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Food Truck

Buffalo TRUE BETHEL FOOD TRUCK

BUFFALO, NY - There are more then a dozen food trucks in Buffalo but one local church is adding a new spin all to help the hungry and homeless in our communities.

True Bethel Baptist Church and Pastor Darius Pridgen are rolling out a new project, a new food truck named the “Bread of Heaven”. “What will be different about this food truck then every other truck, as long as True Bethel owns it we will never sell food, only give away food to those in need”, said Pridgen.

Pridgen says he’s working through permits with the city and hopes to have the food truck on the road by next month. “We wanted to do something different”, said Pridgen. The project will work with the food pantry at the church but is also open to donations.

Find the original article at wkbw.com <here>

press kit

We were recently informed that more journalists and reporters prefer to use online press kits to gather research information on food trucks as opposed to the old style hard copy press kits.

Why? Because the Internet is a 24/7 operation and a busy reporter on deadline can jump online and cruise through an online press kit without having to wait for an overnight package or fax.

Many food truck owners are embracing this new form of media relations and have already created their own press kit.

Like your Web site, your online press kit should contain certain elements and be simple to navigate.

Do’s and Don’ts” for creating your own food truck online press kit:
Do’s:

Be easy to locate on your Website. This link should appear prominently in the site’s menu or on the home page. Reporters don’t have time to search for it.

Provide materials commonly used by the media. A general press kit usually contains background of the truck, FAQ, and profiles of key individuals or spokespeople.

This is what a reporter will want to see when they visit your online media room. The purpose of providing these common documents is to minimize any extra work a reporter will need to do to get what they need.

Other important items to include are high-resolution, digital photos, high-resolution digital logo graphics, and of course your press releases.

Include the media coverage you may have already received. When you or your truck has been covered by the media (preferably the favorable stuff), it will help to legitimize your business to show it off.

However, be careful about copyright issues when re-posting articles. If you or your truck has appeared in the media, use anything from audio clips, video clips, and links to the media outlets’ web site in your online media room’s “In the Press” page.

A simple email to the author or editor can work as verification for reprint permission.

Include media contact information. If the person handling your media relations is not an employee of the business, be sure that the contact info in the online media room directs reporters to the person who is.

If a reporter reaches out and their request is lost in cyberspace, chances are, they won’t come back.

Don’ts:

Combine info for both the public AND the media. Ideally, the information provided for the media should be separate from content intended for the public or consumers.

One reason is that it makes it more difficult for the media to find what it wants, and another is because it reduces your control over the info provided to the media.

Messaging is very important, and while it can sometimes vary for the public, it should always be consistent for the media – after all, your messaging is what they’re using to cover you with.

Require a reporter to make numerous requests for additional info. There are always going to be some things that you do not want to provide online on a constant basis.

This could include certain photos of you and your truck and even your logo. Feel free to say “please contact us for photos of our team and truck,” or “please contact us for a high resolution image of our logo.”

The point of your press kit is to provide the media with most of what it needs.

Be out of date. Update press kit materials as needed, and try to keep a current press release available – even if it wasn’t distributed on the wire or to reporters directly.

By keeping a timely supply of “news,” in your media room, it will be obvious to the media that it receives your attention.

Other Helpful Tips:

Use links – not e-mail attachments.  Media rooms with media libraries should allow you to upload your documents and create a URL to their location online, which you can provide to the media instead of an e-mail attachment.

When was the last time you opened an e-mail from a stranger that had an attachment?

Use a blog. Blogs are a great way to discuss your food truck or the mobile food industry and are often used by members of the media when researching for a story.

By following these tips and by putting yourself in the shoes of a journalist, you will be able to develop an online presence that is both informative and convenient.

Do this and you’ll meet the demands of the media and increase the likelihood of gaining editorial exposure for your food truck business.

Do you have a press kit for your food truck? We’d love to see them. Share the link in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

menu item naming

tip of the day

So this is the year you’re finally going to do it: lose a few pounds, increase the size of your mobile food empire, pay off your food truck loan balance, be a better boss. Whatever your goal is, right now you’re probably feeling motivated and determined to stay on course.

