Tags Posts tagged with "Food Truck"

Food Truck

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Jacksonville Food trucks

JACKSONVILLE, FL - In a closely watched issue for local food truck owners and fans, drafted legislation for Jacksonville’s food truck ordinance will go before City Council committees this week.

Councilman Reggie Brown proposed new rules for food trucks back in February, including regulations for business hours and where they can operate.

Critics of these rules said they would essentially legislate food trucks out of existence.

How can the City Council and food truck owners balance concerns about health and safety, while at the same time making sure they’re not suffocating a growing business and popular cultural trend here in Northeast Florida?

Chef Chriss Brown, owner of Beaver Street Commissary, where many of the food trucks park, joined First Coast Connect guest host Karen Feagins to discuss the legislation.

Find the original article with audio at wjct.org <here>

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food truck success

We continually hear that starting a food truck business is one of the hardest small business can start on limited funds. Often the outcome doesn’t result in a fleet of food trucks, a chain of brick and mortar restaurants or even a company deemed successful. The failure rate that occurs in the food service industry can be attributed to many different factors, but often, it comes down to these three common problems.

3 Reasons Why You May Never See Food Truck Success

You have the wrong menu

The biggest mistake you can ever make as a vendor is to create a menu that doesn’t solve a particular need or fill a void. Once you make an assumption about what your market needs, you’ve already started down the wrong path. One of the best ways to create a concept and menu that people will actually pay for is to involve your prospective customers in the process – from the start.

Do your homework, hit the streets and talk to people about what you intend serve. Ask them if they would eat it. Once you gather enough evidence about the need for your menu, you will spend fewer resources trying to convince people to track you down once you start rolling.

Most of the great food trucks started with menus that the owners were passionate about. Start with what you want, validate and focus on making it awesome.

Related: Why Do Food Trucks Fail?

You can’t adapt or change direction

If a food truck vendor can’t give up on their original ideas when the market requires it and make necessary changes, a mobile food business could be heading for a dead end street.

Most food trucks that we’ve seen fail usually have specific immobile goals they want to achieve. Food service is a fast changing business model and demands that concepts and plans need to be consistently re-visited and altered if necessary. Roles within the truck organization, menus, leadership and goals should be open for discussion and re-evaluation when things don’t go as planned.

How flexible are your food truck’s business goals? Successful food trucks are the ones that can change direction on the fly to adjust as needed. There is nothing wrong with making tweaks and sticking to what sells.

Related: 5 More Reasons Food Trucks Fail

Your market isn’t big enough

You need an existing market that is big enough or has enough foot traffic to be successful. How big is your current market?  How do you sustain growth if you are operating in a town that isn’t growing? You could have a fantastic concept, wonderful food and the best service, but if your market isn’t growing, you will eventually struggle to sustain your business.

We hope this article sheds some light on the issues of food truck failure and shows new food truck vendors how to keep their service windows open for the long haul.

If you have any points you’d like to add to this discussion on food truck success, please feel free to add them in the comment section below, Tweet us or post them on our Facebook page.

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albany downtown

ALBANY, NY - Foodies in Albany may soon have more options for food on the go.

The city rolled out a new pilot program this week to expand locations for food trucks and food vendors in the capital.

Currently the City of Albany only allows food trucks and food vendors in three main areas in the city but starting this week, that’s about to change. Food vendors will have the chance to apply for permits to move elsewhere. 

The food trucks on Washington Avenue have been a long tradition for people on the go. Melissa Silva’s family has been running their hot dog cart for the last 42 years.

“We were actually one of the first vendors out here, and you can see it’s grown a lot since then,” said Silva.

On Thursday alone there were eight trucks and one hot dog stand. According to the vendors, that’s in part because currently the city restricts vendors to State Street, Washington Avenue and the Lincoln Park Pool, but thanks to a new program more locations are being added.

“I think that’s a great opportunity to have other spots to go to,” said Amanda Zareski with Baja Chops Food Truck.

According to the mayor’s office the program will now allow three vendors to set up shop in Washington and Lincoln Park, and five more in public right-of ways across the city. This is something Capital Region foodies like Madelon Swinton says she can get behind.

“That would be a pretty good idea, so we don’t have to walk all the way from the museum to here, just all of the street, that’d be pretty cool,” said Swinton.

Find the entire article at news10.com <here>

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Food Truck Blog Mistakes

We have shared numerous articles on food truck website development and more specifically how and why food truck owners should be posting in their site’s blog.

Simply posting a few short articles throughout the month about the things happening inside your mobile food business isn’t going to automatically bring you the 5-10 new customers a month your food truck needs for continued growth.There’s a bit more to this recipe than just the writing.

