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menu food truck toronto

TORONTO, CANADA – Summer is the season for food trucks, but many vendors say despite the new regulations it’s still a challenge doing business in the city.

“That’s the hardest part. There is nowhere to park cause there are restaurants all over Toronto,” said Bryan Siu-Chong who is co-founder of MeNU Food Truck.

On Tuesday afternoon, MeNU Food Truck was parked along University, just outside Toronto General Hospital. When Global News was there, a security guard approached Siu-Chong at the truck to tell them they were not supposed to be there – apparently, because there was a food court in the hospital, they were violating the 50-metre rule.

Global News checked with City Hall’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department. We learned that MeNU was in the right place and did not have to move.

Carleton Grant is the Director of Policy and Strategic Support for the department. He said the rule is only for restaurants that are facing a street, not food courts inside a building.

“Now we need to educate the businesses, the parking lots , the hospitals the security guards, what the rules are,” said Grant.
When the city introduced the permit system it allowed for 125 permits at a cost of $5000 each. To date, only 14 permits have been picked up by gourmet food trucks.

Zane Caplansky owns a food truck and a restaurant, Caplansky’s Delicatessen. He says he opted not to get a permit. “It is the most expensive mobile vending permit in the world, and it’s useless.” Said Caplansky.

Find the entire article at globalnews.ca <here>

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salt lake city food trucks

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Food trucks along the Wasatch Front continue to roll along, with new offerings hitting the streets all the time.

No matter what you’re craving — Korean barbecue, Canadian poutine, Mexican-style fresh fruit or American grilled cheese — there’s something to satisfy a hunger for street food.

Chow Truck, Salt Lake City’s first food truck, arrived in 2010; since then, the field has grown. Today, 36 mobile food trucks are licensed to operate in Salt Lake City alone, said Jessica Thesing, the city’s economic development manager.

Maybe the best indicator of the popularity of food trucks is the Thursday Food Truck Rally at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Every Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., hundreds of people fill the street between 200 and 300 South to savor street-style foods.

It’s so popular, new food trucks that want to participate in the event sometimes find it difficult to get a spot.

Every week, 15 to 20 trucks apply for the seven available spaces, Thesing said. “We try to rotate them through, so that everyone gets a turn.”

But the competition is so fierce that some trucks don’t even bother to apply, opting instead to have weekly spots at area farmers markets or businesses near the airport, the University of Utah or industrial parks where food options are scarce.

The city ordinance that was developed in 2011 to govern mobile food vendors would allow for the creation of another “food court” somewhere else in the city, Thesing said. “But no one has come forward to do that yet.”

Find the entire article at sltrib.com <here>

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food truck caribbean

Just like the first three yours we covered the growth of the food truck industry; some major website wonders aloud if the industry has topped out, or in previous cases, jumped the shark. This Spring the question comes from Salon with the release of the new movie “Chef” centered on the mobile food industry.

The recent news that Royal Caribbean had installed a “food truck” on one of its ships was at once paradoxical — the truck, such as it is, is not going to be mobile — and perfect. If the least hip enterprise in the world, one so terminally uncool that its associations among a certain set of the general public is a mocking David Foster Wallace essay, has discovered food trucks, was there anyone on earth who hadn’t heard of them?

Apparently not Hollywood, where food trucks are novel enough to bolster a would-be summer hit. “Chef,” Jon Favreau’s star vehicle and directorial follow-up to “Iron Man 2? and “Cowboys & Aliens,” is a low-fi film about a star gourmand whose life changes when he quits the restaurant where he’s been making basic Gallic-inflected classics and takes a food truck on the road to America’s hippest enclaves (Austin’s South Congress district features heavily). His truck serves simple Cuban food — the movie fetishizes it. Close-ups of bread being brushed with butter and spread with mustard abound. Yum! But, also, so? Such food could be consumed about anywhere in the cities — Austin, Miami, Los Angeles. It’s the truck that makes it magic — at least, on-screen.

There’s a lot that’s fantastical about “Chef,” not least that the lumbering Favreau has romantic history with Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara. But what’s strangest is the notion that a food truck would incite a national frenzy as it makes its way across the country. Favreau’s on-screen son (played by the terminally cute Emjay Anthony) manages the truck’s social media, “tweeting out” its forthcoming locations and photos of its cuisine. It’s a story of what success looks like as framed through a rudimentary understanding of hipness: Social media is a happening thing, and so too is food served from a truck. The dining public will race to try whatever is new, even if it’s served in a manner that’s both somewhat inconvenient and so tired it’s almost asleep.

