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brand audit

Your food truck’s brand is the mental image that sticks in the minds of your customers as well as the consumers in the markets your food truck operates in. We’ve stressed this in numerous articles over the years, but for good reason.

Food truck vendors need to look at their brands as the sum of everything they and their staff does that relates back to their mobile food businesses.

Ultimately, it’s the culmination of your actions, communications and how the public perceives your menu and the experience they receive while at your food truck.

Because of the importance of branding to every food truck on the streets today, we put together a short list of five questions to ask yourself. By answering these questions, you will be conducting a quick food truck brand audit.

5 Food Truck Brand Audit Questions:
  1. A huge convention is scheduled to come to one of the cities you operate in; did other food trucks get invited to serve the attendees? Did yours?
  2. If you asked your staff members to describe your food truck in 5 words, would each description sound similar, or would each one say something completely different?
  3. Do all of your food truck’s customer touch points (web site, menu, truck wrap, and social media) use the same style of graphics, colors and typefaces?
  4. Have you reached out to a local food blogger, or local news media to have lunch from your food truck in the last 6 months?
  5. If your food truck was accused of food poisoning one or more of your customers do you have a crisis action plan in place?

If you answered no to 4 or more of these questions, you’ve got some work to do to correct these answers. Each of these questions relates directly to the branding opportunities you have control of and if handled correctly will take your food truck’s brand to the next level.

Do you have additional questions you think would work well in a food truck brand audit? We’d love to hear them. Feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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traverse city food truck fleet

TRAVERSE CITY, MI - 2014 was a banner year for Traverse City food trucks. Now, with the winter season approaching, vendors are exploring options for the long off-season – from putting trucks into storage to focusing on brick-and-mortar restaurants to serving up fare in a new indoor pop-up space planned for downtown TC.

At The Little Fleet on East Front Street, eight full-time food trucks that occupied the bar’s parking lot this summer will vacate the property by the end of this week. Owner Gary Jonas says that while his original vision was to keep the trucks open during winter months, attempts to do so last season “made it clear it wasn’t going to work.”

“By December, the trucks’ pipes were all frozen,” Jonas says. “Then, when the trucks were closed (but still in the lot), people were confused. They kept asking when they would open. So this year it’s a hard out for the trucks, and we’ll use the lot for customers coming to the bar.”

Several vendors plan to put their trucks in storage for the winter, according to Jonas, with most expected to return next spring to either The Little Fleet or other Traverse City locations. (Jonas plans to rotate the lot’s lineup on an annual basis to “keep things fresh.”)

Other area vendors say they plan to brave the cold for special occasions: Roaming Harvest’s Simon Joseph will be “sneaking around for some of the (local) winter events,” while Sombrero Verde’s Spencer Boyles says his Latin cuisine may appear “at occasional events or catering jobs” throughout the winter before he reopens full time in the spring outside InsideOut Gallery.

It’s a plan that also suits toy and t-shirt vendor Beau Warren of TNT Truck. “I’m definitely going to try and get to some events this winter,” he says. “There’s a lot less competition (during the off-season).” On quieter days, Warren has another use in mind for the vehicle: “We’re going to use it for (merchandise) storage, because there’s so much space in there,” he laughs.

Find the entire article at traverseticker.com <here>

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aurora food truck
Imag credit: Seth McConnell, Your Hub

AURORA, CO - Ami Crowe and her family sat at a bistro table on the sidewalk outside the Aurora Municipal building with sandwiches and pot stickers purchased from food trucks lined up in the parking lot. They were joined by hundreds of people.

“We were just driving by, and I saw the trucks and I recognized some of them from (around town),” Crowe, 38, said. “It’s perfect — close to our house and close to the library for (my daughter). It’s a great idea.”

Until last month, food trucks registered in Aurora were not allowed on city property or within 1,500 feet of one another. That left many mobile restaurants isolated in shopping center parking lots or constantly roaming.

The outdated policy even outlawed all dessert trucks until a new ordinance — to be tested as a pilot program — as internally suggested to city council in June.

Tod Kuntzelman, the city’s permit center manager, said revisiting the ordinance could offer more eating options to city workers and residents alike.

Likewise, Gary Sandel, Aurora development project manager, said loosening restrictions on food trucks could be an economic boost.

“It is our hope that the pilot program will serve to attract additional foot traffic to our commercial districts,” Sandal said. “(They may) provide convenient food choices for visitors to places such as the Aurora Fox Arts Center and brewery tap rooms that do not serve their own food.”

The yearlong program began in September and allows food trucks to come out of the parking lots and congregate with one another for mobile food hubs in different areas around the city. After a couple months of debate with local restaurant owners, the program was approved by council.

