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OUR LATEST POSTS

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deland fl downtown

DELAND, FL - Food-truck vendors looking to operate on private property in DeLand will have to jump through a few new hoops before they can open their serving windows to hungry customers.

An ordinance requiring trucks and the sites which host them to get permits from the city passed 4-0 — with Commissioner Vonzelle Johnson absent — on second reading at Monday’s meeting of the City Commission.

Several commissioners had previously expressed concern that food trucks parked long-term in vacant lots were acting as de facto restaurants and competing with the town’s brick-and-mortar eateries.

The ordinance requires each food truck “host site” to get an annual license from the city.

Each site would be allowed to have food trucks up to 12 times each year.

The food trucks themselves will be required to undergo an annual fire safety inspection, as well as obtain a business tax receipt if based in the city.

The new rules wouldn’t apply to food trucks operating in the city as part of a special event.

While the idea for the ordinance was first brought up last summer, protracted negotiations with private land owners who would have been affected delayed its adoption.

Find the entire article by news-journalonline.com <here>

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Rick Bayless Food Truck Quote

“A food truck is a great way for a young chef to get their food and business out there to FOCUS on the food.” – Rick Bayless

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Google Page Rank Guaranteed

The email may start off with a simple “Hi!” or perhaps, “Dear Sir or Madam.” It will then go on to promise that, “We can get your site on the 1st page of Google; for next to nothing!” Or maybe they’ll just explain just how bad your food truck’s website is in relationship to its search engine optimization.

Spotting The Junk

Fielding emails promising professional SEO services has become part of life of most website owners. In most cases it’s pretty easy to spot these sales techniques, but we’ve recently noticed that some are getting pretty sophisticated. In fact, I received one such email recently, so I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up these kinds of SEO “promises” to make sure you understand this recent change in internet marketing.

This article is for those of you that might be a little confused by these sales pitches or unsure if they might actually help your mobile food business. If you are like many of the vendors I speak with and don’t know much about SEO; what these marketers are pitching might sound pretty good, unfortunately you are exactly who they are trying to target.

Some of these messages are really obvious that you’re receiving a bulk email that actually has nothing to do with you. In other instances, the emails are actually quite clever and make it seem like someone actually did their research  and did looked at what you’re site is doing online.

For someone to understand what tactics you need to correct to make inroads in SEO rankings, they would have to do a pretty in-depth amount of research about your food truck business. Not only would they need to know about your business but they would also need to research your competitors as well as the mobile food industry as a whole. And in all honesty, how can they begin to make any claims without ever talking with you?

The Promises

How can anyone possibly “promise” anything when it comes to SEO? If someone guarantees you a spot in search rankings, they are lying. Any SEO professional worth their salt is going to promise you one thing…that they can’t promise anything.

What you have to understand is that it is nearly impossible to guarantee anything in search engine rankings. An SEO consultant can certainly do their very best and can certainly give you an indication once they’ve done their research how much work they anticipate it will take for you to move up and then let you know about different opportunities.

But if they “promise” you anything, my suggestion is to run in the opposite direction. They either don’t have a clue what they are talking about or they employ tactics that “game” search engines using unethical, “black hat”, techniques. If that is the case, then it’s this point where you should probably sprint away.

Let’s Be Realistic

Take Mobile Cuisine for example. Yes, we do use SEO tactics when developing the site and the content we produce, but it’s not one of our main business goals to get on page 1 for certain keywords. Sure, it would be awesome to show up on page 1 for “food truck” or “food trucks.” But trust us, it is virtually impossible.

We could devote every waking moment for the next month to this endeavor and probably not make much progress. Not only are we competing with other online food truck trade journals, but every single one of the thousands of food trucks in the country, the food truck associations as well as every company that supplies the food truck industry who has optimized their website for one of those keyword strings.

So we know when we get an email that promises number 1 page 1, it’s certainly a bald faced lie.

What They Actually Do?

Some emails will offer you all types of SEO services. Some may even offer to link your site to more than 1,000 for just 5 bucks.

