Tags Posts tagged with "2014"

2014

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Wandering Sheppard
Congratulations to Art Sheppard!  He and his blog are the winners of the 2014 Mobile Cuisine’s Local Food Truck Blog of the Year – Wandering Sheppard!

The more you learn about Art Sheppard, the more you’re likely to read his WanderingSheppard.com.  His enthusiastic palette and sense of adventure fuel his discoveries and keep you wanting and reading for more.

Sheppard is an accountant by day that was searching for a creative outlet.  He wasn’t necessarily a writer; only that he loved to travel.  He wrote about what he loved and his experiences.

When he started the blog, he originally hoped to travel the world on someone else’s dime allowing him to write about his global adventures.  Luckily, he found a new passion to fulfill sense of adventure – food trucks.

Food trucks were relatively new to the Triangle Area of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Knowing Sheppard’s love of food, his friends prompted him to check out the local food trucks.  His first experience – a beautiful summer night at the Doughman Banquet on Rigsbee Street – seemed to change him.

Wandering SheppardAs he walked the street “I remember being attracted to this blue trailer with graffiti art all over it… Like a blue light for a mosquito,” Sheppard recalls.  It was KoKyu; known for their TaKos and duck fat tots.

With the first bite, came amazement.  “No fancy tablecloths, fine china or anything to signify a ‘high quality’ experience other that the flavor pushing my boundaries on my enjoyment of a tofu taco.”  He was instantly a food truck fan.  How could he not be?

Wandering Sheppard began in April 2012 with its first food truck post in June.  The blog was still focused on travel, but he found himself becoming more involved in the food truck community and seeking out food trucks on his travels.  “Then one day the ratio of posts flipped to travel/food trucks to food trucks/travel.”

He continued writing about food trucks because he saw an impact.  The food trucks were responsive and appreciative.  Sheppard was motivated by the stories of these small business owners that took pride in serving their passion.  He wanted to share it as much as possible.

Wandering Sheppard

In the last six months, he’s noticed many new food trucks with a more diverse cuisine enter the market: Halal, Czech, Belgian, Israeli and Colombian.  He sees the food truck business model being used as a means of testing new cuisine before opening a brick’n mortar location.

That’s still good news for Sheppard.  He’s added a section to the site that covers those once only rolling restaurants to now cover their brick’n mortar ventures in Wheels And Mortar.

When Sheppard isn’t crunching numbers by day, you may find him on his bike, in his kitchen or traveling to a new place.  He’s never far from food trucks.  He seeks them out wherever he lands, always excited to meet the owners and try their food.

Mobile Cuisine met him in San Antonio at the ROAM Conference over dinner at a local food truck park.  What a better place to meet with other food truck industry professionals!  Sheppard thought the conference brought “great value” and was another excursion and excuse to meet new truck owners and try their food.

You’ll want to keep an eye on Art and his blog, Wandering Sheppard.  His activity in the local food truck community is where he’ll concentrate his efforts, becoming the “go to” spot for both fans and owners.

We can’t wait to see how the Wandering Sheppard grows.  Mobile Cuisine congratulates Art and his award winning blog!  We are always happy to talk about other food truck enthusiasts.  Art always asks, “R U Wandering?”  Well, we hope he never stops!

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the cinnamon snail

Mobile Cuisine is always proud to provide our readers articles designed to share a multifaceted culinary lifestyle program that is spreading throughout the country and world. As many of you already know, we have designated many of our Monday features to help promote the Meatless Monday’s program which not only do we support on the website, but our staff actually has adopted in our Monday dietary lifestyle.

Today we want to follow up a recent article in which we asked our readers to submit their choice for America’s favorite vegetarian or vegan food truck or cart. The submissions have been counted and many of the trucks were too close to eliminate some, so instead of a top 10. we have a top 15.

Bombay Food Junkies – St. Louis, MO

The Cilantro Truck – Golden, CO

Cinnamon Snail – NYC/NJ

Custom Confections – Houston, TX

The Farm Concessions – Keene, NH

Good Karma Kitchen – DFW, TX

The Green Radish – New York, NY

Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ – Portland, OR

Karma Chamealeon – Toronto, Canada

Like No Udder – Providence, RI

Mama Juice – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

PAC Pastries – Jupiter, FL

The Randy Radish – Sterling, VA

The Squeeze – New York, NY

Unity Vegan Kitchen – Austin, TX

If you are a food truck that feels you should have been included, we apologize. The trucks selected for this poll were determined by our readers, and by the number of votes they received in the first phase of the contest.

THE POLL IS CLOSED

This poll will stay open for 2 weeks to make sure everyone gets a chance to vote for in the poll and the truck operators will have a chance to let their fans know to come help them collect votes. The poll will close on August 8th at 12AM CT. The results will be announced on the following Monday.