What was the food truck? It’s hardly a new phenomenon — they’ve been choking lanes in pedestrian thoroughfares for years — but some combination of a burgeoning foodie culture and an endless-recession emphasis on thrift have brought them to the fore as, effectively, restaurants. Prior to their reinvention as a mobile, gustatory signifier for that which is cool, they were the most efficient way to distribute simple food out there. That the trucks’ most ardent fans can track trucks’ progress online to ensure they’re first in line is a fairly recent invention for a vehicle that once ensured simply that time-strapped workers could get food as close as the curb.

There’s a twee effect at work here; food trucks are able to charge a markup or get placed in novel locations simply by dint of their veneer of hipness.  Something utilitarian, a mobile restaurant able to serve a varied clientele quickly and economically, has been digested as kitschy fun. A sausage-and-hot-dog station on a cruise ship would surely be business-as-usual, if unseasonably heavy cuisine, but throw in a truck and there’s an added layer of cool.

The most au courant element of “Chef” is the equivalence it draws between high cuisine and the most simple kind of cooking. A chef, frustrated with the strictures of contemporary restaurant scene, breaks free and serves elegantly prepared, simple food to his hungry public. The duality the movie sets up — the notion that only through taking a food truck on the road can one truly be in tune with what the people want to eat — is fairly ridiculous. After all, “Chef” ends with the food-truck purveyor returning home, after having cruised around in his truck, and picking up his mail; on top of the stack is a copy of David Chang’s magazine Lucky Peach. Chang is a chef whose catholic approach to tasty food has started a real evolution. He has a bricks-and-mortar restaurant informed by street culture, a recipe for success that second-generation “food trucks” are now aping.

Find the entire article at Salon.com <here>

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portland food cart brewery

Portland food cart pods are showing that adding alcohol to their menus hasn’t been negative to the city at all.

PORTLAND, OR - A couple of years ago, Portland’s food carts — beloved by hipsters, downtown business people, neighborhood folks and tourists alike — offered strictly PG fare.

Now, they’re all grown up.

Nearly a third of the city’s food cart pods now serve beer, wine or cocktails.

Thirteen of the 36 food cart pods citywide have in the past two years sought and received liquor licenses from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Thanks to a set of OLCC restrictions on the licenses, the infusion of alcohol hasn’t had any ill effect on the industry.

“We haven’t seen any public-safety impact at these businesses,” says Christie Scott, an OLCC spokeswoman. The OLCC board approved the restrictions as permanent rules last Friday, for the first time differentiating food carts from other outdoor areas like patios and sidewalk seating.

The rules limit customers to no more than two drinks at a time (16 ounces of beer or cider, 6 ounces of wine, or 2 ounces of distilled spirits); except to allow two people to share a standard 750-ml bottle of wine, and three people to share a 64-ounce pitcher of beer.

“No minors” signs must be posted, and there’s no drinking or amplified music past 10 p.m.

Finally, boundaries for the “alcohol consumption area” must be enforced by the licensee.

The more social, community-minded vibe is a big draw for the carts, especially out in East Portland, says Roger Goldingay, owner of Cartlandia, on Southeast 82nd Avenue, as well as the 10-cart Mississippi Marketplace in North Portland.

“There’s nothing cool out here, except us,” he says.

Two years ago, he was the first in the city to be granted a food cart alcohol license, after a bureaucratic struggle.

Two weekends ago, Cartlandia opened The Blue Room, an on-site bar and restaurant that will offer live music on the weekends and a place for people to enjoy a beer with their food cart fare.

The space features its signature teal walls, a stage for live music, five large-screen TVs to play sports and “Portlandia,” and a bar made from a salvaged piece of an 1860s church and an old pipe organ. They offer beer 18 beers and ciders on tap, along with cocktails and a short menu of five items, required by the OLCC.

Find the entire article at portlandtribune.com <here>

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krav food truck cleveland

Oh what a pleasant surprise; to see a city who has leaders in place that defend food truck owners operating in their town. While it may not be new in some sections of the country, it’s welcomed news in many others.

ELYRIA, OH - A chef on wheels rolls to a location and serves food from a mobile kitchen.

The food truck craze has hit Elyria.

For the second Thursday this month, Todd Berry set up in downtown Elyria with his Krav food truck to serve up one of five signature dishes to an eager lunch crowd. On this particular day, a spot near Elyria City Hall was the locale of choice. The menu consisted of a popular Korean barbeque pork loin with a kimchi Asian slaw and smashed avocados.

