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OUR LATEST POSTS

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food truck mistakes

I’ve begun to meet more and more food truck owners that have transitioned from the military into food truck ownership. It seems that a career in the military is becoming a great training ground for picking up a spatula and running a food truck business. The fact is part of life in the military is that these individuals learn early that they have to deal with both private and public tongue-lashings from their superiors.

As a military veteran myself, I can tell you that this type of experience turns out to be great training for the mistakes that can be made in the operation of a mobile food business. In the military, you have to get out in front of mistakes to minimize their damage. It’s no use to hope that mistakes will disappear or someone else will take the blame. Likewise, successful food truck owners have always learned how to deal with mistakes by getting out in front of them.

The typical food truck business is not set up with the same structure as the military and the results of mistakes are not nearly as catastrophic, but the pressure to perform can be just as great. Success in the mobile food industry will eventually grow confidence but those who excel in vending can have trouble dealing with mistakes as they happen. However, the best way to deal with food truck mistakes is get out in front of them and start the process of moving past them as soon as possible.

Getting In Front Of Food Truck Mistakes

Dealing With Customers

When problems occur at the service window, a common first reaction is to hope they’re not so bad, or that they’ll go away. In fact, the only way you should deal with is to address them quickly. Problems with customers are never easier to deal with than just after they first happen. The costs for avoiding them are far worse.

  • Customers can be angered by the failure of a manager to take responsibility.
  • Online reviews can damage a truck’s reputation and keep others from visiting your food truck.
  • Mistakes that aren’t corrected are likely to happen again.

The right way to deal with a customer complaint is to make it right, apologize, empathize, and be sure you’ve made it right. Military members are taught to check their pride at the door. Food truck owners and managers should learn early to do the same thing.

Dealing With Ownership/Employees

The fact is that any vendor will appreciate an employee who owns up to a mistake right away. Everyone makes mistakes, more importantly; this industry is full of potential pitfalls. Unfortunately when owning or managing a food truck many will only get noticed when something goes wrong.

Everyone who has worked in this industry can attest that a thousand things can go awry on a given day. Mistakes are constant with food trucks that get a high volume of customers. An owner or manager who admits to errors immediately will endear themselves to employees and ownership. Those who don’t appreciate someone who admits to a mistake shows that they are unfamiliar with the inner workings of a food service business.

Creating Positive Opportunities

The best possible way to look at mistakes is that they provide you as the vendor way to make amends with a chance to impress your customers and turn the situation into a positive. The first thing you have to do is admit that a mistake has happened, and then repeatedly attempt to make it up to the customer. An overcooked menu item can be quickly followed by:

  • A properly meal
  • A free dessert
  • A free beverage
  • A five-minute friendly discussion
  • A personal correspondence the following day (phone, email, social media, etc…)
  • An invitation to come back for a free meal

In most cases, the food you serve off your truck isn’t the only place in town where a consumer can order it. But this level of service is impossible for most of them to find. Getting out in front of your customers can convert a missed opportunity into a long time loyal customer.

Do you have any other suggestions to getting out front of your food truck mistakes? Share them with us in the comment section below or Tweet us and post them on our Facebook page.

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nyc hot dog cart

NEW YORK, NY - New York City hot dog stands are a cutthroat business.

So says a Jersey City, N.J. man, who claims a rival and three of his gang burst into the victim’s Rock Street home and terrorized him, his wife and small children over a territorial beef between the Manhattan food stand vendors, The Jersey Journal Reported.

“Like I told you before, I am gonna kill you and kidnap your kids, if you keep selling or putting the cart in my areas,” one attacker yelled as they stormed the home around 2:15 p.m. Thursday, according to the newspaper.

The 36-year-old shish kabob slinger told cops two men attacked him with pocket knives, cutting his arm, while others threw the man’s wife, 32, into a mirror as she held a 1-year-old baby in her arms.

The mirror smashed to the ground during the chaos, the newspaper reported.