But the sad truth is, the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within a few weeks. To keep yours all year long (or as long as you want), follow these tips for crafting and carrying out these changes.

Focus on one resolution only. People are so gung-ho for change this time of the year that they often vow to follow through with multiple resolutions at once. Bad idea.

Committing to more than one thing is overwhelming; you only have so much willpower and energy to go around. So pick the one habit or behavior you truly want to tweak and make that your project for 2015.

Be specific. Resolutions like “I’m going to be healthier” or “I’m going to save a bunch of money” are certainly admirable, but these ambiguous objectives are nearly impossible to stick to.

On the other hand, “I’m going lose 10 pounds by Memorial Day” or “I’m going to put $100 dollars a month in my savings account” give you direction and a reasonable time frame to achieve your resolution. The more details and parameters you have, the easier it will be to reach your goal.

Make it a team effort. Telling your friends and family about your resolution offers two advantages: First, they’ll help protect you from potential setbacks…in other words, they won’t leave junk food around the house for you to eat in a weak moment. Also, because you won’t want disappoint the people rooting for you, you’ll try harder to adhere to your resolution.

Commit it to paper. Writing your goal down and keeping it in view–say, on a post-it note on your computer monitor or food truck dashboard–makes it feel official and tangible, and therefore you’ll be less likely to break it. Keep the wording short and focused; the clearer it is, the more motivating it will be.

Let yourself mess up once in a while. Changing behavior is truly hard work, so don’t allow a one-day sugar binge or couple of sneaked cigarettes leave you feeling demoralized and hopeless. If you get derailed, re-frame it as a learning experience and get right back on track.

bad interview questions

Working in the mobile food industry is much like any other restaurant industry job which means there can be a lot of turnover. Whether you are new to the industry or just need to fill a recently vacated position, you need to know what cannot be asked when you are involved in the hiring process.

Bad Interview Questions

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, as well as federal and state laws, prohibit asking certain questions of a job applicant, either on the application form or during the interview.

So what are some bad interview questions that you should you stay away from? Basically, you can’t ask about anything not directly related to the job.

13 Bad Interview Questions Or Topics To Avoid
  • Age or date of birth (if interviewing a teenager, you can ask if he or she is 16 years old)
  • Sex, race, creed, color, religion or national origin
  • Disabilities of any kind
  • Date and type of military discharge
  • Marital status
  • Maiden name (for female applicants)
  • If a person is a citizen; however, you can ask if he or she has the legal right to work in the United States

Other questions you should avoid include:

  • How many children do you have? How old are they? Who will care for them while you are at work?
  • Have you ever been treated by a psychologist or psychiatrist?
  • Have you ever been treated for drug addiction or alcoholism?
  • Have you ever been arrested? (You may ask if the person has been convicted if it is accompanied by a statement saying that a conviction will not necessarily disqualify an applicant for employment.)
  • How many days were you sick last year?
  • Have you ever filed for worker’s compensation? Have you ever been injured on the job?

We hope this list helps keep you from getting in trouble for asking bad interview questions to applicants who are interested in working for your food truck business.

RELATED: Post You Food Truck Jobs With Mobile Cuisine

Do you have any additional tips or suggestion? If so, please share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck tune up
image credit: vimeo/ Hot Shot's Secret

Food truck tune up intervals vary from one vehicle to another. Most older mobile food trucks with non-electronic ignitions should be tuned every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or every year, whichever comes first.

Newer trucks with electronic ignition and fuel injection systems are scheduled to go from 25,000 miles to as many as 100,000 miles without needing a major tune-up.

food truck tune upRefer to your the truck’s owner manual for recommended tune-up intervals, but be aware that even if it says that the vehicle doesn’t require scheduled tune-ups very often, it’s in your best interest to check periodically that your food truck is working at peak efficiency.

Since food trucks typically do a lot of stop-and-go driving to get to their set up locations and pull heavy loads, your ignition system may need to be tuned more often.