The prepared-fresh meal stood up well against the others — a Philly cheese steak, lamb or chicken gyro, veggie pita and grilled barbeque chicken thighs.

“It’s a good menu of flavorful food that we can prepare right here on the truck,” Berry said in between quickly assembling meals for a growing crowd of customers. “We have to do everything on the truck, prep and cook on the truck.”

Brick and mortar restaurants don’t have the luxury of picking up and relocating to where the business is best — Berry works in Lorain, Avon, Avon Lake and Vermilion.

Watching customers line the street a stone’s throw from where she has served food for years was a hard pill to swallow for Donna Dove, owner of Donna’s Diner.

“I don’t know why they would do that when we are having a hard time as it is,” she said. “If they were to move in every day, it would be one thing. It would be a constant draw to downtown that helps everyone. But once a week just brings people in, takes their money and then they leave.”

Dove said there was a noticeable difference in her Thursday sales, especially lunch deliveries. But instead of protesting, she said she plans to fight back.

“If they want to park their truck, then I will get my grill out,” she said. “Once people have my $5 roast beef sandwich with peppers and onions, they will want to know why they have never had it before.”

Find the entire article at northcoastnow.com <here>

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full speed ahead

CHARLESTON, WV - Luscious lunch offerings are moving about as food trucks and outdoor carts pop up beneath spring sunshine.

“This is a restaurant on wheels,” said Donna Sales, as she worked out of a truck tagged Sistah’s on the Go. “I go out year-round but it’s slower in the winter. Now it’s picking up. The weather is getting better. The snow about killed me. I’ll do good. I feel it coming.”

Sales has most recently parked her food truck at the intersection of YMCA Driveand Hillcrest, where she serves a steady stream of customers. She figures it’s a good spot and she will be there at lunch time as long as business is brisk.

Sales said food trucks and vendor carts are popular in bigger cities but are just now gaining steam in Charleston.

She opened Sistah’s Rib Shack in 2010 on Seventh Avenue on the West Sidebut closed it late last year due to a lack of business. She believes the location, tucked away on a one-way street, was a drawback. With her food truck, she can have her choice of visible sites.

“I like doing what I do,” she said. “My partner, Clint Arnold, bought the food truck. I cook and move around. This is my dream.”

When there is a big event, Arnold has been known to pitch in. However, he has another full-time business.

Her regular full-time assistant right now is her cousin, Kenneth Foye, who is visiting from Indiana where he also works in the food business.

“I am trying to get him to stay,” she said. “He’s teaching me little things.”

The Sistah’s on the Go truck runs a chalkboard menu that varies from day to day. Among offerings are ribs, chicken, fish, Polish sausage, hot dogs, hot bologna, French fries, onion rings, mac ‘n cheese, green beans, baked beans, fried green tomatoes and peach cobbler. Not everything is offered every day and she is open to requests. As the weather gets warmer, plans call for offering free lemonade.

To place a call-ahead order or inquire about catering, call 304-346-RIBS.

Meanwhile, in downtown Charleston on the corner of Capitol and Lee streets, mouthwatering aromas drift from a cart at lunch time where Mark Gomez andTim Johnson prepare steak kabobs, pulled pork, Philly cheese steak, hot dogs with homemade chili, and corned beef. The business, called All American Capitol, has been rolling around the area since last June.

“We come every day as weather permits,” Gomez said. “We’re here Monday through Friday from 11 to 2. On Friday and Saturday nights we’re at Chase across from Blue Parrot on Capitol Street.”

Gomez has two more carts ready to go when the time comes to expand and he can find adequate help with the enthusiasm he and Johnson have for the business.

“It’s like being a bartender without the alcohol,” Gomez said. “We talk to everybody. We enjoy it.”

He said a license and insurance are among requirements for running the business that must meet the standards of the state Health Department. He believes customers enjoy seeing their food prepared right before their eyes.

He and Sales both have commissary sites for doing the prep work before heading out to their mobile locations.

However, another entrepreneur runs a restaurant in addition to a food truck.

Adrian “Bay” Wright is owner of Dem 2 Brothers and A Grill, 426 Virginia St. W.

In 2011, he set up a grill at the corner of Virginia Street West and Central Avenue where he sold to-go fare. Late last year he moved into the building across the way where customers could enjoy indoor dining. However, he also purchased a food truck a few months ago in order to take his offerings on the road to fairs, festivals or just downtown for the lunch crowd.

