The man behind SJSU mobile dining

by Oct 16, 2013 9:20 pm Tags: , , , , , , , ,

SJSU Concessions manager Mark Stickler brings food truck cuisine on campus without the food truck.

He makes sure students never go hungry at Spartan football home games or at wild concerts at the Event Center where students scream their heads off.

Best of all, he does it with passion and a smile on his face.

“I really like being in leadership and I love to cook,” Stickler said. “I always loved barbecuing as a kid."

As concessions manager for Spartan Shops, Sticker is responsible for food stands at campus events, such as sports and concerts.

Stickler also served at mobile dining events such as BBQ Bash and Street Eats to offer students a taste of authentic street food, ranging from Cajun shrimp po'guys to bacon and veggie grilled cheese.

Stickler said Street Eats was a concept that started three semesters ago. “Our idea was a spin-off in the sense that we don’t need a truck because of expenses. We can move a table and still present street food,” Stickler said. “The goal was to present street-style food from around the world. Our most popular dish is Cajun shrimp po’guys."

According to Sean Gooch, a sophomore hospitality major who works at Street Eats, the mobile dining stand usually sets up Monday and Wednesday of every week and rotates through a wide variety of “street” food ranging from Mediterranean chicken wraps to Philly cheese sandwiches.

“I think mobile dining as a whole presents a lot of challenges,” Stickler said. “I would say a lot of the challenges that we come across are that making sure all products are available and coordinating and making sure the staff is knowledgeable.”

According to Stickler, his climb up to becoming concessions manager began his freshman year when he started working for Jamba Juice in the Student Union.

Stickler said he also worked as a receiver for the Dining Commons and as maintenance for Spartan Shops.

Jeff Pauley, senior director of Spartan Dining Services, said he first met Stickler the summer before his freshman year when he was hired to work at Jamba Juice.

“The thing that jumped out at me when I first saw Mark work was his leadership skills and work ethic,” he said. “After his first day of work, I was confident that he would be a supervisor for us someday.”

Pauley said Stickler does a splendid job of making sure mobile dining events such as Street Eats and BBQ Bash are well-stocked, staffed and open on time. "The lines move quickly and every event has food and beverage when they’re supposed to," he said.

“Mark trains us pretty well,” said Gooch. “We try to mix it up because we’re trying to get customers better food.”

Stickler said he loves to grill barbecue in his backyard and generally anywhere that is social. He said preparing and cooking food on the grill in front of people is one of his favorite activities.

When Stickler isn't busy making sure eateries remain well-stocked, he also juggles numbers as a part-time student in his senior year as a math major.

Stickler said he wants to teach math because he likes working with students.

With heavy responsibilities as a concessions manager, Stickler said it was tough balancing school work and a full load of classes, but now he receives full-time benefits and his salary covers the rent in housing provided by Spartan Shops and faculty.

“I’m a full-time employee with Spartan Shops and I typically work 40 hours a week,” Stickler said. “I make sure food quality, food cost and the employees are taking care of their jobs.”

Stickler said that overseeing mobile eateries such as BBQ Bash and Street Eats was his biggest challenge as concessions manager.

“If Mark leaves us someday, he will leave a giant hole,” Pauley said. “He is an excellent role model and any student would be lucky to have him as a teacher.”

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