Symptoms that tell you that you need a food truck tune up of your electronic ignition system:
  • The truck stalls a lot. The spark plugs may be fouled or worn, the gap between the spark plug electrodes may need adjusting, or an electronic sensing device may need to be adjusted.If you’re having trouble pinpointing why your vehicle is stalling, you can help your automotive technician diagnose the problem by paying attention to whether the engine stalls when it’s hot or cold or when the air conditioner is on.
  • The engine is running roughly when idling or when you accelerate. Chances are the vehicle needs a tune-up.
  • The truck gets harder to start. The problem can be in the starting system (for example, a weak battery), in the fuel system (for example, a weak fuel pump), or in the ignition system, or can be due to a faulty electronic component, such as the electronic control unit (ECU).

Your food truck is the means to deliver your menu to your customers.

If it breaks down due to over use or a lack of preventative maintenance  your business will suffer until you are able to get it back on the road.

Be sure you use these tips to help determine if you should be getting it to the shop for a tune up to help keep it on the street.

Do you have any tips on how to determine if you need a food truck tune up? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck fire houston

tip of the day

Today’s tip of the day looks at how to put out fires that occur in your food truck or your commercial kitchen.

When a fire starts in these areas you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is.

Follow these instructions for putting out food truck kitchen fires:
  • If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
  • If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
  • If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
  • If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
  • Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
    • If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
    • Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
    • Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
    • Use a fire extinguisher.
  • Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
  • If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone off the truck or out of the building and call 911. Make sure your entire staff knows how to get out of these areas safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape routes at least twice a year.

Do you have any additional tips for putting out food truck kitchen fires? Leave your tip in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

awesome mobile food business

Over the years we’ve touched on topics crucial to running a successful mobile food business such as type of cuisine, parking locations, commissaries and selecting the right platform (truck, cart, trailer etc…) to serve your food from. In this article we’ll cover aspects that delve beyond those obvious concerns.

The key ingredients that matter most to creating an awesome mobile food business are your food, your staff and you. If done the right way, your food truck, food cart or trailer will thrive in the industry and stay on top.

3 factors that will create an awesome mobile food business:

Food Identity

Your food is your food truck business’ identity. You first must portray yourself in a very definable way to your customers so they can equate you as the go to spot for your cuisine.

Failure to define yourself is a huge mistake when trying to separate yourself from your competition.

For example, let’s say that there are a bunch of burger trucks in your area, which means there has to be something about your food that makes it stand out if you too will be serving burgers.

How To Make Your Food Awesome

  • Uniqueness. Get your customer’s attention with original dishes. If you plan to serve common dishes, add some flair and make them just 10 percent better, you’ll have an inspiring and stimulating menu your customers will get excited about.
  • Go local. Get some local farm fresh produce. Not only are you bringing in very fresh ingredients, you are supporting the local economy. Today’s customers do take notice of this fact.
Supreme Staffing

You need to hire people who have a passion for the mobile food industry, a sense of urgency when handling customers and a willingness to be part of your team.

The service experience is right up there with food when it comes to the top two elements to a great dining experience.

Your staff needs to work in sync because if they don’t, you could end up with reviews that minimally praise the food but ruthlessly criticize the service.

Customers want to eat great food but at the same time, they want to be treated like royalty.

How To Build An Awesome Staff

  • Processes. Create employee manuals containing your processes and procedures, and ensure they are updated regularly. This gives your staff a way to succeed as a unified team moving in the same direction. There is nothing worse than attempting to manage a bunch of individuals trying to do the same thing, each in their own way.
  • Outstanding training. Your food truck staff has to know their job. Ensure your staff gets thorough book training on procedures along with on-the-job training complete with food tasting and menu education. Basic training should also include job shadowing a veteran staff member. Don’t stop there. Expose the staff member to the other job roles within your food truck. This will allow for position flexibility in case someone can’t show up for work and leaves you hanging.
  • Solicit feedback. Always communicate with them and more importantly, don’t stop listening. Give real-time feedback and think of yourself as a coach to your team. You don’t have to portray yourself as almighty. Look beyond your ego and start putting your people first.