“I got the truck last year,” he said. “I started with a cart and then the food truck and then the building. I’ll do downtown and a little bit of everywhere with the food truck.”

Sometimes customers are in the mood to grab a quick bite from outdoor vendors and sit in the sun instead of a restaurant, he said.

He sometimes hires extra help but generally one of his six brothers is around to assist.

“I’ll probably start next month taking the truck out in Charleston to Capitol Street and different places,” said Wright, who plans to make it convenient for the lunch crowd.

The menu includes mouthwatering items such as pulled pork, ribs, Italian sausage, Philly cheese steak, fish, bratwurst, chicken breast, hot beef bologna and hot dogs.

The telephone number for the restaurant is 304-550-4431

There is a sense of camaraderie among those who sell food outdoors, the vendors say. Wright said discussion is swirling around holding an event where they can all meet in one area and sell their specialties. Sales said there is no sense of competition because a customer may buy one item at one stop and a different food from another vendor.

She predicts once the food truck business gets rolling in Charleston that it will continue to pick up speed.

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the grind louisville food truck

LOUISVILLE, KY – The latest venture from food truck owners Liz and Jesse Huot now has a name and a slightly more definitive opening date.

The Huots have traversed Louisville for about three years, selling burgers in a food truck they dubbed Grind. Now they will settle down, so to speak, in a storefront at 3311 Preston Highway, near the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The location was most recently occupied by Oasis Sushi and Soul Karaoke Bar.

The restaurant will be called Grind Burger Kitchen and will feature the same burgers that are offered on the food truck. The bricks-and-mortar location also will sell fries and new vegetarian options.

The couple plan a soft opening after the Kentucky Derby.

Find the entire article at bizjournals.com <here>

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While scanning through our vast Twitter feed daily, we are able to monitor the food truck industry for trends. One of the most recent finding we have stumbled across is that food truck owners tend to stay in start-up mode way too long.

foot on brake food truck

Keeping your mobile food business in start-up mode is like driving your truck with the brakes applied. If you keep telling people you are new to the industry or still figuring things out,  you’ll never be able to take actions for real growth.

After reading this article we hope you’ll realize that it’s time to move your food truck from start-up to growth mode and from planning to actually doing. In two or three years, you want to be able to look back at your start-up phase as an important part of your thriving mobile food business’ history. You want to say something like, “I remember when I was the only one working in my kitchen prepping for my daily shifts. Now I employ 6 people and am on my way to owning a restaurant.”

This is the mindset we want you to move towards and here are five ways to do it:

Delegate

When you’re first starting your food truck business, in most cases you are handling everything. To begin growing you have to start investing in people to do tasks you can no longer do. We have found that nearly three quarters of all food trucks start with zero employees, which underscores the resistance some vendors have to delegating. You have to grow your business. Stop thinking that people cost money; your lack of production and failure to grow your food truck business will ultimately cost far more.

Pick Your Battles

Don’t get wrapped up for a week deciding on a logo when it ultimately doesn’t matter. Your food truck brand will evolve as your business evolves, so your logo is likely to change. There are far more important things to obsess over such as building a great menu, gaining customers and making money.

Get Attention

One of the most common problems start-up food trucks have is becoming known. Your most important task early on will be to spread the word about yourself and your mobile food business. Ultimately it’s the way to new and returning faces to your service window. In recent news, Candy Yoder of San Antonio had some issues with a venue banning her truck because of the name she selected “CockAsian”. She got national media attention (including a mention during last week’s Saturday Night Live), and offended some people. While she may have ruffled some feathers, her menu is turning criticism into loyal customers. Get out there and get attention, get critics and then get customers.

Throw A Change-up

Instead of saying “I own a small food truck company,” say “I own a food truck company that serves high quality <insert your food here>. It’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted.” Notice the difference? The first makes you seem small and insignificant. It makes no claim. The second makes you seem unique, confident and capable of being a huge success. Know how to pitch yourself and your food truck. Be ready to explain what your mobile food business does that is better, faster and of value to your local marketplace.

Create Urgency

If you start a food truck without setting specific timelines for action and achievements, you will be stuck in park forever. Pressuring yourself to perform should not lead to inferior products leaving your truck; it will end up with projects getting finished. Urgency is key to getting things done.

Your vision is not improved by staying in start-up mode. It’s time to stomp on the accelerator and become a food truck that is grabbing market share from the other more established players in your area.