The woman gathered the other children, ages 3, 8, and 9 and cowered in a bedroom as the attack continued. But a family friend heard the screaming and rushed in, sending the intruders scattering, the Journal reported.

The victim said he’d filed a complaint in Manhattan against the hot dog vendor over the space used by their competing carts. The victim said he knew all four of the men and that two were even pals of his, the paper reported.

No arrests were reported and the victims declined medical attention for their minor injuries.

Find the original article at nydailynews.com <here>

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newport news food truck

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - Starting Monday, mobile food vendors in Newport News can be cited if they are not in their assigned spots.

Vendors began camping out at City Hall on July 27, five days before applications could be submitted, to try to get the spots they wanted.

All nine food-truck permits were gone by noon Aug. 1, Assistant City Manager Cindy Rohlf said. Nine push-cart permits are assigned, and at least one was still available as of Wednesday.

The council passed an ordinance last month to give vendors designated locations, ensure no one was selling food without health department permits, and prevent vendors from parking their trucks unattended all day and night.

Some vendors worry the changes will hurt their business, by making them relocate away from their clientele, which in some cases has taken them years to build.

William Lassiter, who has set up his food truck near the fountain at City Center at Oyster Point since 2003, must now move downtown, where the designated spots are, if he wants to continue his business on public property, he said.

“I feel like I am being pushed out,” said Lassiter, who recently moved his operation to Centura College’s Newport News campus on Denbigh Boulevard.

Find the entire article at dailypress.com <here>

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food truck website features

Your food truck’s website design matters. In the days before the Internet a printed menu was usually the first point of contact between a food service business and its potential customers. Today, however, a food truck is more likely to make its first impression via its website. When people hear about, read about, or drive past your truck and become curious, they will likely pay a visit to your website before ever showing up at your service window.

The following is our list of food truck website features that every mobile food business website should have in order to provide customers with the information they’re seeking.

10 Must Have Food Truck Website Features

Make It Mobile

Step number one is to make sure your food truck website can be found by everyone no matter what type of device they are using to track down your truck. Not only should your website be designed to show well on a pc or laptop, but you need to make sure the millions of smart phone users get the same experience.

Related: Top Responsive Food Truck WordPress Themes

A General Overview

A basic introduction to you and your food truck is an absolute must. Even if you think the name of your mobile food business is self-explanatory, people still seem to appreciate how you describe yourself. If you have any unique selling points (locally sourced or seasonal ingredients, vegetarian options, etc.) now is a great time to mention them.

Locations

While food trucks don’t normally have permanent locations, consumers need to know where you are, and how to get there. You don’t need to provide directions from every part of town, but an address, or intersection, and link to a direction-giving site like Google Maps is very helpful indeed. As if you didn’t know this already, you need to include a photograph your truck, so first-time visitors will recognize it easily from the street.

Hours

Basic stuff, here. If a diner is looking for the location your truck is parked a particular day, they need to know what time you’ll actually be there. Make it a priority to stick to your schedule to avoid upsetting customers who attempt to track you down to find your truck isn’t there when your website told them you would be.

Menu

The food you serve from your truck is your business. If ever there were an influential and unique selling point, it would be a mouth-watering menu. Words and images will paint a picture, here. Don’t just scan a paper menu into an annoying PDF file, either – invest in having a digital menu designed to complement your physical one.

Photos

A picture speaks a thousand words. Show what you’ve described in your menu, and make the imagery so vivid that it wants to track you down ASAP. Show off your food; show the inside of your truck, your staff, and your baby…the truck itself. The food is the star, but give prospective customers a preview of the experience they can expect.

Social Media Accounts

Another no-brainer. Food trucks can live or die with the proper social media marketing strategy. Why not make it easy for your customers to find your social media accounts so they can follow any updates you may provide along those channels.

Catering & Contact Info

If you make it easy and painless for people to book your truck for a catering event they’ll be more likely to do it. Provide an easy-to-find phone number, of course, include an email contact form.