If you run into issues with submitting a vote in the poll, you can submit via email (contest@mobile-cuisine.com), however we will be making sure that only 1 vote is counted per person.

The winner of this contest will be featured on Mobile Cuisine in a feature article, to help share information about the vendor, their menu, and how they came up with the idea for serving meatless fare.

Tell your friends and family to help spread the word.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

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Food Truck BBQ

In 2008 Roy Choi introduce the mobile food industry to something it had never seen before…Korean food truck BBQ. Since then the industry has exploded with nothing but growth projected through the year 2017. Barbecue truck cuisine varies by region, with the four main US styles named after their place of origin: Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas City and Texas.

Just like Choi’s Kogi Truck, other food truck owners model their barbecue on cuisines of other countries such as Korean, Argentinian asado, or even Mongolian barbecue.

To honor this industry staple, we are starting a contest to find out which food truck or cart is serving our reader’s favorite food truck BBQ.

Like all of our other contests, this contest will open today and will be run in two stages. For the next two weeks (we will accept emails submitted by 12 PM Central Time on Friday June 20, 2014)  we will give our readers the opportunity to submit their choices via contact form below or by email at: contest@mobile-cuisine.com. Once the data has been collected and counted, we will open a poll (Monday June 23, 2014) that allows for voting for the top 10 email submissions.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the final poll, the vendor needs to have opened before June 2014 and must regularly serve bbq from their truck, cart or trailer. The vendors need to sell to their local community on a regular basis which means competition BBQ teams who own a trailer will not be considered. Vendors can be located in any country so feel free to submit choices from outside of North America.

We look forward to receiving your submissions. BBQ vendors are free to submit their own carts or trucks for consideration and voters may vote as often as you wish. The only request we have is that you submit one entry at a time and include the name of the vendor, as well as the city  or area the they operate in.

So let the voting begin. And remember, vote early and vote often.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Find all of the food truck contest winners over the years.

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food truck logo

Congratulations to Marty’s Waffles of Alexandria, Kentucky for winning our 2014 Best Food Truck Graphic Design contest!

Marty Meersman perfected his waffle recipe while, his wife, Julie Mader-Meersman created their signature look.  Later this week, we’ll learn the story of the bright red and orange truck and how Julie developed the Marty’s Waffles branding.

Stay tuned for more about their vision and inspiration.  Now go celebrate with Marty and Julie and enjoy their delicious waffles!

Rounding out our top 5 Best Food Truck Graphics for 2014 are:

2. Baron von Schwein – Lancaster, PA

3. Urban Grill – Cincinnati, OH

4. Sunflower Truck Stop – Pottstown, PA

5. Doner Men – Chicago, IL

Thank you to all of our readers who voted.

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white food truck

Over the years we have asked our readers who they feel has the best custom designed food truck or food cart design. This year has been no different. For the last couple of weeks we have asked readers to submit their choices to help us determine a Top 10, we’ll they did it. We received nearly 2,500 submissions so we are thankful we had an extra day this weekend to sort through all of the candidates.

We have found that this year’s field is a little different than other years, as it seems many of the favorites are coming from the East Coast. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts specifically where 5 of the top 10 hail.

So we are happy to announce that starting today, we are asking for your vote for your favorite food truck graphic design for 2014.

Check out your choices below and vote for your favorite:

Baron von Schwein – Lancaster, PA

Chaos Bistro – Alamogordo, NM

Doner Men – Chicago, IL

Evan’s New York Style Deli – Boston, MA

Heart Food Truck – Philadelphia, PA

Marty’s Waffles – Alexandria, KY

Mess Haul – Andover, MA

Quiero Arepas – Denver, CO

Sunflower Truck Stop – Pottstown, PA

Urban Grill – Cincinnati, OH

THIS POLL IS CLOSED!!!

PLEASE NOTE: If you have issues with submitting votes in the poll, we have found the problem can be corrected if you register as a subscriber to the site. You can also submit a vote via email to contest@mobile-cuisine.com. We have the ability to track ip addresses and will only allow one vote per IP (votes via email from IPs that have already submitted votes from the poll will be disqualified)

The winning truck of the contest will have a profile interview posted on Mobile Cuisine, and the design group that installed the artwork will be given one month of free advertising on Mobile Cuisine.

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NRA 2013
Looking in at the 2013 NRA Show.

It’s May which means the National Restaurant Association Show is in Chicago!  This is the place where you can find anything and everything you need, or didn’t even know you needed, for your restaurant, corner shop, coffee house, or FOOD TRUCK.  We’ll be walking the aisles, attending educational sessions and watching the cooking demos.

Now, if you only have a food truck, you can skip all of the flatware and furniture sections, but there’s still a lot for you to take in.  In the past, we’ve found everything from promotional clothing, i.e. a hot dog costume for your wiener truck, stylish chef clothing to spices, sauces, meats, coffees, oils, appliances, equipment, technology services, alternative fuel offerings and so much more.

