New business provides eco-friendly eats on campus

Eco-friendly food vendor On The Fly has brought a SmartKart – an electric vehicle with zero emissions – to GW, bringing fresh food and giving students a taste of running their own business.

On The Fly chose GW to start its university program, working with students to build business skills while selling inexpensive, all-natural food.

“[T]he idea behind the Kart is that, in the end, the Business School kids will run the Kart and the Marketing for it. On The Fly will manage the Kart, GWU students will work it, and Business School Students will oversee their peers,” Meghan Jackson, an On The Fly marketing associate, said in an e-mail.

Jackson said On the Fly’s SmartKart manager Walker Toma and the company’s chief executive officer, Michel Heitstuman, have lectured to students in the School of Business about the components that go into running a successful food vending cart.

On The Fly was created by three D.C. locals with the mission “to provide natural, great-tasting, locally produced foods where you live, work and play,” Todd Cavaluzzi, On The Fly’s vice president of marketing, said in an e-mail.

Menu items are $5 or less and include chicken estoffado tacos, turkey chili, salads, hotdogs, sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese. Meat and prepared foods served from the SmartKart are locally sourced.

The chicken for the tacos comes from the Alexandria, Va. company Cuisine Solutions. The company uses only locally sourced and organic chicken.

Senior Kelly Wills, a student in the GW School of Business, is the manager of the SmartKart’s operational staff. She did not go through the academic program, but started working for the company two summers ago. As a manager, Wills said she does everything from marketing, to promotions, to strategizing.

“Working for a start-up company is really eye-opening,” Wills said. “You are given a lot more responsibility.”

Overall, Wills said her experience with On The Fly has been great, describing the atmosphere as fun and laid-back.

The company’s SmartKart made a previous appearance at Fall Fest, but officially opened its pilot Kart for the university program on Sept. 28.

The company will expand to serve other university campuses in and around the District later this fall.

For the first week, business at the SmartKart was “fairly busy,” Wills said, in comparison to other On The Fly D.C. locations.

For now, On The Fly does not accept GWorld, but signs on the Kart say it will have the option soon.

“We hope to have GWorld set up for the Karts by the end of October. We’re vigorously working on getting a card machine that will accept the cards,” Jackson said.

The GW SmartKart is located at the corner of 22nd and H streets, next to the Academic Center.

It will serve customers Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For information on SmartKart locations and chances to win free food, follow On The Fly on Twitter.

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