Tesimonials

As I’ve discussed before, nothing gives a wavering customer a little nudge more than seeing that a friend or neighbor that had given a truck a glowing review online. Take your positive reviews from sites such as Yelp or social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and transfer them to your website for all to see.

Related: Embedding Twitter Testimonials on Your Food Truck Website

New Content

If you have each of the items above you are going to have a very informative website, but the last ingredient I feel food truck owners need to add to the mix is not just having a static website that only is changed with monthly calendar or menu changes. Provide your customers a reason to keep coming back. Run a blog on your site to share the news of your business and let the community get to know you better.

Related: Developing a Blog for Your Food Truck Website

Did we miss an item that you feel is important to any food truck website? If so, please share them in the content section below, Tweet us or on our Facebook page.

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SEWICKLEY PA

SEWICKLEY, PA - There will be food trucks at Friday’s final summer Night Mart after all.

But Sewickley Council President Susan Aleshire said if Night Mart organizers plan the event next year, “we don’t want just any kind of food truck.”

Council members last week rescinded a July vote to ban the popular restaurant-on-wheels concept for Night Mart events planned for July and August. Aleshire was the only council member who voted last week not to rescind the previous vote. The measure passed 8-1.

Organizer Rhonda McFarland said July’s event was disappointing because brick-and-mortar restaurants were jammed and patrons had nowhere else to go for food.

“A lot of families were very disappointed on the last Night Mart,” said McFarland, who owns Threadz Boutique and works with Sewickley Shops — a group of business owners who planned this summer’s Night Marts. “A lot of them walk in with their children and they’re not going to sit down at a restaurant, they’re not going to drink. They want a place where they can come with their children and just get a bite to eat and then walk back home. There were a lot of very disappointed residents.”

McFarland said she met with several restaurant owners — many of whom signed a petition saying they were agreeable to allowing food trucks during the event. She presented the petition to council.

Three food trucks are scheduled to be part of Friday’s final event: Oh My Grill, Fourth Street Barbeque and Food Fight.

Council banned food trucks after June’s Night Mart because organizers had not presented insurance information from food vendors, Aleshire said.

“We had decided as council and sent a letter out saying that because you did not have insurances and they were here, that was not good,” she said. “We don’t want to be held liable for that. So that’s why council said for this year, we’re not going to do that anymore.

Aleshire said she thought organizers undermined council’s previous vote “to go ahead and get the people, and that’s great that you have them and you have their insurances, but we already said not to do that.”

Find the entire article at triblive.com <here>

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New-Iberia-Main-Street

NEW IBERIA, LA - New Iberia food truck vendors will be heading to city hall next week. Vendors said they’re losing money and they have city council members to blame.

Food truck vendors Ashley Maillet and Elizabeth Shensky have been throwing out their gourmet coffee and European pastries every afternoon. Not from a lack of customers, they said, but lack of support from the city of New Iberia.

Compared with traditional restaurants that can set their own hours of operation. Food trucks in the City of New Iberia, according to an ordinance adopted last year, can only operate between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

“[The ordinance has hurt sales] tremendously. About ninety percent of sales. I’ve invested a lot of money into this business,” said Maillet.

Maillet, 24, said coffee, cups and equipment have cost her about $1,000. She began selling her gourmet coffee out of Chef Gregory’s food truck on Iberia Street last week. After three days of selling coffee and pastries before 10 a.m., she and Shensky, 19, were told to stop.

“A local business owner around here called in and he called one of the council members,” said Shensky.

It was city Councilwoman Natialie Robin, who drafted the food truck ordinance.

“I didn’t want to disrupt the regular work flow and the business people who have had businesses here forever with too many trucks being parked out here in the morning and setting up too early,” said Robin.

Councilwoman Robin said a public meeting will be held to discuss changing the ordinance and the food truck hours of operation.

The meeting will be on Sept. 2 at 5:30 p.m. on the third floor of city hall.

Find the original article with video at klfy.com <here>