to National Restaurant Association research, the food truck trend, which began in Los Angeles, will continue to accelerate as entrepreneurs across the nation use them to enter the restaurant industry.

SFA's mobile food lab also will be utilized at outreach and recruiting events, such as career and college fairs.

For more information, visit sfasu.edu/lumberjackexpress.