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food truck debate

As our industry becomes more main stream throughout the country, more and more cities are beginning to look at starting a dialog to determine if food trucks have a place in their communities.

We have researched many of the common points brought up by those opposing mobile vendors. Although many of those against the rise of food trucks have ulterior motives that circle back to the brick and mortar restaurant industry.

If the industry is to continue its growth, we need to identify those issues, sit down and civilly discuss that food trucks are not the danger to restaurants and communities that many are trying to convince cities they are.

Food Truck Debate Issue 1: Food Trucks don’t pay rent

They may not have leases or rent payments as high as restaurants, but food trucks still have to pay for commissary space to clean and restock their “kitchens,” they pay for licenses, permits, food and staff.

In many communities, food trucks also are legally required to pay for rent on storage space and commissaries where they do most of the prep work.

In cities such as San Francisco, mobile vendors are charged upwards of $10,000 a year to maintain their licenses in certain districts. New York City has a limit of permits they issue to street vendors which include trucks and carts.

Outside of liquor licenses, cities do not limit the amount of restaurants which can operate within their city limits.

Food Truck Debate Issue 2: Food Trucks unfairly compete with restaurants

One of the most common complaints by dissenters is that Food Truck operator’s relatively low costs give them “an unfair advantage”. Before the recent uptick in mobile food vendors across the country, this occurrence in the restaurant industry was always referred to as a “competitive advantage.”

So long as the owner of a competitive advantage was passing the benefit of their “advantage” to their customers in terms of value both economically and the quality of their cuisine, this has always been looked at as a positive.

The fact that the mobile food industry has changed its perceived limitation as a “food of only convenience” is what has shifted consumer perception. The current emphasis on value in the market strongly favors the Food Truck model, and is what has attracted many consumers to the new generation of food trucks.

Food Truck Debate Issue 3: Food Trucks only go to trendy areas

Of course food trucks go to trendy areas, food trucks thrive in areas with high foot traffic, but at the same time, isn’t that what restaurant owners try to do when they open up?

They find areas where their business model has the best chance to succeed. Why should food trucks be held down to a foundation or lease if all they have to do is start up their truck and drive to another area where consumers spend their time?

It can also be said that trucks develop something close to cults. Food trucks have followers, the difference lies in their devotion and as shown to date, food truck followers will follow their food wherever it is, so new trendy areas can be created by food trucks that new restaurateurs can follow if they choose.

Food Truck Debate Issue 4: Food Trucks polute the environment

The longer the food truck industry is popular; technology will help it to become greener.

Many trucks around the country already run their vehicles off the vegetable oil they produce so as to cut down on oil costs for fuel and the emissions their trucks create. If they are so concerned about the environment, are they as critical of restaurants that generate upwards of 41% of their carbon foot print from merely heating and lighting their restaurants?

Dependent on the area of the country and what is their source of power generation, I’d certainly take a food truck that is driving around town on vegetable oil or biodiesel, over a restaurant that requires nuclear or coal based power generation.

Food Truck Debate Issue 5: Food Trucks generate excessive trash

This is an area where we may be in agreement currently, however the food truck industry is evolving. An example of this can be seen in San Francisco where the group Off the Grid has created lots for food truck festivals throughout the week.

When they started, they were holding 3 hour events where approximately 300 hundred consumers attended every hour, now they are holding 4 hour events with upwards of 700 consumers showing up every hour.

Their solution? Asking each vendor to provide a trash can outside of their vehicle as well as charging each truck a little more for their participation so the event planners can hire more assistance to help clean up the site.

Food Truck Debate Issue 6: Food Trucks create more traffic

food truck debateSince food trucks spend the majority of their operating time parked in a lot or a parking spot selling their fare, this point seems moot. Another way to look at this argument is that food trucks use social media to inform customers of their location from day to day.

Much of their sales come from people already in the area, as opposed to many brick and mortar establishments which get people taking taxis or driving themselves to the restaurant’s permanent location. Imagine the cuts in deaths due to traffic incidents if people stopped using taxis or personal vehicles to get to their food source?

These are far from all of the negative points driven by those who do not back the food truck industry, but we have found these to be the most common.

