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FoodTruckChat#FoodTruckChat is back and for a great reason. Food truck programming on television has really starting to take off, this weekend alone there are two programs making their premiers. Because of this we are dusting off our FoodTruckChat account to discuss these shows while they are running live.

While we cannot promise any special guests at this time, we hope to have a few of the truck owners drop in and say hello.

FoodTruckChat SATURDAY

Wingmen  premiers August 16 at 10pm/9c on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Get the low down on Wingmen

FoodTruckChat SUNDAY

The Great Food Truck Race season 5 premiers this Sunday, Aug. 17 at 9pm/8c on Food Network.

Get the low down on The Great Food Truck Race

Join us during one or both (preferably) of these great food truck shows on Twitter as we live chat @FoodTruckChat or use the hashtag FoodTruckChat to join the discussion.

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food truck success

We continually hear that starting a food truck business is one of the hardest small business can start on limited funds. Often the outcome doesn’t result in a fleet of food trucks, a chain of brick and mortar restaurants or even a company deemed successful. The failure rate that occurs in the food service industry can be attributed to many different factors, but often, it comes down to these three common problems.

3 Reasons Why You May Never See Food Truck Success

You have the wrong menu

The biggest mistake you can ever make as a vendor is to create a menu that doesn’t solve a particular need or fill a void. Once you make an assumption about what your market needs, you’ve already started down the wrong path. One of the best ways to create a concept and menu that people will actually pay for is to involve your prospective customers in the process – from the start.

Do your homework, hit the streets and talk to people about what you intend serve. Ask them if they would eat it. Once you gather enough evidence about the need for your menu, you will spend fewer resources trying to convince people to track you down once you start rolling.

Most of the great food trucks started with menus that the owners were passionate about. Start with what you want, validate and focus on making it awesome.

Related: Why Do Food Trucks Fail?

You can’t adapt or change direction

If a food truck vendor can’t give up on their original ideas when the market requires it and make necessary changes, a mobile food business could be heading for a dead end street.

Most food trucks that we’ve seen fail usually have specific immobile goals they want to achieve. Food service is a fast changing business model and demands that concepts and plans need to be consistently re-visited and altered if necessary. Roles within the truck organization, menus, leadership and goals should be open for discussion and re-evaluation when things don’t go as planned.

How flexible are your food truck’s business goals? Successful food trucks are the ones that can change direction on the fly to adjust as needed. There is nothing wrong with making tweaks and sticking to what sells.

Related: 5 More Reasons Food Trucks Fail

Your market isn’t big enough

You need an existing market that is big enough or has enough foot traffic to be successful. How big is your current market?  How do you sustain growth if you are operating in a town that isn’t growing? You could have a fantastic concept, wonderful food and the best service, but if your market isn’t growing, you will eventually struggle to sustain your business.

We hope this article sheds some light on the issues of food truck failure and shows new food truck vendors how to keep their service windows open for the long haul.

If you have any points you’d like to add to this discussion on food truck success, please feel free to add them in the comment section below, Tweet us or post them on our Facebook page.

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Milford Downtown

MILFORD, OH - Milford leaders think they owe restaurants in the city more than occasionally stopping in for a meal and leaving a healthy tip.

City Council will vote Tuesday, Sept. 2, on legislation that would regulate vendors who want to drive into Milford, sell food from trucks and exit the city with some of the profits that Milford businesses compete for while shouldering the costs of taxes, employees, building upkeep, health standards and advertising.

Pam Holbrook, assistant Milford city manager, said she is unaware of any food trucks operating in the city now except in conjunction with special events.

But, “At the beginning of the year we had several people express an interest in bringing food trucks to the city,” Holbrook said.

“The (current) zoning ordinance does not offer any specific criteria for when and how food trucks can operate, so staff wanted to be proactive in putting together some regulations.

“We don’t want to prohibit food trucks, but we do want to protect the restaurant owners who have invested in building and property in Milford,” Holbrook said.

The Sept. 2 Milford City Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the administration building at 745 Center St.

Jeff Goetz, owner of Big Poppa Slims at 233 Main St. in Milford, hopes the food-truck legislation passes.

“I appreciate our city council people looking after the people who invest so much energy and time and money in the community,” Goetz said.

“We’re investing in the city while these trucks are not.”

Find the entire article at cincinnati.com <here>

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Boulder School Food Program

BOULDER, CO - When Boulder Valley School District high school students return to classes this fall, they may find themselves looking forward to that lunch bell even more than usual.

In their continuing efforts to up the ante on re-envisioning school lunch, the district has recently acquired a new mobile food truck that will be making the circuit across all of the district’s high schools to provide even more options for the noontime meal.

On the menu: pulled pork sliders with slaw, all natural beef burgers, spicy chicken quesadillas. All locally-sourced, nutritionally balanced and tasty as hell.

