Authors Posts by Richard Myrick

Richard Myrick

1551 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.

0 2209
fake online reviews

Fake online reviews can become a food truck owner’s worst nightmare.  Websites such as Yelp, Google Places, or even Facebook, can damage a truck’s good reputation at the click of a button.

The advancement of social media has resulted in a host of creative ways to damage a mobile food business name and the internet has become the arsenal for competitors, disgruntled and former employees.

It is thought that by the end of the year, up to 15 percent of online social media reviews could be fake, and it’s a two-way street. Some seeking positive reviews will pay to have five-star ratings while those looking to damage the reputation of another will pay for bad reviews.

Those receiving bad reviews have attempted to turn things around with paid five-star reviews, resulting in a discombobulated and completely inaccurate overview of a business. Add to that the negative reviews left by disgruntled or former employees creating more havoc and leaving a mobile food vendor to feel helpless.

How trustworthy are social media reviews to consumers?  Some reports claim that consumer trust in social media reviews is currently low.

The good news is the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on fake reviews. Companies face litigation from the FTC for forging fake reviews.

The best way a food truck owner can take to prevent fake online reviews: Pay attention!

Without the aid of social media log-in, computer algorithm and the expense of a lawsuit, food truck owners can protect themselves from fake online reviews by close monitoring of review sites and paying attention to specific patterns in writing, such as common verbiage in multiple reviews. Be on the alert for common misspelled words and pay attention to capitalization.

Those who don’t know the proper spelling of a word will carry the misspelled word throughout each post. Some positing under various identities can be spotted by repeated punctuation errors.  There are, of course, those who are obvious repeat offenders, failing to hide their transparency with verbiage changes. Multiple posts using words such as “gross” or “sick” should trigger a red flag.

If there are suspicious reviews, you can flag the review and take the initiative to contact the website and request the reviews be authenticated or removed.  At the least, protect your mobile food business by marking the suspicious review as spam.

Remember though, that these methods are only useful for legitimate fake reviews. And they’ll only be taken seriously if the review is damaging your food truck business and appears to be fake, or written by a competing business.

Just to be clear, you can’t use any of these strategies for real reviews. If you’ve been taking a digital beating for bad service or bad food, then the obvious answer is to start impress every single person who comes to your service window so that their good reviews make the bad reviews look silly and outdated.

Please Note: Don’t waste your time or money trying to sue review sites over fake online reviews. Websites such as Yelp are protected by the Communications Decency Act. Under Section 230, and aren’t liable for any defamatory content made by its users, as they are considered third- party re-publishers of the content.

Do you have any tips on how to avoid or find fake online reviews? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

0 14
fudge fun facts

The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know.

We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at fudge fun facts.

The Facts: Fudge is a type of confectionery, which is usually soft, sweet, and rich. It is made by mixing sugar, butter, and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F, and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. The product is sold in a variety of flavors, and fruits and nuts, as well as candies which are sometimes added.

  • It is believed that someone was making caramel when they “fudged” up the recipe. The result was delicious, but the name stuck even as fudge grew in popularity.
  • Another story goes, that a college lecturer in Virginia, was teaching a class in toffee making, and the temperature was not taken high enough resulting in what we now know as fudge.
  • In 1886, fudge was sold at a local Baltimore grocery store for 40 cents a pound.  This is the first known sale of fudge.
  • November 20th is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day.
  • The largest slab of fudge weighed 5,760 lb and was made by Northwest Fudge Factory in Levack, Ontario, Canada, on 23 October 2010.
Fudge Fun Facts We Missed

Please feel free to let us know if we may have missed some fudge fun facts in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Fudge.

0 591
food truck thanksgiving

In a recent report, The National Restaurant Association (NRA) shared that more than an estimated that 30 million Americans enlist the help of restaurants for their Thanksgiving feast by dining out or using takeout to serve their guests.

Just as restaurants can be used to help cater or serve their customers fresh, safe and delicious Thanksgiving meals, so can food trucks. Preparing a food truck Thanksgiving meal safely will ensure an enjoyable holiday for your customers.

Food and cooking are always a big part of holiday celebrations, so putting food safety practices in focus this time of year will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Whether cooking in your commissary or food truck kitchen, basic principles like cleaning and sanitizing, and cooking to proper temperatures should be part of everyone’s food safety knowledge base.

Here are 5 safety tips to use when preparing a Food Truck Thanksgiving meal:
  • Thaw your turkey in the fridge. While you can thaw a frozen turkey under running water or in the microwave, the best way is in the refrigerator overnight (or longer). Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
  • Store raw turkey away from ready-to-eat food. Make sure your raw turkey is covered and stored in a leak-proof container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. You want to keep it away from foods that are ready to eat, such as desserts and salads, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Clean and sanitize your sink and counters. After rinsing your raw turkey thoroughly, properly clean and sanitize the sink and surrounding area before starting to prepare any other food.
  • Cook your turkey to safe internal temperature. Use a properly calibrated meat thermometer to check that your turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Insert the thermometer to the dimple on the stem in the thickest part of the breast and thigh for accurate readings.
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Prep salads, cranberries and other colds items first and store them in the fridge until ready to serve. Then prep your hot dishes closer to serving time so they stay hot. Keep all food items outside the “temperature danger zone” (41 to 135 degrees) as much as possible.

