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LAS VEGAS, NV - In FYI’s new series, “Late Nite Chef Fight,” elite Las Vegas based chefs leave behind their well-equipped kitchens and enter never-before-seen food trucks where they will try to outwit and out-cook their competition. Eight one-hour episodes will premiere on Saturday, November 22 at 9pm ET.

Based on the real after hour’s chef competition that takes place in Las Vegas, each episode of “Late Nite Chef Fight” has two leading Vegas-based chefs competing against each other in a food truck they have never stepped foot inside before. With a lively audience cheering them along, the chefs battle it out and go head-to-head after hours on the Las Vegas strip. Using a diverse and exotic range of unfamiliar ingredients left behind in the food trucks, the chefs will create three unique dishes in three fast paced rounds.

The winner of the first round chooses which of the two different food trucks they will work out of and winning the second round gives the chef a major advantage against their competitor. In the third and final round, the chefs must create a main course that coincides with the previous two challenges. The dishes are presented to two expert judges, with the winner taking home the ultimate Vegas bragging rights and a meal cooked by the loser.

Laila Ali, athlete and health and wellness expert, along with chef and restaurateur, Vic “Vegas” Moea, serve as hosts. Rotating guest judges are Spike Mendelsohn, Michael Chernow, Casey Lane and Chris Oh.

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NE food trucks

MASHPEE, MA - Food trucks have been popular in major cities for years, and are now becoming commonplace at events, festivals, and private functions in Mashpee and throughout Cape Cod.

To protect the public from foodborne illnesses, the Mashpee Board of Health will be considering the adoption of regulations for the licensing of mobile food vendors to be more consistent with the way brick-and-mortar restaurants are permitted.

Mashpee Health Agent Glen E. Harrington has prepared a draft of the regulations for the board to review at its November 6 meeting. Mr. Harrington said that he developed the list of 12 regulations based on experiences with mobile food vendors in Mashpee, as well as after consulting with other health agents in Barnstable County.

The proposed regulations require that operators have mechanical refrigeration for storage of potentially-hazardous foods, have hot and cold running water in three-bay and hand sinks if they are dealing with potentially hazardous foods, and written permission from the landowner where the mobile unit will operate—including confirmation from the Mashpee Zoning Board of Appeals office that mobile food vending is an allowable use in the property. The vendor must also provide the board with the source of drinking and cooking water, and specify on the application the location of sewage disposal for waste tanks.

The vendors must also have restroom facilities available within 200 feet of the mobile unit, and written permission if the restrooms are operated by another business.

In addition, only mobile units that are fully enclosed will be allowed to prepare potentially hazardous food on site at events.

Find the entire article at capenews.net <here>

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food truck brand marketing

Conventional wisdom says building a strong brand for a food truck requires creating a cool name for your mobile food business, getting the word out about your truck, and enforcing brand message consistency in all of your future customer interactions.

However, conventional wisdom is wrong. Branding doesn’t create, build or strengthen your brand. Your food truck’s brand will always be a reflection of the quality of your menu and service. There are really no exceptions to this rule.

To understand why, it’s first necessary to define what is part of a food truck’s  “brand.”  Most people think a brand consists of exterior elements: the truck’s name, it’s logo and the tag line.

To get a general understanding of a brand, think about it in the simplest terms. Take yourself as an example, are you just a combination of skin, clothes, and what you say?

Food Truck Brand Marketing

The essence of food truck brand marketing is not your truck’s exterior elements, but how your customers feel about your menu items and service.

The purpose of the brand elements is not to create those feelings, but to remind customers of them.  If their feelings about your truck are negative, those brand elements simply remind them of how much you dislike the end product being sold from your service window.

The only way to build a strong brand is to create and sell food that delights your customers. If you fail at this basic step, brand marketing is not just a waste of money, but is actively counterproductive to your food truck business since every time someone sees your truck they will be reminded how they disliked the meal or service they last received.

Ultimately, if you want to build a strong food truck brand marketing strategy, put your time and money into creating and selling the best menu items as possible.  Once you have invested in this area use additional brand marketing to help spread the word.

A question to food truck owners: How long did it take for you to find the essence of your food truck brand marketing? We’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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belgium food truck

ANTWERP, BELGIUM – One sells a cheeseburger whose patty is 100 percent cheese, another sells meatballs the size of baseballs and a third tempts palates with insects on a skewer.

Belgium takes its food seriously — and adventurously — so when the American-style food trucks rolled in, there was little doubt the result would be a bit different.

“Our crickets on a stick are our best seller,” said Bart Smit, co-owner of the food truck Microbar. “They aren’t really crickets, they’re grasshoppers, but it sounds better to say cricket on a stick.”

At a recent food truck festival in the port city of Antwerp, young entrepreneurs cooked up a multi-ethnic storm. The wafting aroma of everything from Indonesian satays to BBQ pork and stone-oven pizza drifted into the city center, drawing throngs of foodies to the Antwerp quayside.

A brick-and-mortar locale was once the only place most aspiring restaurateurs could start a business. Losses were great when it didn’t work. Recently, food trucks have radically changed the equation: With a working vehicle and a small amount of capital, it’s possible to operate a one-person eatery.

