Tags Posts tagged with "David Weber"

David Weber

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This week’s 5 on Friday we spoke with the owner of the New York City based food truck, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck.

david weber

Name: David Weber

Age: 34

Food truck name: Rickshaw Dumpling Truck

Website: Rickshawdumplings.com

Twitter: @davidwebernyc

Truck Twitter: @rickshawtruck

Location: NYC!

Year started in the mobile food industry: 2008

Mobile Cuisine: Why did you become a food truck owner, chef?

David Weber: My business partner, Kenny Lao, and I opened the Rickshaw Dumpling truck in 2008 mostly as an R&D vehicle to learn more about the Rickshaw brand and where our customers were located around NYC.  Since February 2005, when Rickshaw Dumpling Bar opened its first store in the Flatiron district in NYC, people have been writing in asking for a stores in Midtown or the Financial district or in Tribeca or the Upper West Side or in Brooklyn.  While it would take years to roll out stores for all these locations, one truck could make a circuit of all of those locations in a week!  A truck is consistent with the Rickshaw brand and mission in that dumplings were originally a street food inAsia. While branded, differentiated food trucks were still quite new in 2008, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck was an instant success. We took what we learned on the truck to develop smaller, more efficient stores.  The success of the truck in Midtown lead to the opening of a Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in Midtown East and a Rickshaw kiosk inTimes Square.

MC: Who has been the most influential person in your culinary career?

DW: As a former consultant and an MBA, I had a deep grounding in the business side of hospitality, however, I’ve learned a lot about the culinary side of running a business on the job and my colleagues at Rickshaw have influenced me and inspired me most.  Chef Anita Lo of Annisa instilled in me a deep respect for ingredients.  Our advisor Michael Bonadies of Bonadies Hospitality (and formerly President of 12c Museum Hotels and founder of Myriad Restaurant Group) drove home the close connection restaurants need to have to the local community.  Finally, my business partner, Kenny Lao, taught me the importance of keeping the dining experience fun for our guests.

MC: What do you think sets your truck apart from your competitors?

DW: The great thing about hospitality is that it is a collaborative industry.  People drawn to hospitality are generally very engaged, and giving.  I tend to think of other restaurateurs as colleagues rather than competitors.  Hospitality professionals understand that customers have different preferences and that different concepts meet those needs and desires differently.  Some days people feel like a burger for lunch and sometimes they feel like having sushi.  As an industry, I think we’re all working to meet those various interests as best we can.

Rickshaw is unique in New York Cityin that it is the only fast casual concept to focus specifically on dumplings.  We cook with high quality, all natural ingredients, and we get healthy food out fast, which is something that our busy customers appreciate.

MC: What was the toughest part of researching for your newly released book: The Food Truck Handbook?

DW: The toughest part of the research was actually opening and running a food truck.  Running a food truck is hard!  Writing the book was easy.  Having been seeped in the mobile food industry for the past four years gave me most of the material I needed to write it.  One of the more challenging aspects of the research was getting a deeper understanding of the regulations in different cities around theUS.  I had a team of three very resourceful researchers help me with that.

MC: What one suggestion would you give to someone planning to open a food new truck?

DW: Buy the Food Truck Handbook!  I worked hard to write a pragmatic book that is useful, easy to read and can honestly guide you through the process of planning, starting, and succeeding in the mobile food industry.  The book will really help you avoid a number of common pitfalls and put you on the fast track towards running a profitable and scalable business.

If I had to choose one thing to focus your time on, I’d say the most important constraint on your operations will be local regulations.  Take the time and energy to personally get to know the local regulators at your department of health and have a thorough understanding of what is permissible and what is not.  Once you thoroughly know local regulations, take the time to fully plan out the operations of your truck from start to finish.  What is the menu?  Where will things get made?  Where will you park?  You’ll want to be as prepared as possible to create a business that not only reflects you and your passion, but is sustainable, and contributes to the local community.

If you are interested in a chance to win a copy of David’s new book, check out this link to find out how.

 

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Mobile Cuisine Magazine which started in October of 2010 is dedicated to delivering our faithful readers every must-read street food, food truck, food cart and food stand story bubbling up across the Web, along with exclusive news, interviews, and amazing photos. The mobile food industry has grown so much since then, it has even sparked a number of books relating to how to get food truck business started.