We hope you use these food truck Thanksgiving meal tips to help prevent your customers or anyone you happen to serve safely.

Has your mobile food business served a food truck Thanksgiving menu to your customers? We’d love to hear from you and your experiences. Please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

1 1716
successful food truck owners

There is no magic formula for successful food truck owners, but most vendors who have done well seem to share the same six personality traits.

At the top of the list for successful food trucker owners is the ability to collaborate with others. Those who can delegate often build strong relationships with their staff and are more likely to click with their customers.

successful food truck owners

The other five traits frequently found in successful food truck owners:

Being self-fulfilled. The best culinary entrepreneurs put a high price on the fulfillment their food trucks provide them, relish being their own boss, and enjoy being in control of their personal income.

They value doing something for a living that they love to do being able to decide how much money they make and being able to have the satisfaction of creating something their community values.

Focused on the Future. Food truck owners who have thrived are good at both short and long-term planning. They’re as likely to have a well thought-out plan for the day-to-day running of their business as a road map for how to run the business for years.

Curious. Strong entrepreneurs are always reading and asking questions. They want to learn everything from why a particular business failed to how to find, motivate, and keep good employees.

Action oriented. Successful mobile food business owners are proactive and always differentiate themselves from their competitors. They are less worried than other small business owners about the state of the economy and more likely to look at adversity as sign to move forward.

Tech-savvy. Perhaps this isn’t a surprise but the best food truck business owners invest time and money on their website and are likely to rely a great deal on technology such as social media and point of sales systems to help make our business more effective and efficient.

Many food truck owners have some or many of these traits, however it’s the food truck owners with all of these traits that seem to have captured the most successes so far.

They are a special breed of entrepreneurs that are highly motivated, caring and curious individuals. They effectively balance their personal and business goals, take advantage of others’ expertise and continually seek to learn the best practices exhibited by their competition.

Did we miss a common trait found in most successful food truck owners? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

0 283
food truck tip of the day

tip of the dayFood portioning is a main ingredient in keeping a food truck’s food cost down and keeping the products you serve consistent.

Here are 5 simple signs to tip you off that food portioning standards might not be part of your business model or if you or your staff members aren’t following those that you’ve installed.

5 Signs That Food Portioning Standards Are Not Being Used
  1. Measuring tools aren’t being used to portion food.
  2. Standards are lacking for serving bowls, plates, and cups.
  3. Customers tell you that portions are either too large or too small.
  4. Entree portions are too large and are discouraging the sale of appetizers and side dishes.
  5. Too many items are left over or used up early in a shift.

Do you have any additional signs that you use to keep an eye on the food portioning in your food truck? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

0 212
baklava fun facts

The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at Baklava fun facts.

baklava fun factsThe Facts:  Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.

  • Baklava is the ancestor of strudel. It was brought to Hungary by Turkish invaders in the 16th century.
  • Phyllo dough is named after the greek word for “leaf”, being “as thin as a leaf”.
  • November 17th is National Baklava Day.
  • The origin of the name is disputed. Turkish etymologists claim an old Turkish origin. Others argue that the word “baklava” may come from the Mongolian root ba?la- ‘to tie, wrap up, pile up’ composed with the Turkic verbal ending ba?la-.

REGIONAL VARIATIONS:

  • In Greece, baklava is supposed to be made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ’s life.
  • In Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia, baklava is made with walnuts and sugar syrup.
  • In the Balkans, it is a popular dessert. It is also made on special occasions, especially by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr, and by Christians duringPascha and Christmas.
  • In Armenia, paklava is made with cinnamon and cloves.
  • In Israel, baklava is made of phyllo pastry sheets, nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds, sweet butter, clove, sugar, cinnamon, and the syrup combined with orange and lemon rind.
  • In Jordan, baklava is made of dough layers filled with nuts, such as pistachios, and sugar or honey syrup.
  • In Lebanon, baklava is made of filo pastry filled with nuts and steeped in Attar syrup (orange or rose water or sugar) or honey. It is usually cut into triangular or diamond shapes.

Baklava Fun Facts We Missed

Please feel free to let us know if we may have missed some in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Baklava.

0 373
Food Truck Workers' Comp

After spending some time speaking with exhibitors and guests at the 2014 ROAM Conference in San Antonio this past week, I realized that one of the big questions new and existing food truck owners have centers on workers’ compensation insurance (otherwise known as workers’ comp).