If you’ve lost your cooking inspiration, the many aisles will either remind you why you only offer scratch-made food on your truck or spark something new with the taste of an unexpected chutney or hot sauce.  We suggest keeping an open mind and palette when trying everything.  Even though the big players in the food service industry dominate the show floor, there are always those independently owned start-ups that are just trying to get their name and flavor out to the masses.

Along with the tastings, you can see the many chefs grace the World Culinary Stage throughout the show.  The line-up includes chefs from the various networks and television shows, such as, Rick Bayless, Graham Elliot, David Burke, Art Smith, Ming Tsai and Anne Burrell, along with many more demos and book signings.

In addition to everything happening on the show floor, there are dozens of educational sessions throughout the four days of the show.  The topics include operations, sustainability, marketing, technology and menu development including special diets, health and nutrition.  There will be a lot to report out after the show.  There is a food truck focused session and Chris Johnston of the famed Cheesies is on the panel.

There will be plenty of information (and food) to digest, people to meet and things to learn.  Even though the show doesn’t have a designated ‘Food Truck’ section, we’ve seen how other vendors are using food trucks in their displays to promote their products and services.  We’ll keep a close eye on news, tips, trends, products and services that are key in running your food truck operations and report out in the weeks and months to come.

If you are coming in to Chicago for the show…let us know so we can meet!!!

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Renny's Oki Doki

The movie “Chef” launched last week (in LA and NYC) which is bound to attract even more food trucks to the consistently growing mobile food industry in the next couple of years. This means jobs will be created across the country, ranging from line cooks to service staff, but one of the area of job creation often missed in the discussion is the graphic designer.

Designers provide the creative flair that helps to differentiate their clients from the other trucks on the road. Over the years this has resulted in some really cool art on wheels.

We at Mobile Cuisine would like to know who our readers feel has the best custom designed food truck or food cart design. Because of this, we are starting a competition to find out who it is.

Starting today, we are asking for you to submit your favorite food truck design for 2014. In last year’s contest we had a fantastic turnout and our final winner was Renny’s Oki Doki from Tampa, FL. The designer that came up with the winning graphic design was Ruben A. Aquino.

You may submit as many times as you would like, but each submission must be submitted individually. We will accept entries until Friday, May 23rd. At that point we will narrow the field down to your top 10 selections. On Monday, May the 26th, we will open up a poll for you to determine this year’s winner. The final poll will wrap up on Friday, June the 6th. The truck with the most votes from the poll will be declared our winner.

The winning truck will have a profile interview posted on Mobile Cuisine, and the design group that installed the artwork will be given one month of free advertising on Mobile Cuisine.

  • Designs must be of a food truck or cart that has been operating since the end of April 2014 (anywhere in the world). Previous winners are able to be submitted.
  • Designs can be painted or wrapped onto any mobile food platform.
  • Feel free to submit one or more trucks or vote for a single truck more than once, however each entry must be submitted individually.

You can submit your vote on the form at the bottom of this page or email us at contest@mobile-cuisine.com

Please include the name of the truck and the city it operates in. We will contact each vehicle owner that makes it to the polling stage to submit images of their graphics, so don’t worry about attaching images of vehicles in your submission.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject
[Best Food Truck Graphic Design]

Your Message

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willy dog hot dog cart

Do you like hot dogs?  With more than 45 percent of the 5,000 votes cast in our recent poll, it’s apparent that Hamilton, Ontario loves the Willy Dog Hot Dog Cart!  We are proud to announce that they are Mobile Cuisine’s 2014 HOT DOG VENDOR OF THE YEAR.

We are happy to celebrate this great news with Jim Bontaine, the owner of the Willy Dog Cart.  He’s made McMaster University his year-round home rain or shine and the students deserve a huge shout out!  They overwhelmingly supported Bontaine and his hot dog creations.  That’s the type of news that keeps us interested in the mobile food community.  The community!

To accommodate his diverse student clientele, he’s created over 30 toppings for his dogs.  There’s something for everyone from every corner of the globe to cover your veggie, beef or halal chicken dog.

As the Spring term starts, we wonder what the future holds for this McMaster University institution.  Will we see more colorful carts around town?  Will there be over 40 toppings by Fall term?  Whatever comes next, we can’t wait!  All we know is that Bontaine and Willy Dogs will be there to serve the best hot dog dishes!  Based on Willy Dog lovers, we think a road trip is in order to try as many of those creative toppings on every dog.  We heard there would be a riot if he ran out of barbeque chips!  Hmmm…  I’ll leave my pitchfork at home and bring extra napkins with my appetite.

