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tempe food trucks

TEMPE, AZ - Food trucks in Tempe may soon be facing fewer operating restrictions. A new city ordinance aims to improve the business environment for these mobile restaurants.

One of the biggest changes food truck owners could see is an increased amount of time they can do business in one place, from one hour to four.

If passed, the ordinance would amend a city code that only broadly addresses what’s known as “mobile merchants.”

“Previously it hadn’t addressed food tucks specifically at all, so the council wanted to put some things in place to speak directly to food trucks since they are so popular today,” said Nikki Ripley, a spokesperson with the city of Tempe.

This is welcome news for food truck owner Brian Webb who runs Hey Joe Filipino Street Food with his wife. He spoke to us during Wednesday’s lunch hour.

“If they let us stay longer than an hour that would be great,” said Webb.

Tempe City Councilmembers will be voting on the ordinance on Thursday.

Find the original article at kjzz.org <here>

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Earth & Stone Wood Fired Pizza

Congratulations to the Earth & Stone Wood Fired Pizza Truck from Albertville, Alabama for winning the Mobile Cuisine 2014 Pizza Food Truck of the Year!

Earth & Stone Wood Fired Pizza: Pizza Food Truck Profile

This duo has hit the Huntsville, Alabama food truck scene with a bang.  Business partners Tina Ford and Stan Stinson opened their doors, um… their wood-firing pizza oven, in May 2013.  With over a year in business, the Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza Truck is a mainstay of the Huntsville food truck scene.

Earth & Stone Wood Fired PizzaFord and Stinson, with their backgrounds in Marketing and Operations respectively, have taken to making pizzas quite well.  They couldn’t do it without the help of their “pizza guru,” Kevin Lindsey.  “Kevin can make pizzas so fast, we barely have time to finish the transaction before he has it in the oven.  It’s quite amazing to watch him slap a pizza, top it and it be so beautiful and well made,” comments Ford.

The Earth & Stone Wood Fired Pizza Truck has many delicious flavor combinations.  Their best seller is aptly called The Favorite, of course.  This pizza is made with their signature white sauce, a mozzarella/provolone blend, Italian sausage, thinly sliced red onion and topped with fresh basil.  “The combination of flavors is phenomenal,” boasts Ford.

The Favorite sounds incredible.  They have many other pizzas to tickle your taste buds, like their seasonal pizza available in the Fall.  It’s got their signature white sauce and cheese blend and it’s covered in roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese and fresh basil.  With combinations like that, we can see why they were voted the best pizza food truck!

Like many food truck operators, their favorite part about running the truck is meeting their customers.  They love greeting their customers and are always excited to watch them eat their pizzas.  One of their favorite customer stories took place at a corporate event where a self-proclaimed “pizza expert” was skeptical about getting good pizza from a mobile oven.

Earth & Stone Wood Fired PizzaNeedless to say, he’s now a regular customer that LOVES their pizza.  “I giggle every time I think about that day that changed his life forever as far as pizza is concerned,” comments Ford.  We love the idea of changing people’s perception of mobile food – one dish at a time.

In addition to the three of them, their families have been instrumental in getting the business off the ground.  From consulting and additional pizza-making hands, one person stands out.  Stan’s father. He has been the official taste tester and their biggest fan from the beginning.  That’s a pretty awesome job.

We asked if they’d served anyone famous.  “We are working on that!”  Apparently, if the chart-topping, country/pop singer and pizza lover, Taylor Swift, ever hires them for a catering job, their daughters agreed to work for free for the rest of their lives.  Someone needs to put a shout-out to the Swift camp!  As Ford jokes, “Who wouldn’t want free labor from their children for the rest of their lives?”

We wondered if there were plans for expansion or even a brink’n mortar in the future.  The answer is yes.  They’re considering both.  They don’t like turning down events.  When fresh, delicious pizza is made in front of you, we imagine the demand to be high.

We’re extremely happy for their success.  Congratulations to the Tina and Stan on their continued hard work and pizza-creating mastery!  Your customers love you and we’re excited that you won the 2014 Mobile Cuisine Pizza Food Truck of the Year!

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restaurant equipment

When outfitting their food truck kitchens most mobile food vendors have a multitude of options. Before you head out to start shopping, you’ll need to create a full list of the restaurant equipment your truck will require.

Once you have made a list of everything you think you will need to open your food truck. Run through your business plan, your food truck concept and any preliminary menus you’ve created in your head. This will help you with as complete as possible list of restaurant equipment your food truck will need.