The idea came to Brandy Dreibelbis, district manager for the School Food Project at BVSD, after seeing the popularity of food trucks grow in recent years. Due to “open lunch” programs, which allow students to leave campus to buy meals out in the community during their scheduled lunchtime, only about 15 percent of BVSD high school students eat lunch on campus, but Dreibelbis thought that if a food truck could go to a different high school each day, offering students healthy, locally-sourced lunch menu options in addition to those offered inside the Agriculture nutritional guidelines.

Additionally, many students (and therefore parents) end up spending more on lunch purchased off campus than the $3.50 charged for lunch in the cafeteria. The price of a meal from the new food truck, however, would remain consistent with BVSD lunch prices. Students can punch in their number for items available at the food truck, making this option available to all BVSD students with meal plans, including those receiving free and reduced lunch.

Dreibelbis, who has been with the School Food Program for the last five years, put the idea to Ann Cooper, BVSD’s Food Services Director and nationally-known “renegade lunch lady.” Together, they came up a list of local supporters that share some of the same core values around healthy eating. They began with Whole Foods, who enthusiastically supported the project in full to the lunchroom, perhaps more students would opt to Connect stay tune with of $75,000 us to buy and outfit the truck, which on campus for lunch. became fully-operational this spring. The wheels hit “It’s a little more fun than just going in and getting lunch from the cafeteria,” says Dreibelbis.

It’s drives the road the last week of school for the first few test important because the variety of food options surrounding local high schools (primarily fast food) are Keeping with their practice of cooking food not often in line with U.S. Department of from scratch using real chefs with food purchased as locally as possible, the menus began to take shape. Unlike other commercial food trucks, the new BVSD food truck had to meet the USDA’s guidelines for a “reimbursable meal.”

Find the entire article at boulderweekly.com <here>

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albany downtown

ALBANY, NY - Foodies in Albany may soon have more options for food on the go.

The city rolled out a new pilot program this week to expand locations for food trucks and food vendors in the capital.

Currently the City of Albany only allows food trucks and food vendors in three main areas in the city but starting this week, that’s about to change. Food vendors will have the chance to apply for permits to move elsewhere. 

The food trucks on Washington Avenue have been a long tradition for people on the go. Melissa Silva’s family has been running their hot dog cart for the last 42 years.

“We were actually one of the first vendors out here, and you can see it’s grown a lot since then,” said Silva.

On Thursday alone there were eight trucks and one hot dog stand. According to the vendors, that’s in part because currently the city restricts vendors to State Street, Washington Avenue and the Lincoln Park Pool, but thanks to a new program more locations are being added.

“I think that’s a great opportunity to have other spots to go to,” said Amanda Zareski with Baja Chops Food Truck.

According to the mayor’s office the program will now allow three vendors to set up shop in Washington and Lincoln Park, and five more in public right-of ways across the city. This is something Capital Region foodies like Madelon Swinton says she can get behind.

“That would be a pretty good idea, so we don’t have to walk all the way from the museum to here, just all of the street, that’d be pretty cool,” said Swinton.

Find the entire article at news10.com <here>

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The Great Food Truck Race Season 5

The Great Food Truck Race season 5 premiers this Sunday, Aug. 17 at 9|8c. Once again hosting the program is Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence. He has eight brand-new food truck teams for this season’s high-stakes culinary road trip.

Like the last two seasons, none of the teams are current food truck operators and hitting the streets as rookies. The one team that can show that they have food skills, a fresh concept, entrepreneurial spirit, and make it to the end will win their own food truck business and $50,000 in seed money.

This season the food truck competitors with take a new route across the country:

  • Santa Barbara and Venice Beach, CA
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Austin, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Mobile, AL
  • Tampa, Naples and Key West, FL

Each team’s cooking — and selling — skills will be put to the test in various challenges that will uniquely differ from city to city. On the first day, each team will be provided with a vehicle for the duration of the race, but only the grand-prize winner will get to keep their truck. These rookies will soon learn that operating a food truck is a lot harder than it looks.

The Great Food Truck Race season 5 teams are (with Twitter accounts):

Beach Cruiser (Venice, CA)
Chatty Chicken (Chattanooga)
Gourmet Graduates (Providence)
Let There Be Bacon (Cleveland)
Lone Star Chuck Wagon (Houston)
Madres Mexican Meals (Norwalk, CA)
Middle Feast (Los Angeles)
Military Moms (Fort Drum, NY)

Join us during the show on Twitter as we live chat @FoodTruckChat or use #FoodTruckChat. If you happen to miss an episode, we will be recapping each one the following week. Although we quite a bit about this season and which trucks bow out each week, we won’t be giving away any teasers.

Good luck to all of the contestants, and…START YOUR ENGINES!!!