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Texas-Blizzard

HOUSTON, TX – It sure is tough running a small business these days. Especially a restaurant. If you don’t believe us, ask the Fernandez brothers. Richard and Victor Fernandez decided to break into the Houston food truck scene three years ago with a concept sure to win folks over on summer afternoons: shaved ice. The truck: Texas Blizzard.

“We take great pride in our snow cones,” Victor says, “we make sure everyone gets the best snow cone they can get.”

Things were going great until a few weeks ago when they got a message from another purveyor of cold sweet treats. Ice cream giant Dairy Queen sent the brothers a two-page cease and desist letter telling them to drop the word ‘blizzard’ from their name or face the wrath of their corporate legal team.

“They found out who we are,” Victor explains, “we’re infringing on their trademarked blizzard and they want us to remove it from any of our marketing, any of our websites, anything, within 30 days of that letter being sent to us.”

Dairy Queen has been making ‘Blizzards’ since 1985. And the name is  trademarked. And unless the brothers Fernandez want to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight the challenge, they’ll just have to suck it up and find a new name.

“All this effort has gone for nothing because no they’re going to see a new truck selling what we sell and they’re going to be confused, ‘is that Texas Blizzard or is that somebody else?’”

We reached out to Dairy Queen for comment, but haven’t heard back. Like we said, it sure is tough running a small business these days.

Find the original article at newsfixnow.com <here>

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Food Truck News

In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry we have compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Houston, Toronto, Fitchburg and Portland.

April 4

Detox Truck brings a healthy change to Houston’s food truck scene – HOUSTON, TX - The Detox Truck is helping put a fresh spin on the food truck scene in Houston.

Husband and wife team Aaron and Melanie Greeley created a menu of fresh-pressed juices, protein-packed salads, and nutritious smoothies that promise big nutrition without busting your calorie budget.

Find the entire article <here>

Mayoral candidates come out to talk food trucks – TORONTO, CANADA - Council’s food truck regulation debate lured all three major mayoral candidates to Nathan Phillips Square Thursday, where four popular vendors staged a rally at lunchtime.

Find the entire article <here>

April 5

Massachusetts couple gets deeper into farming - FITCHBURG, MA — Jim Lattanzi is no stranger to hard work. At 29, he has operated a highly successful food-truck business, started a farm in his Hollis Hills backyard with wife Allison and expanded the business to include maple sugaring.

Find the entire article <here>

April 6

Food carts downtown hit by string of break-ins – PORTLAND, OR - Half a dozen food carts in downtown Portland were hit again Friday night after more than a month of break-ins.

Find the entire article <here>

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midtown mobile cuisine houston

HOUSTON, TX - Houston is getting yet another food truck park, the fourth one in less than a year.

CultureMap reports that co-owner Ren Garrett and her brother will open Midtown Mobile Cuisine at 4002 Almeda Road.

A major feature of this park will be electricity, meaning the trucks won’t have to use generators and there will be lights for nighttime service, CultureMap reports.

A status update on  Midtown Mobile Cuisine’s Facebook page midday March 27 shows the park had to cancel its sneak peek lunch Thursday due to the rain, but it still plans to open for dinner, weather permitting.

CultureMap reports the park will hold a grand opening April 4.

Find the entire article at bizjournals.com <here>

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The-Modular-food-truck

Photo by Eric Sandler

HOUSTON, TX - At a time when established food truck are looking to move to permanent spaces, Goro & Gun co-owner Joshua Martinez has decided to revive his truck The Modular using a second truck he had originally purchased to sell wings instead of The Modular’s original trailer.

Why would he increase the daily stress level associated with running a restaurant by adding a food truck? With his typical frankness, Martinez provides a succinct explanation.

“I’m crazy and stupid. That’s pretty much why.”

Or is he crazy like a fox? Martinez has noticed that the emergence of food truck parks and an improved attitude from city regulators towards trucks has changed the landscape in Houston.

“The health department is very on board with food trucks,” Martinez tells CultureMap . “I’ve had great conversations with the head of the food truck division . . . It makes me feel like I’m no longer a pirate out on the sea with food.”

Another benefit of reviving the food truck will be exposing the restaurant’s menu to a wider audience. “Sometimes people are scared to come downtown, so I’ll just bring it to you,” Martinez explains.

