In my experience, fraternity house food can go one of two ways. If you’re lucky, your fraternity has a competent chef who makes good food, like brinner (breakfast for dinner) or fried Fridays. I still remember the Friday morning I walked into my fraternity house’s dining room, barely able to see because I was so hungover from Harpo’s quarter draws and Big 12 seventy five cent triple wells, and saw a serving tray overflowing with deep fried Totino’s pizza rolls. I won’t lie to you, I shed tears of happiness. If you’re unlucky, however, your fraternity is being served the type of gruel typically portrayed in Oliver Twist films. Except you don’t want ‘smore, no matter how hungry you are. Instead, you just get pissed and go to Taco Bell for the fifth time that week.
Sorority houses, on the other hand, typically have excellent food. I know in part because whenever I was dating a girl I would mooch off her house’s food whenever our meals were dogshit, which, depending on the year, was often. Kappa had my favorite food, though KD always had bagels and cream cheese out at night, which was clutch.
Regardless, apparently catering and cooking for Greek houses is a pretty damn profitable business. From Bloomberg:
At campus fraternities, it’s not just kegs and eggs anymore. Bill Reeder, a former energy options trader at Bank of America (BAC), is bringing chicken satay and veal parmigiana to Greek houses at universities across the U.S. His company, Campus Cooks, employs cooks at 70 houses on 20 campuses, including Purdue, Florida State, and Texas A&M, and is looking to expand to schools in North Carolina and Virginia. The business, based in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, will log about $10 million in revenue for the year ending in June, Reeder says. He’s projecting a 30 percent increase to $13 million for the next fiscal year.
I figured most college caterers were making money, don’t get me wrong, but $13 million? Holy shit. This company isn’t just hiring anyone to cook either, which is nice, because sometimes your fraternity house cook ends up being a hobo who sleeps in your basement and steals everyone’s X Boxes over Thanksgiving break. WE TRUSTED YOU DWIGHT! Rather than employing spatula wielding vagrants, Campus Cooks lists some serious chefs among its employees, including a former George H.W. Bush White House chef, as well as people who have cooked for everyone from the Green Bay Packers to the Goo Goo Dolls. Sharing a chef with a president Bush is most certainly a TFM. Less so with the Goo Goo Dolls, but whatever.
The founder of Campus Cooks, Bill Reeder, is a fraternity man himself, so it’s safe to say he knew what he was getting into when he started the business. As an interesting bit of a trivia, Reeder was a Phi Psi at Northwestern University the same time Zach Braff was a brother there. Reeder, however, is two years older than Braff, so we can assume that Bill Reeder, founder of Campus Cooks, probably hazed Zach Braff, so there’s that.