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oberlin downtown

OBERLIN, OH  — Oberlin residents may soon be able to add “downtown food trucks” to the list of reasons to be excited for summer.

Council members unanimously passed a second reading Monday to create an ordinance regulating food trucks in downtown Oberlin. Food trucks have been permitted in the city at special events in the past, including the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration, but there is not an ordinance that would allow and regulate food trucks on a more regular basis.

According to the proposed ordinance, a food truck owner would have to pay a $500 application fee, not park in diagonal parking spaces and only set up at times and areas decided by the city manager.

Though all Council members voted for the ordinance Monday, some were wary of the problems food trucks could cause for parking and local businesses.

“Where would a food truck zone be to handle four or five food trucks?” Council member Ron Rimbert asked at the meeting Monday. One of the few places a truck could park without violating the diagonal space rule would be around Tappan Square, something Rimbert said could mar the beauty of the area.

“I hope we would not clutter up Tappan Square with food trucks … that would be a shame,” he added.

Others, like Council member Sharon Pearson, questioned whether food trucks could hurt local businesses, especially if the truck owners are coming from outside Oberlin. Pearson suggested imposing a different application fee for out-of-town food truck owners, though her suggestion was not further discussed Monday.

Oberlin Business Partnership Director Janet Harr, who spoke Monday night, argued that food trucks set up in downtown Oberlin might actually bring business to the city. She referenced “Walnut Wednesday” — a summer event in which food truck owners set up in downtown Cleveland one day out of the week. Businesses, including restaurants, actually report higher numbers of sales when food trucks are parked nearby because some people don’t want to wait in line for the trucks, Harr said.

“So many people come for the food trucks … that they end up going to the restaurants,” Harr said, suggesting a similar “Tappan Thursday,” event for Oberlin.

Find the entire article at northcoastnow.com <here>

recipe costs

I have recently come to the conclusion that too many food truck owners do not have accurate recipes costs for their food truck menus. Recipe costs are the foundation of strategic business functions for a food truck such as menu engineering profit bench marking.

Unfortunately, food truck recipes aren’t typically written to determine accurate costs. They are generally written in standard cookbook terminology; instead they need to be viewed in manufacturing terms. Thinking about your food truck operation as a manufacturer is not common in the industry…although it should be.

Once this paradigm changes; food trucks will start to see improved profits and greater efficiency within their kitchen.

Use these two steps to determine accurate food truck recipe costs:

Step 1: Think Like A Manufacturer

The first concept is to understand what it means to treat your recipes like a manufacturer. The basic rule to follow is that anytime a product or ingredient changes form, no matter how simple it may seem, the costs involved in the change should be accounted for.

As an example, take fresh basil. When purchasing fresh basil from a local supplier, it often comes packaged with the basil is still on their stems. In order to make the basil usable, all the basil leaves need to be picked off. Although this is a very simple task, you need to account for the loss or the final weight of the leaves. If you paid $8.00 for a pound of basil and did not account for the loss of stem weight, you would have used $0.50 an ounce on our recipes…incorrectly.

Not everything has 100% yield. So in the example, we’ll say only 11 ounces were usable. This will result with a new cost of $0.73 per ounce. This is the way to accurately cost your ingredients.

Step 2: Convert Into Proper Weights And Measures

In addition to accounting for proper yields, the second piece of recipe costing is take your recipes and convert them into proper weights and measures.

For example, many recipes will call out for a tablespoon or teaspoon of an ingredient. Utilizing utensils ensures portion control and proper execution. However, for recipe costs, you need to account for the actual weights.

Just as accounting for the proper ingredient yields is important, it is just as important to account for the proper weights and measures to determine your food truck recipe costs for each ingredient as well.

Accurate recipe costs give you the ammunition to plan properly for food truck success.

With the growing level of competition in the mobile food industry, it makes absolutely no sense to make uneducated decisions. When dealing with your menu items, you need to understand the numbers to confirm that the addition or the removal of an item is the right direction to go.

While it might take some initial work and investment of time it is energy and money well spent in the long run. It will assist in improving the profitability of your food truck operation.