When it comes to SEO, your strategy and the process you implement is very important. If you haven’t done proper keyword research for your food truck website, all the link building in the world will get you nowhere. If you haven’t optimized your own site, there is no point in doing things offsite. You need to build your site as the foundation and then build up from there.

Some of the tactics being touted are actually outdated and could lead to negative placement of your site on search engines. Think it sucks when your site shows up on the 3rd or 4th page? How does being de-indexed from Google entirely sound? Google is constantly on the lookout for people gaming their algorithm, and a lot of what these SEO services are offering is exactly what could lead to Google banishment.

Search engine marketing tactics constantly change. Just because something being offered is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your mobile food business.

With that said, we always try to keep our readers informed on different scams that take place. We hope this article opens your eyes and keeps you from responding to some of the hucksters on the internet.

We want to know: How do you handle SEO for your food truck website? Have you ever used any of these inexpensive SEO services? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.

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wear-many-hats

If you’re like most food truck owners, your business card has your title listed as CEO or owner, but you know that on any given day it could just as easily read executive chef, line cook, customer service, marketing manager, technology director, accountant…etc.

Food truck vendors don’t have the luxury of passing duties off to a group of department heads.  The success of your mobile food business depends on your ability to wear all of the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business spinning. At times, the crazy pace needed to operate properly can turn even the most capable person into an overwhelmed culinary entrepreneur wearing far too many hats.

It’s this point that most will begin looking at hiring staff members to help with certain jobs on the truck. Before looking to bring on help, you should sit down and objectively assess your own strengths and weakness. What areas of your business do you love? Where do you need more discipline and development?

By identifying your areas of weakness, you can see where you could best get assistance from an employee. When hiring it’s always best to try to maximize your own strengths and fill in gaps for your weaknesses, rather than just hire for what you’d consider “lower wage” work.

With that said, at some time in the future your business is going to grow beyond your own abilities. This means you need to staff up the truck. While it may seem like a dream that you will be able to delegate some jobs, growth can bring its own set of problems:

  • When you’ve been used to running your business on your own, it can be difficult to relinquish control of day-to-day details. But it’s critical to let go. Successful vendors don’t micromanage what each staff member is doing.
  • Make sure you’re giving your food truck employees the freedom to make decisions (even make mistakes and correct the mistakes themselves). In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable crew. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business.
  • Make sure your staff clearly understands the results you expect. The mark of any good food truck employee is their embracing of the goals you set for your business.
  • Staff must be personally accountable for their actions. The best staff works under general supervision and manages themselves.

Make time to work on your business (not just in your truck).

When you own a food truck, it’s all too easy to get lost in the daily grind inside your truck and put off strategic, long-term planning. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to dedicate time in your calendar each week to consider your business and market trends, think about potential opportunities and do some long-term positioning.

The majority of food truck owners will always wear and point out that they wear too many hats. Make sure these multiple hats are helping more than they are hurting your mobile food business.

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follow-your-nola-food truck

After years of fighting and preventing food trucks from operating on the streets of their own city, NOLA recruits a food truck to travel the country and invite tourists to visit the Crescent City.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) summer ad campaign offers even more reasons to travel to the ‘Crescent City’ in 2014. The additions include an event activation, more robust paid advertising, and an enhanced website that will engage the experiential traveler.

“There are endless options available today to engage visitors and prospective visitors and we intend to engage as many as possible in our quest to encourage experiencing our city,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). “By using the tools in our “Follow Your NOLA” campaign, people will experience and interact with New Orleans in a very personal way.”

A “Follow Your NOLA” food truck will premiere food, prizes, and fun at Jazz Fest, then hit the road, traveling to three cities in Texas, including Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Locals and visitors will be able to follow along on Twitter, via #followyournola on @visitNewOrleans.

Besides tasting authentic New Orleans food prepared by Chef Brian Landry, a spinning compass will award prizes with every turn, such as cultural experiences including live music and a Mardi Gras Indian; “Follow Your NOLA” gifts; and even a chance to win a trip to New Orleans. Twitter users can also enter into the sweepstakes by using the hashtag, #TasteOfNOLA on @visitNewOrleans.