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OK-Stillwater-PurdyqSTILLWATER, OK - A trend that began on the West Coast has swept the nation and impacted the restaurant business in Stillwater.

Within the last four years, food trucks have infiltrated the streets of Stillwater, providing residents with various types of specialty cuisines.

Dan Purdy is the owner of Purdy Q Mobile Smoke Pit, which has been in Stillwater for 11 months.

Purdy said he was attracted to the idea of starting a business out of a food truck because of the low overhead cost and the flexibility of being a mobile business.

“If I were to open a brick and mortar, it would probably be three times as much as it cost me to get into the truck,” he said.

The start-up cost for Purdy Q Mobile Smoke Pit was about $50,000, Purdy said.

He said he built the truck himself, eliminating much of the cost.

“If I were to go out and buy this truck set-up like this, just the truck itself would be $85,000 to $90,000,” Purdy said.

In addition to lower cost, the owner enjoys having a flexible schedule.

“I like having the freedom,” Purdy said.  “I’m here today, I’m somewhere else tomorrow. There is an extreme amount of flexibility with operating a food truck.”

Purdy said when the tornado hit Carney last year, he was able to shut down in Stillwater and serve free meals to those affected.

“It is a perfect platform to serve in an emergency,” he said.

Through his unique business style, Purdy has been able to show generosity to his customers.

“We gave away like 3,000 meals last year out of this truck,” he said. That is huge. I couldn’t do that in a brick-and-mortar restaurant.”

Pie on the Fly, another popular food truck, serves one-of-a-kind fried pies and is relatively new to Stillwater.

Stephen Griffin, Alex Campbell and Brady London opened Pie on the Fly in October 2013.

Griffin and Campbell went through the entrepreneurship program at Oklahoma State University, which they believe has helped them start their business.

Like Purdy, the owners of Pie on the Fly were able to purchase a truck for a low cost and build it into a business.

So far, the owners can only describe their experience as just plain fun.

Find the entire article at ocolly.com <here>

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IBISWorldNEW YORK, NY - The Food Trucks industry has only grown in strength over the past five years and is one of the best performing segments in the broader food-services sector. The industry’s remarkable rise began in 2008, just as the recession hit, as hundreds of new vendors recognized changing consumer preferences favoring unique, gourmet cuisine.

Cities such as Portland, OR; Austin, TX; and Los Angeles sought to differentiate themselves by crafting laws and creating areas specially designed for mobile food trucks. While the recession put the brakes on the broader food-services sector from 2008 to 2009, it was in fact a boon for the Food Trucks industry as consumers sought to maximize their disposable income by indulging in small conveniences such the affordable gourmet food. As a result, industry revenue has increased at an impressive annualized rate of 12.4% over the five years to 2014.

According to IBISWorld Industry Analyst Andy Brennan, “Despite strong industry-wide performance, some operators have been held back by city regulations, increased competition and low profit margins.” Laws governing food trucks differ between cities, with most specifying what hours a food truck can operate and the distance a food truck must be from the nearest brick-and-mortar restaurant. The industry competes directly with the broader food-services sector, and some brick-and-mortar establishments that pay taxes have lobbied against the industry. Also, in many cities, the industry has begun to reach saturation point, resulting in lower profit margins for some operators. As a result, growth has slowed over the past few years. In 2014 the industry is expected to grow at a slower rate than that of the past five years, posting a 4.4% gain to reach $803.8 million.

“The industry will face various challenges over the next five years, most crucially regulatory hurdles, which have restricted the industry’s growth over the past five years,” says Brennan. Parking laws and other city ordinances are still evolving in many cities to catch up with the industry’s transformation. Industry associations will need to work closely with city governments and other restaurateurs to resolve these issues if food trucks are to play a bigger role in the country’s food-services sector. Still, growing household incomes and changing consumer preferences toward healthy and gourmet cuisine will spur growth over the next five years.

The Food Trucks industry exhibits a low level of concentration due to the highly fragmented nature of the industry. New enterprises have entered the industry at a faster rate, causing the industry to become more fragmented. IBISWorld anticipates this trend to persist in the upcoming years as mobile food vending becomes popular in less saturated regions.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Food Trucks in the US industry report page.

Follow IBISWorld on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/IBISWorld 
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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

The Food Trucks industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in preparing and serving meals from a mobile truck. Food is normally prepared, stored and cooked on the truck. The truck may or may not use the same location each day and does not sell alcoholic beverages.

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