If you are aware of other topics which are used to attempt to dissuade municipalities from approving laws and regulations which allow food trucks into their community, feel free to share them with us in our comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck mission statement

Your food truck mission statement for your mobile food business is a strategy. It must be a clear description of where your mobile food business is headed in the future that distinctly sets it apart from other trucks in your area. Developing a mission statement shouldn’t be a quick wordsmithing exercise.

As much time and energy should be devoted to writing a mission statement for your food truck as is to creating a sales and profit budget. And the process should involve the staff (if you’ve already hired employees) and your partners to ensure that everyone embraces the organization’s strategic direction and is willing to be held accountable for it.

Here is The Burnt Truck‘s (Orange County Food Truck) mission statement:

“To bring distinctively upscale taste to the streets of Orange County without all the fuss and nonsense of a high-end restaurant.”

Putting Your Food Truck Mission Statement Together

Like anything with lasting value, crafting your food truck mission statement requires time, thought and planning. However, the effort is well worth it. In fact, most start-up entrepreneurs discover that the process of crafting the mission statement is as beneficial as the final statement itself.

Going through the process will help you solidify the reason for what you are doing and clarify the motivations behind your business.

Once your food truck mission statement is complete, spread the word. You need to convey your mission statement to others in and outside your business to tell everyone you know where you are going and why.

Post it in the truck, where you, employees and customers can see it every day. Print it on company materials, such as brochures and your food truck business plan or even on the back of your business cards.

Do you have a food truck mission statement? We’d love to hear it. Please share them via email, Twitter or Facebook.


Enter The Great Food Truck Race Scholarship Contest to win a $20,000 Scholarship toward a degree in Culinary Arts!

Start Date:
August 17, 2012

End Date:
February 28, 2013

Open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older.

Official Rules

Entry Limit:
Limit one (1) entry per person or e-mail address.


One (1) Grand Prize: consisting of a $20,000 ”The Great Food Truck Race” Scholarship that can be applied toward the full tuition costs associated with obtaining a certificate, diploma, associate’s or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts at any of The Art Institutes US locations. The full tuition costs of these programs vary by school and state. Visit this link for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important information.  Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of this prize is $20,000.

Enter the Sweepstakes



HONOLULU, HI – The owner of the popular Hawaii food trucks Xtreme Tacos and Fairycakes is getting into the wedding cake business.

Wendy Awai-Dakroub, who also owns a restaurant chain in the Middle East, has purchased Frosted, an established business specializing in custom wedding cakes and cupcakes, from Melissa Char, who sold the business to pursue a master’s degree in education.

Awai-Dakroub is best known in Hawaii for her colorful food trucks that draw long lines at locations around Oahu.

The mustard-yellow Xtreme Tacos truck, which is often seen in Kakaako and around Windward Oahu, sells Mexican food with spicy sauces.

It is accompanied by Fairycakes, a bright purple van named “Lola,” which serves up whoopie pies, brownies, cupcakes, and gooey bars made from scratch.

Fairycakes’ sales took off, and Awai-Dakroub became flooded with requests for wedding and specialty cakes.

“I couldn’t meet these people’s demands with my van, and thought why not,” Awai-Dakroub said. “So we had our consultants put out a notice that we were looking to buy a wedding company, and, well, here we are.”

Awai-Dakroub intends to keep the Frosted brand, but will call her new business Frosted by Fairycakes. She is looking to hire five people.

Find the entire article from bizjournals.com <here>


Twitter: @FAIRYCAKES808
Honolulu’s fun, fab and fresh mobile cakery! 😉



hygiene on food trucks

Across the nation more and more municipalities are continuing to embrace the food truck revolution. With that said, there are still many industry detractors who continually bring up the false claim that food trucks are not held to the same health standards as their brick and mortar restaurant counterparts. The problem with this claim is that the mobile food industry (including the trucks and their commercial kitchens) is reviewed and held to the same health codes by local health departments as restaurants. To help stop this outright lie by these individuals, food truck owners need to make sure they educate themselves and their employees on food safety and install effective solutions before hitting the streets.

