Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
One area of the non-digital entrepreneurial ecosystem showing strong growth is the food service sector, particularly the food truck business. Currently, the food truck business generates roughly 3 billion dollars of revenue annually.  The relatively low barriers to entry and attractive returns on investment make this an appealing path for culinary entrepreneurs over the traditional brick and mortar option. A rising interest in food service businesses among entrepreneurs has led to the development of online simulations for instructional purposes, such as the New Venture Simulation: The Food Truck Challenge. Designed by Michael A. Roberto and made available online from Harvard Business Publishing for Educators, the food truck challenge provides a safe, yet fun, simulation to teach students the value of strategy and entrepreneurism.
Concurrent with the development of simulations that demonstrate entrepreneurial intent, new online survey instruments are available to gain insight into entrepreneurial mindedness. The objective of this paper is to determine if data collected from two survey instruments, specifically the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile (EMP) and Builder Profile 10 Index (BP10), predict behavior in the food truck simulation. For example, if data from a mindset profile demonstrates a high tolerance for risk taking, does a student’s actions in the simulation demonstrate a more risk tolerant profile?
For this research, 148 students majoring in math, science, or engineering completed both online survey instruments, EMP and BP10, and participated in the Food Truck Challenge simulation. The study was designed to include an equal number of first-year students and seniors, with the seniors enrolled in either an entrepreneurship course or an engineering management course. First-year students took an introductory entrepreneurship course as part of their participation in an entrepreneurship living-learning community on campus.
During the online simulation, students worked individually to achieve maximum revenue over five weeks, with the opportunity each week to pursue one of three options: (i) conduct business research and analysis, (ii) prospect a new location with a low-capacity pushcart, or (iii) commit to a single full-scale option of parking the food truck in a specific location.  Students make decisions about the three courses of action and menu item(s) to offer in hopes of finding the best menu-location combination, thereby yielding the highest sales and “winning” the simulation. The average time to complete the simulation was 27 minutes.
The results of this research are particularly relevant to faculty and administrators interested in understanding the value (predictability of behavior) gained from commercially available entrepreneurial mindset assessment instruments. It is conceivable that one-day entrepreneurial mindset instruments may correlate entrepreneurial behavior while on campus and post-graduation.
 Leadem, R. (2017). Why Food Truck Businesses Are Revving Up. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/293870  Roberto, M. A. (2016, June 9). New Venture Simulation: The Food Truck Challenge. Harvard Business Publishing for Educators. Retrieved from https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/7201-HTM-ENG
Downing, C. G., & James, T. P., & Evans, D. (2018, June), Food for Thought: Predicting Entrepreneurial Behavior Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30529
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