Have a food truck blog that isn’t gaining any traction? Feel like you’re wasting your time?

Here are some food truck blog mistakes you might be making:

Speaking to the wrong audience

Look over your content. Do you use a lot of culinary jargon that may confuse your non-foodie knowledgeable customers?

Your food truck customer is your target audience, not your culinary peers, so if this is you, simply try putting those ideas into words that someone who has never tuned into Food Network or taken a culinary class would understand.

Poor speeling

Are you taking enough time proofreading the first drafts of your posts? Are you showing personality in your writing? Just because you’re writing a blog post doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice the kind of quality control you practice in your kitchen.

Boring your readers

Spice up your posts with images, videos, or audio clips. Think about the other food truck websites you and your audience visits, what kind of content do they create? What is engaging to them?

No clear goals

Your food truck blog should reflect you and your mobile food business. What do you hope stand for? Where did you come from and where are you going?

The passion you have for the mobile food industry and your local community is the best way to show your readers who you are. They will sense your energy and be brought back by it.

Focusing on the numbers too much

As I well know, it can be very easy to get obsessed with blogging statistics: how many daily readers we get, the bounce rate, the likes, the comments.  Sometimes it’s best to focus on the actual people we are connecting with, whether it’s five or 5000.  Your food truck blog must be about building your community, interacting online and creating relationships with your current and future customers.

Focus on interacting with your readers, responding to their comments and constantly asking for their feedback and your community will begin growing before you know it and your stats will benefit at the same time.

Poor website and post design

In order for all of the previous tips to work, you have to integrate them with a good looking and functional design.

Check out what other food truck blogs you read and enjoy are doing; find out what kinds of blogs your target audience is reading and what those look like.

Look at your blog and evaluate what changes you can make to make it more appealing to your customers. Most importantly, strive to have a design that is professional, easy to navigate, and easy on the eyes.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any suggestions to get past the food truck blog mistakes, please feel free to share it in the comment section below or Tweet us or post a comment on our Facebook page.

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oklahoma sooner food truck

NORMAN, OK - Oklahoma has found a creative way to make sure it complies with the new NCAA rule that allows athletes to receive unlimited snacks: a food truck. Athletes

Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione told ESPN.com that the vehicle the school is in the process of purchasing will serve as a solution to make sure athletes can get what they want when they want it.

“We don’t have facilities in all the places they would need to be, so the idea is to have a mobile fueling station and perhaps some additional trailers that have refrigeration capabilities that can operate as a prep kitchen of sorts,” Castiglione said.

Castiglione stresses that the truck is “not about largesse or excessiveness” and more about “putting ingenuity to work,” but does say that he fears the new rule will create an unnecessary competition of sorts.

“I realize the idea was to give institutions the flexibility to do what they want within their means,” Castiglione said. “But it’s now so flexible that schools can provide full meals to athletes at any time, and there will be some schools that will undoubtedly push that envelope. The next thing people will be doing is a comparative analysis for recruiting as to what schools offer more.”

Castiglione said the food truck and perhaps trailers will not be on demand. They will set up in places that ideally can service the most athletes at a given time.

In April, the NCAA legislative council approved unlimited meals and snacks to athletes, a far cry from the former legislation that prohibited schools from giving its athletes extras like cream cheese for their bagels.

While Castiglione said he appreciates the NCAA’s willingness to change, it has come at a great financial cost to schools. Oklahoma, he said, will spend about $1 million to provide a wider selection of food offerings beyond the typical granola bars and Gatorade that had been standard and to staff the areas where the more extensive selection is housed.

Costs also rise because walk-ons were not previously eligible for meals but are eligible for snacks.

Find the original article at espn.com <here>

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parallel parking a food truck

Parallel parking a food truck is often one of the most difficult driving skills for new food truck owners to master. It takes time, patience, and confidence. Unfortunately, when driving a food truck in a busy city like Los Angeles, Washington DC or Chicago, parallel parking may be your only option when trying to set up for your next shift, especially when it requires parking in a busy downtown area.

 What is parallel parking?

Simply put, parallel parking is whenever you park your food truck at a curbside location, between two other vehicles or objects. You will be backing your truck into a space parallel, or beside your truck, rather than pulling forward, or backing straight into a parking space in a garage or lot. You will also be using an imaginary or real vehicle ahead of the spot you plan to enter, and parallel to your vehicle, to help guide you into the parking spot.