“Sending our “Follow Your NOLA” food truck throughout Texas will remind our neighbors that they are just a short drive away,” continued Romig, “It is a rolling advertisement that should generate enough interest to keep New Orleans top of mind and encourage those who see it to plan their own personal trip on our website.”

Joining the food truck activation, beginning today, a paid media campaign will launch with fifteen and thirty-second spots featuring the voice of New Orleans actor John Goodman, who has a deep passion and love for New Orleans, as well as the soundtrack of Professor Longhair’s iconic song, “Big Chief.” The commercials are targeted toward key ‘fly markets’ with non-stop service to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport as well as regional ‘drive markets’ via broadcast television, national cable, and digital video.

Additionally, the campaign will be promoted via a national integrated digital media campaign on partners such as Afar, Bon Appetit, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Garden & Gun, and Pandora.

Targeted fly markets include Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Nashville, TN; Kansas City, KS; San Francisco, CA; and St. Louis. MO. Drive markets include Baton Rouge, Monroe, Lafayette, and Shreveport, LA; Columbus, MS; Houston, TX; Memphis, TN; Mobile and Montgomery, AL; and Pensacola, FL.

“The New Orleans experience is what attracts people to our city and keeps them coming back. This campaign has all of the touch points that highlight our culture and we can’t wait to see the reaction of our friends and neighbors in Texas when we bring great food, music and cultural experiences to them with the “Follow Your NOLA” food truck,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Visiting New Orleans in the summer is a great value with festivals nearly every weekend and plenty to see and do.”

The “Follow Your NOLA.com” website includes a new feature allowing lovers of New Orleans to build a personal travel experience by creating a map-based itinerary. Or users can experience the city following in the footsteps of favorite celebrities, who have posted their favorite haunts in New Orleans. Musician Irvin Mayfield, and artist Terrance Osborne signed on, as well as famous chefs Emeril Lagasse and Anthony Bourdain, and New Orleans Pelican’s basketball star Anthony Davis, among others.

The campaign is also being promoted on New Orleans’ official social media channels via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and the GoNOLA.com culture blog. Join and follow the campaign at followyournola.com, NewOrleansOnline.com, or via hashtag #followyournola and #TasteOfNOLA.

The campaign was created by digital marketing agency 360i in collaboration with NOTMC.

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charlotte food truck event

When government steps in to try to fix something that isn’t broken, they have a tendency of making things worse…in this case it looks like government wants to break the food trucks of Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, NC - Charlotte food truck vendors are protesting proposed city regulations that they say would hurt their industry, which has grown increasingly popular in recent years.

One of the possible changes they’re most concerned about is a rule that would prevent food trucks from operating within 100 feet of a restaurant, nightclub or bar – which would make uptown operations a challenge. They also would face tougher restrictions in residential areas.

Some of the rules under consideration are designed to make it easier for the vendors, including new permitting requirements.

“I don’t think they’re intentionally trying to harm food trucks by any stretch of the imagination,” said David Stuck, who co-founded The Tin Kitchen, a food truck and catering company, in 2012. “But I do think they don’t understand what it is we do.”

There are more than 60 food trucks operating in Charlotte, offering everything from cupcakes to fajitas to grilled cheese, and employing hundreds. More than a dozen consistently gather for weekly Food Truck Friday in South End.

The owners say they got involved in a citizen advisory group hoping that their input would help the city understand what food truck operators need to thrive. But a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department draft proposal wasn’t what they expected.

Planning Manager Katrina Young, who’s been leading the citizen advisory meetings, says nothing in the proposed draft is permanent and that it’s meant to open a dialogue.

Many food trucks work with local craft breweries that don’t serve food, which is mutually beneficial. That wouldn’t be allowed under the proposal, but Young said that may need to be re-evaluated.

Also at risk would be bringing food trucks to events such as birthday parties and weddings in residential areas. A number of food trucks, including Stuck’s Tin Kitchen, get nearly half their business from such events.

Operators, fearing that proposed changes could permanently alter their business models, are responding with an online petition posted to the newly formed Charlotte Food Truck Association’s website – www. charlottefoodtrucks.org.

Find the entire article at charlotteobserver.com <here>