In the food truck industry, there’s no shortage of potential risks that employees face. From slipping on wet floors in the commissary or truck, to suffering cuts and burns, food truck employees could be harmed on the job while simply carrying out everyday tasks.

Because a food truck is typically required to provide a mobile serve your potential for injury is higher than a typical brick and mortar restaurant. Your employees could be involved in an automobile accident, or they could be the victims of robbery, since food trucks are known to carry cash.

Food truck vendors use their workers’ comp policy to protect their mobile food business against the high cost of on the job injuries. In this article I will try to explain the basics of workers’ compensation insurance.

Food Truck Workers’ Comp: Protecting Your Employees

In the food truck industry, time means money, and the fast pace inside a food truck means that employees are consistently at risk to be involved in accidents. Unfortunately no matter how much time or effort is placed into safety training, food truck owners need to understand that accidents happen all the time.

Workers’ comp is a protection policy for your small business that will offset some of the unavoidable risks that your food truck employees face every shift.

If one of your employees be injured while on the job, your food truck workers’ comp will protect your mobile food business by providing the necessary funds to cover the medical expenses associated with the injury and the lost wages they miss while recovering.

How Vendors Benefit from Food Truck Workers’ Comp

Worker’s Compensation Insurance benefits food truck owners and their employees by covering:

  • Legal fees for defending your mobile food business should an employee sue you for work-related injuries.
  • Medical expenses associated with your employees’ job-related injuries.
  • Wages your employee would have earned during their recovery from an on the job injury.

In cases where a lawsuit is merit-less, your food truck can be covered for the court costs and attorney fees associated with defending yourself. Without making sure you have food truck workers’ comp in place these costs and fees would likely put you out of business.

Key Details About Food Truck Workers’ Comp

Take the time to shop around for your food truck workers’ comp package for your food truck, but make sure you keep the following in mind when you make your choice.

Understand Your State’s Workers’ Comp Laws

If your food truck business has employees, your state probably requires some kind of workers’ comp coverage. Make sure you know how much coverage your state requires.

If you don’t employ full-time staff members, you might be still required by your state laws to cover part-time employee’s workers’ comp. When in doubt about your state’s laws concerning food truck workers’ comp, simply ask an insurance professional familiar with your state insurance laws.

Exclude Yourself from Workers’ Comp Coverage

As the owner of a food truck business, you may want to include yourself under your food truck workers’ comp coverage to provide some additional protection and income security in case you get sick or injured. However, if you want to save some money on your policy, some states will allow you to opt out of this coverage.

Once again, please speak with an insurance professional to understand if this is allowed in your state.

BONUS: Risk Management Tips

In addition to food truck workers’ comp insurance; you can help protect your food truck business and staff members by following these basic risk reduction tips.

  • Train your staff bi-annually on proper lifting techniques.
  • Provide your kitchen staff with proper equipment to safely handle the food they prepare, including an enclosed storage area for sharps and plenty of clean towels for heat protection.
  • Pu in place a strict dress code, especially when it comes to footwear. This will minimize the risk of slips inside your commercial kitchen and/or food truck.

If you have questions about food truck workers’ comp for your mobile food business, make sure to reach out to an insurance professional. You can find our current list of food truck insurance providers <here>

Do you have any additional tips in regards to food truck worker’s comp? If so, feel free to leave them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

0 2698
food truck sales

In a mobile food business, food truck sales are what will determine if you are able to make it through your first year of operation. Projecting your future food truck sales is a critical step in ensuring that your business is profitable.

Before you open, it is definitely worth it to have an idea of whether or not your sales will support your business needs. Pulling a number out of thin air does nothing for you, and although there is no actual formula for projecting sales for your start up  making a well-informed guess is critical to planning your first-year funds. We have put together some guidelines for estimating the amount of funds you can bring in from your mobile food truck or cart in its first year.

food truck sales

Do not base your estimations on how many people you can serve with your truck or cart at full capacity, since this may be unlikely for your first year of business.

Figure out how many customers you can serve and then plan for about 75% of that case. Pay attention to your area demographics. People may flock to a similar cuisine food truck in the area already, but may not be excited about going to yours, or vice versa. A lot depends on your concept and where or when you will be serving the public.

Determining Your Food Truck Sales

Estimate Customer Numbers

By now you will likely have a few specific areas you plan to use as regular locations, or at least a general idea. A great way to learn about how many of walk up customers you may expect is by comparing your potential business to existing mobile kitchens in the area. Visit trucks or carts of similar size and cuisine type.  Although these businesses may turn out to be your competitors, you can obtain valuable information by observing how many covers they serve during peak hours. You may even speak with the owner to learn about how many covers they see in a week.