The trucks themselves come in all shapes and sizes. Thomas Serros, originally from San Francisco, has a specially outfitted bicycle he pedals to outdoor markets to sell his homemade tacos.

“I came to Belgium and worked for a bank, then I realized I couldn’t speak all the languages they required,” Serros said. “So, I had to think of something else to do.”

One constant that runs through nearly every food truck in Belgium is the quest for locally sourced, organic ingredients.

“It’s important to start with a good product,” says Gilles Leenknegt of meatball vendor Balls & Glory. “We source all of our pork from the family business, so we follow it from there and directly to the customer.”

Their enormous pork meatballs have liquid centers in a variety of flavors. One has peas and mint, another three cheeses, a third truffle mushrooms. Demand was so great during the Antwerp festival that the meatballs ran out, but customers were patient enough to wait in line for the next batch.

Normally insects are not something you want to find in a food truck. But the bugs sold by Microbar are different, the owners say — and by the look of the lines, customers agree.

“These are special grasshoppers,” says Smit. “They’re raised for human consumption and farmed locally.”

Grasshopper isn’t the only critter on the menu; there are also mealworm pancakes and eggrolls.

Martine Vander Poel makes frequent runs to Belgium from the Netherlands in her food truck called Just Say Cheese. Out of a small trailer, decorated to look like a barn, she serves a meatless cheeseburger that is coated in tempura batter, deep-fried and topped with spinach, spring onions and balsamic vinegar.

“I really just do it for the fun,” she said. “You don’t get rich here.”

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HOUSTON, TX - Pi Pizza Truck owner Anthony Calleo could scarcely believe what he was reading. Stuck in traffic on Monday night, he pulled out his phone to glance at Facebook. When he saw a Thrillist headline that made him angry: “Prepare Your Munchies for Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza.”

“I had to read it twice. I was like, ‘What?! What?!? Motherfucker.'”

Since 2011, every Pi menu has featured the pie topped with chili-cheese Fritos over housemade Grizzly barbecue sauce and a lot of cheese.

The article explains that pizza mega chain Papa John’s has a new item called the “Frito Chili Pizza” that “features a base of chili sauce, along with ground beef, Roma tomatoes, cheddar, mozzarella, onions, and a generous helping of Fritos on top.” Author Adam Lapetina ends with the following tag: “Adam Lapetina is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and can’t believe he didn’t think to put chips on top of pizza before.”

While Lapetina may not be much of a creative force when it comes to pizza toppings, any Houston pizza fan knows that Calleo did think of that exact thing. The signature item on his popular food truck is the 420 slice. Since 2011, every Pi menu has featured the pie topped with chili-cheese Fritos over housemade Grizzly barbecue sauce and a lot of cheese.

Calleo admits that he regularly reads menus to find inspiration for pizzas and knows that he can’t trademark a recipe. Still, seeing a national chain serving one of his signature items and getting credit for it as though it’s an original idea upsets him.

Find the entire article at culturemap.com <here>

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zombie food truck

The Halloween is back and there will be ghosts and goblins wandering the streets in search of treats in the coming weeks. We have compiled some ideas for your use to help spark sales and show your customers that are in the Halloween spirit with them.

Spookify your Twitter theme: Many people feel as if one profile theme is enough and never touch it after they initially activate their account. Change your theme to match the season show your followers that you and your business enjoy Halloween as much as they do.

pumpkin food truck

Find a Truck Gathering: Throughout the country, more and more cities are allowing food trucks, and in those cities, the market is accepting them with open arms. A recent trend across California is festivals centered on food trucks. Find one of these gatherings that are following a Halloween theme. Show up following some of these tips, and you and your customers will do nothing but enjoy the evening.

Special Halloween Menu Items: This may be the easiest thing for food trucks to do to get into the Halloween spirit. Take a standard menu item, tweak it to give it a Halloween flavor, or even renaming menu items can let your customers know you are part of the scene, not just there for sales.

Costumes: As long as safety is viewed as the number one issue, ask your employees to dress up for the night. Make it fun for both your employees and customers. We don’t want to find out that any of you food truckers has gotten into an accident because you left your mask on while driving or has injured themselves while preparing their food because their costume was to baggy.

Decorations: Fake spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, spooky lighting, maybe even a little dry ice in a bucket outside of the truck. If you have a lot you plan to spend the evening in, decorate it for the occasion.

Halloween Music: This is part of the decorating theme, but something that can be over looked. Go out and buy a compilation CD of Halloween sounds or songs and play them for your customers throughout the night, just make sure to keep the volume at a level where orders can be given without the need to scream.

Candy for the Kids: Always part of Halloween, many parents will be out with their children trick or treating, if the kids are rushing Mom and Dad off because the truck next door is giving away Snickers bars, you are risking a loss in sales.

Contests: Hold a best costume contest at a specific time of the night. Not only will this type of thing be fun for your customers, it will give them more reason to hang around your truck (and buy more food). The winner could receive a free item off your menu.

We would love to hear from our readers about suggestions or tips that you think would work well for food trucks. If you are out tonight and spot a truck that is in the spirit of the night, take a picture and send it to us at admin [at] mobile-cuisine [dot] com. Who knows, your shot, or your favorite truck may be part of the next feature in Mobile Cuisine.