Discussion over the pilot program began when local restaurant owners heard that city staff proposed setbacks of 100 feet from businesses and residential property lines. Many thought that was too close to their stores, and competition would disrupt business.

Sonia Riggs, chief operating officer of the Colorado Restaurant Association addressed city council multiple times, urging for setback to be increased to 300 feet from restaurants.

Find the entire article at denverpost.com <here>

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food truck wordpress themes

Are you still struggling to get your food truck website online? Last year a group of website designers created a very helpful theme for food truck vendors to use to create a fully functional website using the WordPress as the backbone of the project.

We just found out that these developers have added some additional functionality to this theme which now allows food truck vendors to set up their own online store, inside their website.

WooCommerce (the same plugin that we use for the Mobile Cuisine Store) allows a website owner to set up a shop and sell items such as branded merchandise or even your own food products.

This theme comes with 10 standard layouts that can be customized to match your food truck’s branding. It’s also responsive, which allows you to create a website that is designed to be easily read and navigated through, no matter what type of devise the user happens to be using.

There is also a built in mapping system which allows you to pin point your truck’s current location no matter where your truck is parked, and provides prospective customers with the best route to find your truck.

List of additional features of this Food Truck WordPress Theme:
  • Create as many menus as you want
  • Quickly manage your events
  • Unlimited layout possibilities
  • Onepager and Multipage options
  • SEO optimized
  • Custom shortcodes
  • 10 custom widgets
  • Multilanguage support (WPML)
  • Unlimited sidebars
  • Retina ready
  • Font awesome icons
  • Automatic Theme Updates
  • 8 blog post formats
  • 600+ google fonts

So what are you waiting for? Get over to Themeforest today and check out the demo for this awesome food truck wordpress theme.

Have you purchased this theme for your food truck website? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this theme, and how you’ve customized it. Are you running into problems with it? We’d like to hear about your problems too. Please share your thoughts on this food truck wordpress theme in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them with us on our Facebook page.

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hillbilly food trailer

ERWIN, TN — Lewis Carsten admits business was initially a little sporadic at the eatery he and his wife, Pat, opened in Erwin a little more than four months ago.

But Carsten said the reputation of Hillbilly Butts and Brisket BBQ has spread, and he is now having difficulty keeping up with the demand for the smoked chicken, Boston butts, beef brisket and baby back ribs he prepares from the mobile food cart.

“Most days we sell out,” he said. “Here in the last month or so, we pretty much sell out every day.”

However, Carsten said he now as a bigger problem than having enough food to satiate the hunger of his expanding clientele. Last week, Carsten and his wife received a letter from the town of Erwin notifying them their mobile food unit does not comply with the town’s zoning regulations.

According to the letter from Erwin Code Enforcement Official Michael Borders, which Carsten said he received this past Thursday, the mobile foot unit is not “expressly permitted” in the town’s B-2 arterial business district.

The letter states those in violation of this zoning ordinance could face fines of not less than $2 and no more than $50 for each day the violation continues. The letter also states in any case in which a building or structure is erected, constructed, reconstructed, repaired, converted or maintained in violation of the ordinance, the “building inspector or any other appropriate authority or any adjacent neighboring property owner who would be damaged by such violation, in addition to other remedies may institute injunction, mandamus or other appropriate action in proceeding to prevent the occupancy of such building.”

In the letter, Carsten was given 30 days from its issuance to comply with the town’s zoning regulations.

Carsten said the letter came as a surprise to him, as he and his wife had done their due diligence before opening the stand. Carsten, who has been barbecuing for around 50 years, said after he and Pat decided to purchase and renovate the food cart, the Lamar community residents acquired licenses and permits from Washington County. After opting to set up shop in Erwin, the couple checked with officials in the Unicoi County Courthouse and Erwin Town Hall and were advised these permits and licenses would be honored in Unicoi County, Carsten said.

“We went to everybody,” Carsten said. “We crossed our t’s. We dotted our i’s.”

The Hillbilly Butts and Brisket BBQ food stand opened for business on June 9, locating in front of a vacant building on North Main Avenue.

Borders said Monday that the town’s zoning ordinance, which has been on the books since 1971, does not specifically state that mobile food units are permissible within the zoning district in which Hillbilly Butts and Brisket BBQ is located.

Per the town’s zoning ordinance, businesses and facilities permitted within the B-2 business district include hotels and motels, auto and mobile home sales, restaurants, offices, funeral homes, lodges and clubs, places of amusement and assembly, and public and semi-public buildings and uses.

“There’s lots of different uses that can fall under there but, unfortunately, a mobile food unit we cannot see fitting under any of these permitted uses,” Borders said.

Find the entire article at johnsoncitypress.com <here>