As food truck owners gain knowledge on food safety and hygiene, they will see how it increases their bottom line by decreasing risks of foodborne illnesses and write-ups from the health inspector. Here are five tips to help you get started in the right foot:

Keep Hands Clean 

Proper hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent illness and the spread of germs. While space is tight in a food truck, operators need a hand washing station that provides running warm water and soap with a touch-free dispenser and single-use paper towels in a contained dispenser. Hand hygiene is a key issue because a food truck’s compact environment lends itself to a higher risk of cross contamination. Use rubber gloves, and never allow your service window operator (who handles the money) to touch food products without first properly washing their hands.

Check Food Temperatures 

Maintaining and checking the appropriate temperature of foods prior to and during service is another important factor in preventing foodborne illness. Hot foods should be held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above and served or discarded after four hours. If foods are not held at the appropriate temperature, bacteria growth begins, increasing the possibility of making a customer ill.

Maintain Proper Refrigeration 

Food trucks are traveling most of the day and need cold storage for a variety of ingredients and pre-prepared items at food safe temperatures. The greatest threat for the rapid bacteria growth occurs in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, with some bacteria doubling in numbers in as little as 20 minutes. A refrigerator needs to be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to protect most foods.

Sanitize Surfaces 

Sanitizing solutions should be changed frequently. All mobile vendors should refer to local health department regulations on the necessary concentrations for sanitizing solutions. Instead of using cloth towels that can hold bacteria even after washing, use disposable wipes to disinfect food preparation, counter, service and utility surfaces.

Keep Hygienic Products Onboard 

Keeping cleaning and hygiene products readily available can be a challenge when space is an issue. However, there are portable and compact solutions for food trucks when it comes to preventing foodborne illnesses. Affix hand sanitizer dispensers near the service window to help ensure hand hygiene among your staff. Some food truck owners have hand sanitizing stations available for their customers use.

The road to cleanliness can certainly be a dirty job. In addition to providing your staff with proper training and the use of cleaning solutions; food truck operators need comply with all state and local health code regulations. Not only will focusing on hygiene help to quite the industry detractors, it will steer your mobile business toward to a better bottom line by ensuring customers will continually bring their appetites to the window of the cleanest food truck in town.



LOS ANGELES, CA – It’s not the kind of question you ask in public, but: Would you eat from a plain white catering truck?

While perusing the menu of a fancy green-and-orange food truck parked near Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank on a recent afternoon, a man in a button-down shirt and slacks pauses, then says, “No.”

Another admits, “I don’t care. I just want good food!”

Good for him. Because, unbeknownst to either of these customers, until last summer the trendy-looking Prime Time Cuisine on Wheels was a typical taco truck, not a Twitter-hyped “food truck.” It served a dozen daily stops at factories and construction sites — the sort of truck that might get called, unfairly, “roach coach.”

“You want-a-salsa?” Lucy Granados asks with a Spanish accent, as she hands a white food container through the pick-up window to a customer wearing designer sunglasses.

At 47, Granados has been working on food trucks nearly half her life. The Mexican immigrant and her husband, Solomon, bought one for $30,000 cash 10 years ago. Last summer, they spent $5,000 more on new tires, engine work and the type of custom wrap that shouts “gourmet.”

“Our business was suffering. Most of our customers earned minimum wage and didn’t even want to pay $2 for a taco,” Granados says. “We knew wrapping the truck would get us into organized events and introduce us to a new clientele.”

The Los Angeles County Health Department tallies about 6,000 permitted catering trucks. About 200 are gourmet: snazzy vehicles dishing up (mostly) fusion food, with a strong online presence. But the vast majority are run by Mexican or Central American immigrants — native Spanish speakers, disconnected from technology.

In the ocean of catering trucks flooding Los Angeles streets, Prime Time Cuisine on Wheels is a rarity. Few traditional trucks have gone gourmet.

“For some, the digital divide is so strong,” says Erin Glenn, CEO of La Asociación de Loncheros. “Just because social media may work for one group doesn’t always mean it’ll work for another. Just because this is happening doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. It’s just another form of doing business.”