To share our love of the industry, Mobile Cuisine is giving away a free copy of the NYCFTA (New York City Food Truck Association) President; David Weber’s new book The Food Truck Handbook: Start, Grow, and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business (Wiley Publishing 2012) to one of our readers.

Food truck handbook

Mobile Cuisine gives you multiple opportunities to enter this contest. Here’s how easy it is:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us who your favorite food truck is and why ( 1 entry)
  • RT the following on Twitter ( 1 entry)

RT @MobileCuisine: I entered to win a copy of David Weber’s new book in the #MobileCuisineContest http://tinyurl.com/bt2ojt8

  • Like and leave a comment on our Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Refer a friend to like us on Facebook. Once they like us, have them post a note that you referred them (1 entry per referral)

We will be drawing our winner at random from all the entries on Friday, April 27 2012. The winner will be announced in an update to this post as well as on Twitter and Facebook, so be sure to check all our channels to see if you win.

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NYC Food Truck Association President Offers the Guide to Get Started

Food truck handbook

David Weber, author of THE FOOD TRUCK HANDBOOK: Start, Grow and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business (Wiley; April 2012: ISBN: 978-1-1182-0881-6; Hardcover & E-Book) is leading the mobile food movement and supporting new entrepreneurs as they navigate the industry. A former management consultant, Weber launched his career in food when he co-founded Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, an Asian Fast Casual restaurant chain, in New York City in 2005. Rickshaw has since grown to include four food trucks, two restaurants, and kiosk in Times Square. In January 2011, Weber formed the New York City Food Trucks Association (NYCFTA) an advocacy organization that focuses on community development and negotiating fair government regulations for mobile vending within NYC.

Foodies and entrepreneurs alike are flocking to food trucks for tasty meal options and new flexible business opportunities. Consumer enthusiasm for the industry has inspired national food truck competitions and Zagat ratings, helping make food trucks a permanent (yet-mobile) fixture in contemporary city life. Due to the compelling economics and mass market appeal of food trucks, individuals and restaurants from around the country are jumping head first into the mobile food business.

Weber guides readers in a step-by-step journey through the entire process of launching a food truck business from concept development, to gaining a loyal following, to preventative maintenance on equipment. THE FOODTRUCK HANDBOOK provides a concise summary of Weber’s experience within the industry and offers practical advice and insider anecdotes to help aspiring entrepreneurs learn what it is like to own and operate a food truck. The book is organized into four sections:

Plan: This section outlines the research and planning that is required before opening a food truck and highlights critical elements such as researching local regulations, menu development, branding considerations, and fundraising options.

Start: This section discusses key decisions mobile food vendors need to make as they build a food truck business. Chapters highlight truck procurement, kitchen layout, menu design, and choosing profitable vending locations.

Succeed: This section guides food truck vendors through effective management of their growing business. Chapters discuss efficient operations, the importance of brand, and the ways in which food trucks can connect with customers. Special emphasis is given to the role of social media.

Grow: The final section explores ways to scale and grow a mobile food business, including: opening multiple trucks, expanding to brick-and-mortar restaurants, wholesaling, and franchising.

As Weber continues to advocate for NYC Food Trucks, his goal is that the movement will continue to spread nationally. THE FOOD TRUCK HANDBOOK gives curious entrepreneurs and food truck owners a valuable step-by-step guide to help them develop and hone their hospitality business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Weber (Brooklyn, NY) is the founder and President of the NYC Food Truck Association (NYCFTA), which brings together small businesses that own and operate premium food trucks in NYC focused on innovation in hospitality, high quality food, and community development. Through his work at the NYCFTA, Weber liaises with local government and communities in order to help reinvent food truck vending in a way that is beneficial to the City, food truck entrepreneurs, and New Yorkers. Weber is also a cofounder of Rickshaw Dumpling, a growing fast casual chain of two restaurants, four food trucks, and a kiosk in Times Square. Prior to his experience in hospitality, Weber was a technology and business consultant. Weber holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a BA in English Literature from Yale University.

For more information, visit http://www.nycfoodtrucks.org/

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