Estimate Average Spending Per Customer

Once you have a customer count estimate, you will need to come up with a per person average based on your menu prices. Make sure you use middle-of-the-road cost values from your menu to figure this out. That means choosing moderately-priced menu items in lieu of the least pricey or costliest. After all, you cannot expect all of your guests to buy the most expensive item on your menu every time. In general, your sales are a function of how many people you serve and how much they spend.

Also, be sure to take in to consideration the difference in number of customers and per customer spending averages for different meal periods. For example, lunch periods tend to bring in lower average sales than dinner periods, unless you are able to find locations to park in central business district where there is a lot of foot traffic and hungry workers. Days of the week will also bring in different sales as well. For example, Thursday nights are usually more profitable for food trucks than Monday nights.

Generate a chart showing estimated number of customers per meal period each day, as well as the per person spending average.

Estimate Food Truck Sales for the Year

After mapping out sales projections for the week, some mobile food vendors will merely multiply their weekly sales totals by 52 weeks to get a year’s sales projection. Other owners will divide the year into seasons to reflect the business they will receive during different times of the year. This is a little more complicated because seasons vary depending on region, but it can be more accurate since some months are usually busier than others. Think about what an average week’s sales might look like, and then ask yourself what you might make in the work of a slow week and in the work of a busy week.

Consulting seasoned food truck employees or owners in your area will help you to decide what kind of traffic or sales volume to expect at different times of the year. These estimations will vary from truck to truck, depending on your menu and your locations. After even a few months of operating, you will have a much better idea of what to anticipate as far as sales go, and you can alter your estimations accordingly. You should also evaluate your operations and promotion efforts if sales are not matching the projections in your business plan.

Running a mobile food business is no small endeavor, and you are more likely to succeed when you have done the appropriate research and made some rational estimates. Figure out what you might expect as far as visitor attendance and sales per person by checking out the competition and determining what is rational for your idea, location and customer demographics. This will also help make sure you are financially prepared for the revenue your rolling bistro will bring in during the course of your hard first year.

Do you have any additional tips to help determine your food truck sales? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

0 367
food truck tip of the day

tip of the day

Today’s mobile food businesses need to recognize that customer loyalty goes a long way. Continually re-evaluate your approach to customer service.

  • Take some time and effort to provide meals based on various dietary needs or allergies. Expanding your customer base through simple changes to some of your favorite menu items can be as easy as swapping out some ingredients for others.
  • Use social media to notify your loyal customers about up-coming specials to keep them coming back.
  • Make all of your customers feel like a member of your food truck family.

These simple changes or additions to your current customer service plan can help pave the road to continued growth of your food truck business.

0 975
food truck parking tickets
Image Credit: www.nycfoodtrucks.org

Every municipality has its own parking regulations you need to know while you are operating within their city limits. Ignorance of the law is usually no defense against a food truck parking ticket, especially if the police were notified by a restaurant who felt you were parked to close to their storefront.

food truck ticket

Parking tickets in the mobile food industry have become extremely common, partially because they’re easy laws for you to break without being aware of it and also because they make a lot of money for the city. With that said they are the sort of trouble that can be easy to avoid having to pay.

Dealing With Food Truck Parking Tickets

City governments love their parking tickets, so much so that many of them get handed out even if you didn’t break a law. To avoid paying for these tickets the first thing you want to check for is a mistake.

According to parking expert Eric Feder, if anything on the parking ticket is wrong (from the date to the location to the cited violation) you have an easy way out. You can even get out of a ticket if the writing is illegible. If anything is off or wrong on your citation, contest it and you should be able to get it dismissed without much trouble.

If a mistake was made and the citation was real, you’re not necessarily out of luck. Sometimes street markings are confusing or unclear. If that’s the case, photograph your parked food truck, the area around it, and any relevant signs to show as evidence for when you’re in court. You can’t argue ignorance to the law, but if the law can’t be easily understood you can argue that.

You’re also in the clear if your parking violation was the result of an emergency. For example, if your engine overheated and you had to run to a store to get water or antifreeze to cool it off, your receipt can be used as proof to show what you were doing when the ticket was issued.

This is the case for virtually any emergency, so long as you have proof. Technically you could fake an emergency to get out of a parking ticket, but you should really try an honest approach. Most judges are pretty good at detecting lies, so think twice about trying something dishonest.

We hope this article will help a mobile vendor get out of having to pay for a food truck parking ticket they either did not break any law to receive or merely received because the street markings were confusing.

Not only can the fees for these tickets become expensive, but they can get your food truck on the radar of the local ticketing officers who may spend more of their time looking for your truck to give you additional tickets later on. Food truck parking tickets can be the bane of a vendors existence due to the fact that if they want to fight them, it requires that they take time out of the truck to fight them.

Do you have any additional tips on how to beat a food truck parking ticket? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section below, Tweet us, or share them on our Facebook page.

Give-Network-Ad 3