The gourmet food truck business model exploded in 2009. Kogi Korean BBQ pioneer Roy Choi used social media to bring crowds. That appealed to the young and affluent, making taco trucks fashionable in neighborhoods that previously had not tolerated them. Facebook and Twitter became the cookie-cutter tools that savvy entrepreneurs used to connect with next-generation customers. Interest in food trucks went from zero to 60 almost overnight.

“When I came in to consult for La Raza Foods, nobody wanted to rent a catering truck,” Rick Restifo says. The veteran truck operator has nearly 40 years of experience and serves as a business adviser at one of California’s largest commissaries, where food trucks are mandated to park overnight.

Find the entire article by Patricia Nazario at The LA Weekly <here>

tip of the day

You have to plan for your food truck to be profitable. Without a budget in place, it’s tempting to spend, or even overspend what you earn. Your budget is a key component to operating a successful mobile food business, one that operates profitably and with systems. Having a budget gives you a guide for covering your expenses and as a tool for setting goals. Goals can range from something as big as opening a new truck to something more immediate such as hiring an additional staff member. A budget will serve as your roadmap to meeting your goals; make sure you use one to plan for your profitability.


St. Louis, MO – Tom Broadwell gets plenty of attention driving his 1955 pickup truck, but it’s what he had in the back over the weekend that attracted the attention of a crook.

Papa Tom's Gateway Dog House

“Which was a generator and 100 feet of 50 amp copper electrical cable,” said Broadwell.

Somebody stole the stuff. The $4,000 generator powered Broadwell’s food truck, Papa Tom’s Gateway Dog House, and no power won’t cut the mustard.

“I can’t say it on camera what I really thought but, you know, how do I go from here,” said Broadwell.

Broadwell borrowed a generator to keep the hotdog wagon rolling, but turned to social media to help turn the wheels of justice.

The hotel gave him a copy of its security footage (adt reviews), and Broadwell posted it on Facebook and sent out alerts on Twitter.

The video shows what looks like a light colored jeep pull up. Then what appears to be a man approaching and eventually wheeling off the generator.

“I figured hey maybe somebody knows a person who looks like this that drives that vehicle and, yeah, we’ll see how it goes,” said Broadwell.

Broadwell also reported the theft to police.

Watch the video <here>

Find the original article <here>

While your food truck’s name might not make or break your business, but having the right name can have a huge influence on your success, especially in its early stages. Coming up with a memorable name is one of the first steps in the branding of your mobile business, and a great name is the beginning of a great brand. Your food truck or cart’s name should be memorable and create a certain feeling when heard.

The name you choose is truly the first impression people have of your mobile business. If you are new to the area, and people don’t know anything about you, they will make a decision based on the name you select.

Choosing the Right Name

So how do you choose the right name? While there are many different opinions on how to come up with the right name, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

  • Brainstorm. Think about how you want people to feel when they hear about your truck or cart. Write down these words on and then categorize them by primary meaning.
  • Relate. Think about related words and phrases that evoke the feelings you want. Hit the thesaurus and find all the synonyms for your words and phrases.
  • Relate more. Find out the Greek and Latin translations of your words. Figure out what colors, gemstones, plants, animals, etc., relate to your words.
  • Experiment. Start playing with combinations of your various words and partial words. Don’t be judgmental now – just make a list.
  • Reflect. Review your list and just give some thought to each name. How does it make you feel when you hear it?

Your businesses name should be a reflection of who you are and what you do. Your customers should be able to get an idea of what to expect when they walk up to your service window. For example, you wouldn’t want to call your truck or cart “Ocean Breeze” and not have any seafood on the menu. Certain names conjure up images. You want those images to lead your customer base to you and your rolling bistro.

You want your name to be easy to remember. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to be able to tell their friends and family about the great new truck they found. Even if they can’t remember exactly where you were located, if they remember the name, they can always look you up online. Your name should stick with them long after their meal has ended.

As far as how to come up with the right name, that’s largely a matter of personal preference. Some people want to include their own name as part of the mobile restaurant name. Others may use the location of the business, or even something that reflects the history of the area they usually do business  in.