Find the entire article at culturemap.com <here>

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2013 Dessert Truck of the Year

Earlier this month we began polling our readers to help us determine their favorite dessert food truck. Our final poll had 10 dessert trucks to select from:

  • 3 Girls Cupcakes – Kansas City, MO
  • Big Gay Ice Cream – NYC
  • A Cupcake Social – Minneapolis, MN
  • Custom Confections – Houston, TX
  • Flirty Cupcakes – Chicago, IL
  • Goodies Frozen Custards & Treats – Washington DC
  • Homemade – South Florida
  • Kickass Cupcakes – Boston, MA
  • Saweet Cupcakes – San Antonio, TX
  • The Sweet Hearth – Buffalo, NY

Voting was very busy for the first week but slowed down a bit during the second week of voting but we still had a lot of folks visit the site to vote for their favorite. After counting the 3,500+ votes, Mobile Cuisine is proud to announce the 2013 Dessert Food Truck of the Year winner. With nearly 43 percent of the overall vote Custom Confections of Houston, TX has claimed the title.

We would like to congratulate the crew from Custom Confections and thank our readers for helping us with this poll.

You can follow Custom Confections on Twitter: @CustomDesserts

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Sysco LogoHOUSTON, TX - One of the largest food supply companies is buying one of its key rivals, creating an even larger, global distribution company.

Sysco is buying privately held US Foods for about $3.5 billion in cash and stock. When the deal closes, Sysco expects the addition of US Foods to boost its annual sales by about 46 percent to around $65 billion.

Sysco shares rose almost 10 percent Monday and hit their highest point in decades.

Houston’s Sysco will pay $3 billion in common stock and $500 million in cash. It will also assume or refinance about $4.7 billion in debt. That puts the total value of the deal at about $8.2 billion.

Sysco President and CEO Bill DeLaney said that the two companies have highly complementary core strengths including large product portfolios.

For the fiscal year that ended in June, Sysco’s sales totaled $44.41 billion. It trucks food and cooking supplies to about 425,000 customers through 193 locations in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

US Foods’ customers include independent and chain restaurants, health care and hospitality companies, and government and educational institutions. Major stakeholders in the company, based just outside of Chicago, in Rosemont, Ill., include Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP.

Representatives from both of those investment firms will join Sysco’s board.

When the deal closes, US Foods shareholders will own about 87 million shares, or about 13 percent, of Sysco’s common stock.

The buyout has been approved by the boards of both companies. Sysco said it expects the deal, which is set to close in the third calendar quarter of 2014, to immediately boost its profit after adjusting for acquisition-related costs and expenses. It’s also expected to create annual cost savings of at least $600 million after three or four years.

Moody’s Investors Service placed all of Sysco’s ratings, including its investment-grade “A1″ long-term rating, under review for possible downgrade. Moody’s said that while the deal makes sense and the price seems fair, a downgrade is likely given the amount of debt Sysco will assume.

Sysco shares rose $3.31, or 9.7 percent, to close at $37.62. The stock peaked earlier Monday at $43.40, its highest point since at least 1985. It’s up 19 percent this year.

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Caveman ChowHOUSTON, TX -  The food truck revolution is kicking into high gear in Houston, with many new restaurants-on-wheels hitting the streets each month. But one Houston woman and her business partners say they’re out thousands after hiring a company to build a food truck for their new business.

The deposit was put down and contract signed. But when it came time to building out the actual truck, they ran into problems. Now, they want their money back.

Back in August, Melissa Duarte with her business partners hired Food Group of America to build a food truck for a new business venture.

“We picked out at that time all the different kitchen equipment that we were going to need for the truck,” Duarte said.

To get the project started –

“The young lady that was there with us told us, ‘I need $5,000 down right now,’” she said.

Duarte says they paid the deposit and were promised to see a truck after the weekend, and the company would then build to their specifications after receiving another payment. That’s when they say the problems began.

“Monday and Tuesday turned into, ‘Come on Friday, well then come on Saturday.’ And then the following week started,” Duarte said.

According to Duarte, it was three weeks later Food Group of America brought in a truck from out of state. Duarte says the truck was too small to accommodate all of the features they asked for in the contract.