How to Parallel Park A Food Truck

  • Before you even slow down your truck, the first step to take is to check your mirrors to make sure traffic behind you is a safe distance away. Once you are sure of this, and you’re sure the parking space you’re eying up will fit your vehicle, turn on your signal and then slow down.
  • Stop beside the vehicle parked in front of the spot you plan to enter, leaving roughly 2 to 3 feet separating your vehicle from the one parallel to you.
  • Once you are stopped and in place, check your mirrors again to make sure traffic is still stopped. Now, begin backing up slowly, turning your wheel sharply toward the curb.
  • Once your vehicle is about halfway into the space, turn your wheel back the opposite direction to align your vehicle with the curb. If you hit the curb at any time, simply put your truck back in forward gear, check your mirrors for traffic, and follow the path back out of the space. You will need to begin turning your wheel earlier to align your truck with the sidewalk and avoid hitting the curb.
  • Once you’re in the parking space, pull your vehicle forward or back to assure you are lined up with the vehicles in front and behind. You’ll also want to check to make sure your vehicle is sitting 6 to 8 inches away and parallel to the curb.
  • Place your food truck in park. If your truck has a manual transmission car rental, apply the parking brake.

Now it’s time to get in the kitchen and get it ready to open your service window for a great day of sales.

4 Tips For Parallel Parking A Food Truck

Practice, Practice, Practice. Before you ever attempt parallel parking a food truck on a busy city street, take a day (or week if needed) to get to know your truck. Get familiar with the width or length of the vehicle. Walk around the vehicle so that you can begin to process the dimensions of your truck.

Find a large open area (school parking lots are great) where you can set up a driving course with cones to represent the cars or trucks on a street. Lay out the different situations you might run into. Bring a spotter with you to help explain what is going right and wrong and begin the process of getting muscle memory for this process.

Never pull your food truck forward into a space. Driving forward into a space between two vehicles may seem like the simple answer, but it isn’t. Often when parallel parking a food truck, it is on a busy street with traffic. When you pull in forward, you will likely leave the rear portion of your vehicle sticking out into the street. As well, when you reverse your vehicle to adjust it into the space, you will likely have less maneuverability due to the angle of your vehicle and rear wheels.

Take a deep breath and relax. Even though traffic might be waiting behind you, it’s always important to take your time. Moving slowly into the space will protect your vehicle, allow you to check your mirrors, and will make adjustments easier. Parallel parking is a part of operating a food truck in an urban area, and most drivers expect small delays for vehicles parking.

Use a spotter. I have always stressed this to any food truck owner that has brought up this issue. If you have a team member working with you, have them either get out of the truck or waiting for the truck to show up to a spot in a position outside of the vehicle where you can see them with your mirrors. If you are a one person team, get help from a fellow food truck owner or in a worst case scenario, ask someone one the street to help you park your huge rolling kitchen. Don’t start your shift off with having to call the police to report the accident you just caused.

Road and Track gives a mathematical equation on to to parallel park perfectly!!!

If you are a proclaimed master of parallel parking and have any additional advice to beginner food truck operators please feel to share your advice in the comment section below.

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streat lubbock

LUBBOCK, TX - Texas Tech’s new food truck could end up dragging a bandwagon.

Tech officially unveiled its StrEat food truck at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday near the Student Union Building. The truck is the first of its kind in the Big 12 Conference.

David Deason, associate managing director for Tech hospitality services, said if all goes well, there could be more trucks in store for the university down the road.

“I think food trucks are here to stay,” Deason said. “They’re not just a craze, they’re not just a fad.”

The StrEat truck will open for Tech students and the general public beginning this fall. It will operate from Memorial Circle on Mondays and Wednesdays and move to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays, the truck will move to surprise locations, which diners can find out by checking hospitality services’ Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tables and chairs will be available beside the truck in Memorial Circle and at the Health Sciences Center.

The menu includes fish or beef pita tacos and Monte Cristo sandwiches. Other foods will rotate on and off the menu on a monthly basis.

Tech students will be able to use their meal plans at the truck, but visitors to campus will also be able to purchase food with cash or credit.

Enrique Mendez and Mashid Hadi, two students who attended the ribbon cutting, sampled the chicken tacos and said they planned to eat from the truck during the upcoming semester.

“I lot of our students here come from places like Dallas, Austin and San Antonio,” said Alan Cushman, manager of business development in hospitality services. “Our student population is used to eating like this.”

Find the entire article at lubbockonline.com <here>

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LOS ANGELES, CA  - Jessica Alba dressed down in a black maxi-dress to grab lunch with a blonde gal pal at The Green Truck Los Angeles food trucks.

The 33-year-old actress added a nineties grunge edge to her casual clothes with a purple tartan top and Doc Martens boots.

