Meet the Penn students who opened a hip new food hall in the bathroom of 1920 Commons
Cindy Chen | Associate Photo EditorCredit: Cindy Chen
March 27, 2018 at 12:07 am
With Franklin’s Table recently opening up near 34th and Walnut, it seemed that the University of Pennsylvania was becoming something of a foodie destination. But now, there's no doubt.
Stop throwing your money at overpriced smoothies and glorified food truck falafel, because there’s already a hot new spot for you to flush your (parents’) hard-earned cash away.
You’ve probably heard of it, and if you haven’t, you probably can’t afford it. It’s called Ben’s Bathroom Bites, and it's a new food hall located in the men's bathroom on the first floor of 1920 Commons. We sat down to get to know the masterminds behind this new operation: Management and Technology junior Sam Weissberg and Wharton sophomore Andy Brockman.
We asked them which one of them first had the idea to open up this trendy new food hall. Weissberg gushed, “It was all Andy. He came up with the idea to use this unexpected, urban-chic locale, and with my M&T training, I knew exactly how to crunch the numbers to get the best deal on rent, maximize the profits and sign great contracts with the vendors!”
Brockman didn't hesitate to chime in. “Aw, thanks, bro. Yeah, it was my original idea. I mean, I knew that many people came to Commons looking for edible food, and they usually left pretty disappointed. I thought we’d tap into that market, and here we are.”
After this inspiration, they had to get the vendors to agree to set up shop in the space. Brockman discussed the initial hesitation he faced. “I mean, at first they were kind of opposed to selling food in a bathroom. They asked us tons of questions about sanitation and hygiene, blah, blah, blah, and I was totally worn out trying to convince them that this was a good idea. Luckily, I had my partner, Sam, here, and his daddy’s bank account, and they were able to convince the vendors of our guaranteed success.”
Weissberg added, “I reminded them that Penn students are lining up to eat lamb from a food truck, which is probably a mixture of dog food and horse meat, and suddenly the vendors felt really comfortable doing business with us. I just have a way with people.”
The best part about this food startup? After you get food poisoning, you can reserve your space in a stall just feet away from where you ate. Wow! What ingenuity coming from the Wharton School. This will make a great addition to the lunch rush at Penn.