“For the next four weeks, there was somebody in Louisiana every single weekend per her text messages, or her phone calls. But yet no trucks were being produced,” Duarte said.

Duarte tells us they decided to break ties with the company and ask for a refund. After that request, she received a letter stating, “The project preparation for your project totals $4,500, leaving a store credit balance of $500.”

Find the entire article by Jeff Ehling  at abclocal.go.com <here>

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Pi Pizza Houston logoHOUSTON, TX - Pi Pizza Truck owner Anthony Calleo offered his most passionate fans a simple deal last year. Get a Pi Pizza Truck themed tattoo from  Scorpion Studios tattoo artist Gabe Massey, and he’ll give you one slice of pizza per day for life (or $8 off a whole pie) as long as his business is open. Incredibly, 22 people took him up on the offer, so it’s back for year two.

“Two years. We’re still kicking,” Calleo muses. Once again, Massey has designed a full sheet of tattoos inspired by Pi’s menu items that will cost between $60 and $200 per tattoo. Unlike last year, Calleo is only giving people two days, Friday and Saturday, to get tatted. Scorpion isn’t taking reservations. Starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, it’s first come. First inked.

Asked about the offer’s legacy, Calleo says he gives away about one slice per week to someone with one of the tattoos. “Some of (the people) I see pretty frequently . . . Every once in awhile I get a few (in the same week).”

Find the entire article at houston.culturemap.com <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Jacksonville, Birmingham, Houston and Helena.

Off the Wire Food Truck NewsNovember 8

Food trucks may be coming to Jacksonville Beach – JACKSONVILLE, FL - They’re tough to miss. The food truck trend is growing and basic economics can possibly explain it. They are in demand.

Johnny Hassan just cut into the business four months ago with his Cravings Mobile Kitchen. A new comer who saw an opportunity.

Find the entire article <here>

Birmingham leaders to vote on mobile vendor ordinance – BIRMINGHAM, AL - Change and regulations are on the way for food truck vendors and other mobile business operators in the city of Birmingham.

The Birmingham City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on an ordinance outlining laws for the businesses to follow. The guidelines include hours of operation, zones in which to operate and licensing rules.

Find the entire article <here>

November 9

Foodies unite at Houston’s Food Truck Festival – HOUSTON, TX  - Parked on the southwest side, the city’s favorite food trucks idled together for the 2nd Houston Food Truck Fest at Stereo Live.

The Bayou City rolls quite a few of gourmet food trucks aimed at showcasing the mobile chef driven business. The industry is growing into a close 4% of all restaurant sales…and on Saturday the best held a fest.

Find the entire article <here>

November 10

Chavela’s taco truck owner sees bright future, if he makes it through lean months – HELENA, MT - The owner of Chavela’s is the first to say that operating the mobile Mexican eatery has been a learning experience.

Leon Sanchez, 61, fired up his food truck in July upon retiring from more than 30 years as a postal worker in Helena.

Find the entire article <here>

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houston food truck murder arrest 2

Image from ktrk

HOUSTON, TX –  The second suspect in the capital murder of a food truck operator in northwest Harris County is now in custody.

Adrian Gomez was arrested in Madisonville at around 5:30am Wednesday, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Officials say he was sitting outside a closed business and caught the attention of an officer there. The officer ran a background check and found that he was wanted in Harris County.

Earlier this month, another suspect, John Ray Aycock, was arrested by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitive Task Force and is currently in the Harris County Jail. He’s being held without bond.

Both Gomez and Aycock are charged with capital murder for the October 12 slaying of Lorenzo Juan Vasquez, who was operating a food truck. Officials say the murder happened while the Gomez and Aycock were robbing Vasquez.

Prosecutors tell us Aycock pretended to be buying food and at that time while Gomez shot Vazquez in the head. Police say Aycock stayed behind until police arrived and even went as far as identifying his accomplice, Gomez, as the killer.

“Officers learned through their investigation that there was another food truck in the same area that had been robbed,” said Harris County prosecutor Mary McFaden. “They were able to obtain surveillance footage of that robbery and they were able to learn that Mr. Aycock had taken part in the robbery along with Mr. Gomez. They then went back and talked to Mr. Aycock who fully confessed to being a part of both robberies.”

Gomez will be transfered to the Harris County Jail.

Find the original story at abclocal.go.com/ktrk <here>

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