The Golden Globe nominee was surrounded by delectable options, some of which were stamped with the Food Network – perhaps part of their series The Great Food Truck Race, which will be starting up its fifth season later this month.

Green Truck

Los Angeles, CA

Twitter: @GreenTruck

Organic, vegan-friendly, sustainable food truck and production catering company in Los Angeles (and San Diego)

greentruckonthego.com

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deep fryer fire

Last week a food truck in Venice, CA had a fire which engulfed the truck in flames. The fire originated in in the deep fryer. Luckily nobody was hurt, but the damage to a truck may require an entire kitchen remodel and weeks of rebuilding while the truck is off the street.

Today we’ll look at the causes of these fires and how food truck operators can keep their employees and mobile kitchen safe from disasters like this.

A deep fat fryer is a vat, or multiple vats, filled with cooking oil that is heated by burners running through tubes underneath.  The tubes may serve as a heat exchanger for a gas burner, or electric coils. Baskets of food are submerged in cooking oil heated from 325ºF to 375ºF.

A grease fire typically occurs when cooking oil becomes too hot. When heating, oils first start to boil, then they’ll start smoking, and then they’ll catch on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking point around 450°F, while animal fats like lard or goose fat will start smoking around 375°F.

What Causes Deep Fat Fryer Fires?

Poor Mechanical Maintenance

Open fryers are particularly susceptible to poor mechanical maintenance.  Normal cooking temperature for deep fryer vegetable oil is about 375ºF.  Thermostat malfunction is a primary cause for deep fryer fires in commercial kitchens. If a thermostat malfunctions, cooking temperatures can rise. At 424ºF oil starts to smoke.  Smoke production will increase as the temperature rises.

Auto ignition takes place at approximately 523º to 788ºF, depending on the type of oil, the amount of impurities in it and usage.  New “high-temperature” fryers are designed to maintain the heat of the oil longer and cook at higher temperatures, making these units a more significant fire risk.  Appliance manufacturers should be involved in notifying end-users that new “high-temp” fryers require upgraded fire-extinguishing systems.

Fryer Grease Buildup

In nearly all fryer designs, the gas exhaust vent for the heat from the burner elements goes up the back of the unit behind the vat.  With repeated splashing a substantial coating of grease can build up and harden on top of and around this exhaust stack.

This residue provides an excellent fuel source especially if some of the buildup falls close to the burner elements below.  Most new fryers are constructed with the chimney open at the bottom, so any debris that falls down the gas flue should fall straight to the floor.

Inadequate Clearance

NFPA 96 requires a clearance of at least 16 inches between fryers and any open flame burners.  An 8 inch metal or tempered glass panel can be used to achieve this clearance. If this clearance is not met, open flames can ignite the cooking oil.

What to do if a fire does break out?

  • Turn the Heat Off. Don’t try to move the fryer. You might accidentally splash the burning oil.
  • Cover the Fryer with a Metal Lid. Fire cannot exist in the absence of oxygen. With the lid on (and the heat off), the fire should quickly consume all the oxygen and put itself out.
  • Pour on Baking Soda. Baking soda will extinguish grease fires, but only if they’re small. It takes a lot of baking soda to do the job.
  • Spray the Fryer with a Class K Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher. This is your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen.
  • Get Out and Call 911. If the fire does break out of control don’t try to be a hero. Get yourself and your entire staff out of the truck and call 911.

What not to do:

  • Do Not Use Water. Pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire. The vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, also spreading the fire.
  • Do Not Throw Any Other Baking Product On the Fire. Flour might look like baking soda, but it won’t react the same. Only baking soda can help put out a grease fire.

Deep Fryer Maintenance and Service

Every two weeks:

  • Take down, clean, and degrease the baffle filters in the hood to reduce buildup and the risk of fire.

Every six months:

  • Hire a professional cleaning contractor to clean the exhaust duct and flue above the fryer.
  • Have a fire service professional inspect and service the food truck fire suppression system.
  • Filter and change the oil consistently, per the manufacturer’s specifications, to help prevent a fire.
  • Confirm that fire suppression nozzles line up directly over each deep fryer and cooking appliance in your food truck kitchen.
  • Confirm that a Class K fire extinguisher is located inside the truck near of the hood system for additional fire suppression capability.
  • Prior to operating, review the operations manual provided by the manufacturer. Follow all recommendations on proper installation and maintenance of deep frying equipment.
  • Provide employee safety. Provide proper training before employees are allowed to operate a deep fryer and adequate supervision while it is being operated.

We hope this article shed some light on keeping your staff members and food truck safe from deep fryer fires. If you have any additional tips, please share them in the comment section below.

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