RELATED: Post Your Food Truck Jobs with Mobile Cuisine

Personality Plus

Food trucks don’t fail, people fail.

As the owner, you are the people. Whatever happens under your watch is on you. This could be hiring a truck manager who under-performs or not training your staff to prepare your awesome recipes consistently awesome.

Ultimately, the responsibility rests on your shoulders.

How You Can Become Awesome

  • Self-reflect regularly. The toughest thing for anyone to do is critique themselves. It is not in our nature to tell ourselves we are wrong. As a leader, it’s okay to be vulnerable and allow yourself to be exposed. That doesn’t make you weak; it actually makes you more authentic and respectable.
  • Ask for feedback. Ask your staff for honest feedback. Let it be known that honesty is the only way for you to improve as an owner. Don’t forget your staff extends further than just managers and service window staff. You should be listening to your line cooks just as anyone else. Customer feedback is also very important to the growth and development of your food truck. Let it be known that you want to know what customers think to make their experience better.
  • Keep growing. Food truck owners can always improve. What’s more, your staff has great ideas, so ask them. Your mobile food business needs to keep growing to thrive and it’s vitally important you grow with it.

Do you have any tips on how you created an awesome mobile food business? If so, leave us a comment (below), Tweet us or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

understand marketing

Making great food isn’t the only ingredient a mobile vendor must use to create a successful food truck today.

Here is a short list of why these mobile chefs should understand marketing and how it affects their food truck business.

10 Reasons You Should Understand Marketing
  1. To ingrain your food truck in the community.
  2. To promote your signature menu items.
  3. To stand out and be the consumer’s choice when they go out to eat.
  4. To create consumer-friendly menu items that sell.
  5. To understand consumer’s likes and dislikes and understand trends.
  6. To advertise your special events.
  7. To publicize yourself, your menu, and your food truck.
  8. To communicate what makes your menu and mobile food business unique.
  9. To generate interest and initiate new customer visits.
  10. To build a loyal following of customers that spread the word.

Food truck vendors absolutely need to know how to prepare a fantastic meal for their customers, but at the same time, they need to understand why marketing their mobile food business will help them stay open for the long haul.

Do you have any additional tips why it’s so important for food truck owners to understand marketing? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

menu item naming

Small businesses across the country have been taking a beating over the last few years due to the economy and even the growing mobile food industry isn’t an exception.

No matter the reasons behind some trucks closing, there are still a huge number of individuals who are looking to enter the industry.

RELATED: Find Food Trucks For Sale At Mobile Cuisine

Taking over a failed truck can be an easy way to get onto the streets of your local area. Here are four tips to follow if you are taking over an existing truck without plans on re-branding it.

tip of the day

Communicate the change in ownership to old customers

When you buy a brand that has been around for some time, show the longtime customers that you appreciate their business by giving them customer appreciation discounts.

Get to know them and establish yourself as the new owner. When people are used to brands they are not used to change. Let them know that their favorite staples will remain on the menu.

Assure them that you are going to carry on the brand just as good as it was before, if not better.

Add some new items

When comes to change you have to be very careful with established food truck brands. Keep on the old staples, but make sure that the quality of the food is upgraded to current standards.

Familiarize yourself with new taste profiles, quality control and other things that will make a difference to new and old recipes. Let older customers know about the new changes so they won’t be shocked.

Bump up the truck’s profile

Don’t be afraid to step up your game and compete with other food truck businesses in the area. Do things that have never been done at that truck before. Increase advertising and marketing.

Play on new strategies in social networking. Use Twitter, Facebook, and geo-location services like Foursquare to find new customers.

Think with the new generation in mind. It can be a hard pill to swallow to change something that has been around awhile.

Consider hiring new staff

Analyze the current staff and determine if they have what it takes to move forward with your changes. You’ll probably have to get rid some staff that don’t fit your plans.

Put them to work to see what they can do. Keep the ones that are willing to listen to change and who are loyal to your vision for the direction of your business and not the previous owner’s vision.

RELATED: Post Your Food Truck Jobs At Mobile Cuisine

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