Do you currently look at your food truck recipe costs like a manufacturer? How long did it take to make this change? We’d love to hear your story. Feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

toms river downtown

TOMS RIVE, NJ – Carlos Serrano, the Empanada Guy, a wildly popular food truck vendor in Monmouth County criticized the Toms River Council over the township’s interpretation of a law he feels is dated and no longer should be on the books.

Serrano wanted to expand his popular latin based food cuisine to Toms River but was told he couldn’t operate in the same way he does in other towns.

That’s because of a law put on the books in 1973 which he feels is as irrelevant today as the 8-track-cassette which was also wildly popular that year.

“I wanted to apply for a permanent location for one of my food trucks in Toms River,” Serrano said.  “The ordinance is from 45 years ago.”

That ordinance requires food trucks such as ice cream trucks and “roach coaches” to relocate every thirty minutes.   Today’s modernized food trucks are not built the same as those vehicles were built in the early 1970’s.

Serrano said the ordinance was created at a time when technologies in automotive manufacturing, design and environmental standards were different than they are now.

“These trucks are state of the art, full-blown restaurants on wheels,” Serrano said. “They’re not cheap, but they’re very presentable and produce enough food to serve thousands of people.”

The antique ordinance on the books in Toms River does allow for a food truck vendor to park a truck on privately owned land, but dictates that an operator must move their truck every thirty minutes, regardless of who owns that land.

“You cannot setup a modern food truck in that period of time, we don’t work like ice cream trucks, we’re in a different time,” he said.

Find the entire article article at ocsignal.com <here>

food truck marketing

Food truck marketing has become second nature for the most successful food truck owners. For the less successful, it’s become a bit more difficult.

To help those of you struggling, we’ve compiled a list of the top four food truck marketing principles for you to use to get a better understanding and grasp of the marketing needed for your food truck business.

4 Key Principles Of Food Truck Marketing

Food Truck Marketing Has To Pay For Itself

The idea of a marketing budget for your food truck needs to be forgotten. Most food trucks define it as a percentage of their sales. [insert irritating buzzer sound] WRONG!

If you have a reliable way of investing $10 and getting back $20, how many of these ten dollar bills would you invest? (Hint: As many as you can get a hold of)

Then why would you cap your food truck’s marketing budget at an arbitrary number? The simple reason most do is that vendors typically aren’t sure if a ten dollar bill invested in your food truck marketing can reliably return $20 or any money at all.

If you happen to fall into this camp, you need to change the way you approach food truck marketing. There is always a way to measure and to know how much money each marketing campaign is generating for your mobile food business.

The World Doesn’t Need Another Food Truck

I have started hearing this in some of the large food truck communities. Usually from people looking to maintain their market share in those communities. It is up to every vendor to prove this statement wrong.

To do this, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What makes your food truck unique?
  2. Why should a customer come track down your food truck all the other options consumers have in your market?

If you can’t answer these questions unfortunately, the world can do without YOUR food truck.

Food Truckin’ Isn’t Easy

Yes the mobile food industry is a tough one to master, however it can be simple if you follow the right formula. Have you created an operations manual for your food truck? If not, why not?  If you do, how often do you and your staff refer to it?

For how long can you afford not to be IN your food truck? Is that one shift? One day? One week? How about a month?

If your food truck depends on you being there for every shift, or every catering event, you don’t have a food truck business. What you have is a food truck job.

Build Customer Relationships

You may be in love with the equipment you installed in your food truck kitchen, or with the truck itself. Or maybe you love your recipe book and the beautiful menu board your graphics designer created for you.

This is all good. However, all that has very little to do with the real value of your business.

What you need to be in love with is your customers. You also need to become compulsive about maintaining an up-to-date list with all their contact information as well as birthdays and other important dates in their lives.

Although the industry is less than a decade old, the food truck industry is always changing. One aspect in that will never change is the importance of relationship food truck marketing.

Do you have any additional tips for vendors taking control of their food truck marketing? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts. You can share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.