Rounding out our top 5 Hot Dog Vendors of the Year are: 

2. Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs – Buffalo, NY – 30%

3. American Wiener – Tampa, FL – 14%

4. Short Leash Hot Dogs – Phoenix, AZ – 4%

5. Good Dog Hot Dogs – Houston, TX – 3%

Hungry for more?

We’ll take a deeper look into Willy Dog in a feature article later this week.

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hot dog contest

Grilled, gourmet, dirty and even chili dogs being served from a food truck were the bulk of the nearly 1,500 votes cast in part 1 of our 2014 best hot dog vendor contest started 2 weeks ago. And today we are proud to announce our Top 15 and the opening up of part two.

We received votes from all over North America, but for this poll we could only select the mobile food vendors with the 15 most votes submitted. We will be running this poll for the next two weeks and will close it out on Friday, May 2nd at 12 PM (midnight) Central Time. The winning truck or cart will be profiled here at Mobile Cuisine and will hold the title of Top Mobile Hot Dog Vendor for 2014.

This years contestants are:

American Wiener – Tampa, FL
Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs – Denver, CO
Dang Good Dogs – Durham, NC
Detroit Coney Island – Kansas City, MO
Dogzilla Hot Dogs – Orange County, CA
Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs – Buffalo, NY
Good Dog Hot Dogs – Houston, TX
The Greasy Wiener – Los Angeles, CA
Haute Sausage – Chicago, IL
Japadog – Vancouver, BC
Let’s Be Frank – San Francisco, CA
Nana’s Heavenly Hot Dogs – San Diego, CA
Sassy Hot Dogs – Dallas, TX
Short Leash Hot Dogs – Phoenix, AZ
Willy Dog – Hamilton, Ontario

THE POLL IS CLOSED.

Please note, if you have issues voting with the polling software, you can submit your vote to contest@mobile-cuisine.com or in the form below. The software we use only allows one vote per individual and from time to time, the software can block users from voting based on their ip address.

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food truck tax tips

As a mobile food vendor, tax season can be one of the most challenging times of the year. Since you’re probably not an expert on the tax code, it can be stressful to file your taxes properly and take all the deductions available to you.

With the April 15 tax-filing deadline less than a month away, Mobile Cuisine has spoken with some accountants and tax specialists to find about some of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a food truck owner when filing taxes, what deductions shouldn’t be overlooked and how you can start preparing now for next year’s taxes.

Biggest Tax Mistake

Being a mobile food business owner is tough. There are so many demands on your time and so many hats you are required to wear. One of the biggest mistakes happens when the accounting work gets put on hold so that you can focus other aspects of your business. This includes keeping track of receipts or expenses.

Rather than storing them in a shoe box and having to sit down and record them all at once, which takes lots of time away from your mobile food business. You are better off automatically inputting and categorizing expenses into a single ledger (or preferably a tax software program) as soon as you can. This will prevent you from missing out on deductions you are owed.

Should You Do Your Taxes?

Most owners we speak with prefer to let a professional handle their taxes. They find that filing their own taxes used to give them headaches, and were always afraid of doing the forms incorrectly — to avoid these problems they let a tax professional take care of them.

This kind of help is invaluable to a food truck owner. It allows you to focus your energy on producing quality food for your customers rather than stressing out about your taxes.

Please note that if you do your taxes yourself, it’s always easiest to prepare and file your taxes when you have all of the information right in front of you. Keeping track of your income and expenses year round in an accounting software package is a great way to reduce your headaches at tax time.

Tax-code changes in 2014

We found that the biggest change for food truck owners this year is that those who maintain home offices can use a simplified option to calculate this deduction for 2013. In the past, truck owners who did all of their administrative work from home had to track utilities and expenses pertaining to specifically maintaining a home office, such as heating and rent, etc. For 2013, you will be able to take a standard deduction of $5 per square foot of home used for business (up to 300 square feet). This should simplify things and lessen the need to keep as many records inside your home.

Deductions often overlooked

Food truck owners often overlook the mileage deduction. It’s worth tracking car trips — other than the mileage you use to get back and forth to your commissary since you can deduct roughly 56 cents a mile for 2013 (5.5 cents to be exact).

Also encourage tracking educational expenses, such as books, training seminars or online courses. If these items help you hone your skills as a business owner or in your kitchen, they may be deductible.

Make Next Year’s Taxes An Easier Process

Keep track of your income and expenses in some form of accounting software. This will not only help you stay on top of your business day to day, but it will also make sure tax time is easy and painless.

Reflect on troublesome 2013 tax issues. Were you unsure of total income? Was it difficult to categorize expenses? Find out what made this year’s taxes tough to file and correct them.

Please be advised…these tips are just that. We do not claim to be tax experts and unless you have a firm grip on accounting, we suggest you reach out to a CPA to assist you and your mobile food business at tax time.

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