One thing to remember when going with trendy names: trends change. Try to make sure your business name will stand the test of time.

One way to test your ideas is to tell family and friends the name, and have them tell you what image comes to mind. If they heard that name, what would they expect when they walked up to your cart of truck? Try to have them visualize everything from mood to menu items to what the employees are wearing. The more details they can give you, the better ideal you will have about the effectiveness of the name. Do this with several names, and get rid of the ones that conjure up the wrong image.

Research Your Food Truck Name

Before you fall in love with the name you’ve chosen, and rush out to print up business cards and start advertising, you need to do a little research. There is a chance you won’t get to use any of the ones you really like. Before you go any further you need to do some research to make sure the name isn’t already registered by someone else. Bypassing this step could mean fines for copyright infringement, and having to spend the time and money to have your name changed.

You can start your research on your own by looking online.  Your next step is to contact your states Secretary of State office and ask them how to check for registered names. Also, check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office . They keep a listing of any federally registered trademarks. There are also some professional search organizations that specialize in doing research on company names. A U.S. trademark or service mark costs $325. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to trying to defend it in court later.

Check online to make sure that an appropriate domain name is available. You want YourFoodTruckName.com, if at all possible. If that’s not available, you may want to reconsider. Even if someone doesn’t have the domain, you still want to see what else is out there that has the same name. That doesn’t mean you don’t use it if you find something, but you need to know.

If the name you’ve decided on is available, register it with the Secretary of State’s office. If you are going to use a logo or trademark, you can register it with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. Once your trademark is registered, it stays registered to you as long as you file a renewal every 10 years.

A good food truck name can be like a magnet attracting customers, and sets the mood for what they can expect when they walk through your doors. Do your research and make sure it’s the right name for you.

Things to Keep in Mind When Naming a Mobile Restaurant

You are Creating a New Brand – So make sure it’s memorable and has positive connotations. If it’s a foreign word, make sure it doesn’t mean something bad in another language.

Easy to Remember – Make sure others find the name easy to remember. If it’s not, people will have trouble finding it and telling friends about it.

Easy to Spell – If the name has an unusual spelling, it will make it harder for people to look up in the phone book and on line.

We hope this guide helps you in creating a memorable and marketable business name for your new food truck or other mobile food vending operation. Without taking the time to do research, you may find that you will need to restart this process sometime down the road, because your original choice didn’t market your brand the way you had wanted it to.

Still having a tough time coming up with a name, check our our free Food truck Name Generator to see if it can give you some suggestions. <here>


While you are out and about walking the streets of your city, don’t be surprised if you get a personalized tweet from a nearby food truck in the near future.  It might be offering you a free meal in celebration of your tenth check in for the month.

As location based software (LBS) applications like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt continue to evolve their respective advertising models, third-party providers are busy building platforms of their own that leverage the communities surrounding such applications and services for unique integrated marketing campaigns.

One such Atlanta based startup, PlacePunch, has launched a new platform that allows businesses of any size to run their own location based marketing campaigns that integrate with Foursquare, Facebook Places, Twitter, Gowalla and others; effectively providing a one stop platform to leverage mobile location from all the major players.  The platform allows for a variety of campaigns, including loyalty and rewards programs that take advantage of check-ins, proximity to certain venues and other location oriented attributes.

PlacePunch provides the entire infrastructure necessary, including branded sign-up pages, mobile coupon delivery and analytics, so for example, your food truck can create a loyalty program that counts customer check-ins towards certain rewards and coupons.  Marketers can also run personalized messaging programs through Twitter for customers that check into their venues, so if customers check-in to your food truck, you would be able to set up a recurring Tweet welcoming them.

This platform provides the added benefit of a comprehensive dashboard. This dashboard of reports and analytics is set up to help businesses learn more about their customers and venues, including demographics, time of check-ins, and more. While your mobile restaurant could initiate the same type of campaign with the various LBS applications independently, by using PlacePunch you are provided with a streamlined and centralized environment to leverage the location-craze.

If you are interested in learning how PlacePunch can help your mobile food business increase check-ins and customer loyalty, please contact them or investigate their website. Please note, the software is free to download while the application in its beta phase.

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