No matter what option you choose for acquiring this equipment: lease, or buy  it new or used, here are:

3 tips for outfitting your food truck with restaurant equipment:
  1. Research your options. Besides finding local food trucks or restaurants that have recently closed, check out online restaurant retailers for deals. Look up auction houses that sell used kitchen equipment to find upcoming auctions
  2. You don’t need all the bells and whistles. Select simple pieces of restaurant equipment. If you pick up one of the high end options, they just present more opportunities for something to break. A simple gas oven may not sound as fancy as a dual convection oven with internal thermal sensors, but consider waiting until you have established your brand and have a good cash reserve to upgrade in the future.
  3. Learn how to haggle. Unlike original equipment manufacturers, dealers who sell used restaurant equipment are willing to negotiate prices just to get an item off their sales floor. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for freebies. If you end up purchasing multiple pieces of restaurant equipment from the same place,  if you ask, there’s a chance they will toss in something like a prep table if you are buying several larger pieces of equipment.

If you are looking to purchase restaurant equipment, please check out our Food Truck Supplier Directory to find someone near you.

Restaurant equipment dealers can list their business FREE in this same directory so feel free to pass this link around to friends and family who might be a great fit to help the continuing growth of the mobile food industry.

Do you have any additional tips for purchasing new or used restaurant equipment to pass along to our readers? If so, please add them to the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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2014 Food Truck Facts

We’d like to thank our friends over at NCR for providing this great infographic. Take some time to check out these 2014 food truck facts on the state of the food truck industry in graphic form.

2014 Food Truck Facts

Check out the latest news on NCR’s latet product the NCR Silver POS system <here>

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NCR Silver

DULUTH, GA– As the U.S. food truck market continues its surge in popularity and size, NCR is spotlighting this dynamic market by offering insider tips, first-hand insight and customer stories.

Along with street vending, food trucks are one of the fastest-growing segments in the hospitality industry. According to the National League of Cities, food truck revenue is expected to increase 76 percent over the next five years.

Food trucks are also one of the fastest-growing segments for NCR Silver, an advanced tablet point-of-sale (POS) system for small businesses. More than just a mobile POS, NCR Silver offers back-office technology to run an entire food truck business – from integrating customer loyalty to automating different tax rates.

“It’s a simple user interface to change,” said Travis Schamerhorn, partner of Gotta Have It, an Atlanta-based “fusion” food truck and catering business. “I can also take payments anywhere and access everything I need to run my business on the same system.”

Other food trucks tout NCR Silver’s ability to manage multiple locations as a top draw.

“My favorite part is the reporting features,” said Joe Bruno, partner and head chef at Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen, a “farm-to-street” food truck in Atlanta. “We love the ability to pull up sales based on individual events, quickly see how we did, and plan for the next one. I always know how much product to bring to repeat events. NCR Silver helps us run our business more efficiently and prevent waste.”

As NCR Silver has grown alongside the food truck market – which took off in 2008 – the POS team has gained valuable insight into running a successful mobile business:

Know your regulations

Many local governments want to see food trucks succeed. But it takes time for laws that were written decades ago for brick-and-mortar restaurants to catch up.

Adjacent cities and counties can sometimes have different rules on safety, parking and more. Fees can also vary widely.

“Be sure to know each city’s and county’s rules first,” said Justin Hotard, president of NCR Small Business. “Compliance can sometimes be so time-consuming that it may be best to dedicate one person full-time to handle licensing, permitting and other regulatory requirements during the initial few months.”

Get creative with parking

With a mobile business, location is everything. To combat parking restrictions in certain communities, many food truck vendors are generating additional income by offering catering services.

The industry also is seeing an increase in free market options, such as “pods” in San Francisco, where trucks can park in public spaces and not worry about breaking local rules.

Bottom line, know the market options in the communities you serve – some are better than others – to minimize parking hassles and maximize customer reach.

Build – and maintain – your brand

The most successful food trucks have unique brands, which include everything from the menu and logo to truck design. Given the mobile nature of food trucks, letting fans know where you’re going each day is crucial. Social media is a prime vehicle for this, as well as overall customer engagement.

Loyalty programs also help. It’s beneficial for a loyalty program to work seamlessly with the checkout process – automatically tracking rewards with each sale, so customers see what they’ve earned, and have added incentive to come back. Loyalty integration eliminates punch cards and disparate programs.

“You need several ingredients to run a successful food truck – good service, amazing food and passion,” Hotard said. “The element tying all of this together is your brand. Staying consistent with your brand and continually engaging customers increases your likelihood of long-term success.”

For more industry stats and insider views, check out “#GetRolling America: 2014 Food Truck Facts” infographic and “Rolling with Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen: A Day in the Life of a Food Truck” video.

To learn more about NCR Silver’s features, visit the website, or call 1-877-630-9711. NCR Silver provides live, 7-day support and access to Silver SidewalkSM, a customer community portal with information and opportunities to connect with other members. NCR Silver tablet POS runs in the cloud, uses consumer-friendly technology, and works on Apple® devices running the latest iOS.

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Adriano Ciotoli Food Truck Quote

“By permitting food trucks, you are not only helping create vibrancy in the city, you are helping create jobs in the hospitality industry with minimal investment, supporting entrepreneurs and providing destinations for residents and tourists to flock to.” – Adriano Ciotoli