Students craving midnight snacks can now find salvation in the form of a monkey holding a paper bag.
This is the logo of Bag o’ Fries, a new student-run business and venture capital with Chartwells.
The business, which supplies generous bags of fries with the customer’s choice of a number of dry and wet seasonings for the price of three dollars, has made its debut on campus.Run by seniors Brian Trubowitz and Andika Hartawan, Bag o Fries has been a year-long effort to break into student-run business.
“There’s only two things open at night (on the weekends),” said Hartawan, “either the Hamburger Inn or Dan’s Deli. So we thought for a first time business, why don’t we just do that? … Back home (Indonesia), McDonald’s tried to do something with French fries, but I guess people didn’t like it. I said, you know what, what if we gave more toppings and stuff. I’m sure college kids would love deep-fried stuff at night. So that’s how it came to be.”
Hartawan explained that Chartwells guided them through the appropriate processes for launching their business. Additionally, they provided their kitchen and insurance, and helped them get their supplies.
However, Hartawan and Trubowitz are personally funding the entire project.Upon stepping into Smith, students are greeted by the smell of fries and a long list of flavors to choose from.
Senior Josh Decker, who attended the free sample debut, said, “I believe this is a good twist on a traditional recipe. It’s the future of the French fry industry, and I am a fan of all the different flavors and toppings they have to offer.”
“It all started from going to Kroger’s (supermarket) and walking down the aisles picking up what looked good,” Hartawan said. “It was sort of like an experiment.”
With experimenting came mishaps, Trubowitz said.
“We tried a sesame ginger sauce, which was terrible,” said Trubowitz.
Hartawan added that straight garlic powder and straight mango sauce were amongst the other mishaps. The top flavors so far have been the “Funky Monkey sauce,” the ingredients of which are secret, French Toast, and the Tango Meriyaki (a mango teriyaki sauce). On their first night in operation, Bag o’ Fries attracted many students with free samples.
“We sold 60 pounds of fries within the first 45 minutes,” Hartawan said. He added that on their next night when they required students to pay, they sold about 43 bags of fries in a couple of hours.
Trubowitz said that Bag o’ Fries has not worked extensively on their marketing, but so far their feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive.
He added that the monkey logo, designed by Hartawan, has played a major role in attracting customers.
Hartawan and Trubowitz said they endeavor to break even in six months. Trubowitz expressed uncertainty that the venture would be able to become an independent business.
Hartawan and Trubowitz both hope that Bag o’ Fries will help build their resumes, give them something to talk about and enhance their college career.
Bag o’ Fries hours of operation are from midnight to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in Smith Hall.