This week’s 5 on Friday we spoke with the 18 year old owner of the Champaign, IL based food truck, The Crave Truck.


Image from NFIB Entrepreneurship Video Contest 2012

Name: Zach Ware

Age: 18

Food truck name: The Crave Truck

Location: Champaign-Urbana (central Illinois)

Year started in the mobile food industry: Build-out 2010. Launched- 2011

Mobile Cuisine: Why did you become a food truck owner, chef?

Zach Ware: My dad gave me his 1967 Camero convertible when I was 15. It has been sitting in his garage since the day I was born waiting to be restored. When I got my driver’s license, I purchased a ten-year old 944 Porche with my savings. My step-dad spent many nights working under the hood with me so I could have a cool ride. This was expensive and I needed a job to fix-up these two cool cars, but I was competing with forty year-olds for positions that used to be held by high-schoolers. Naturally, I crossed paths with others online who were tricking-out their food trucks while I sourced parts for my cars. My mom called it “Food Truck Envy.” Then the idea hit me: I could sell both of my cars and build a food truck that would generate income to buy a better car. Or something like that.

MC: Who has been the most influential person in your culinary career?

ZW: I grew-up in a foodie family: We watch TV shows like Top Chef, Hells Kitchen, and Chopped with the same fan-fare that most families reserve for football. At 12, I was drafted into working in our family’s bakery/cafe. Beyond a doubt, my parents have influenced and supported my culinary career the most.

MC: What do you think sets your truck apart from your competitors?

ZW: From day one, we focused on brand: Ours is hip, engaged, unique, and focused on quality and service.

MC: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself and your food truck in 2 and 5 years?

ZW: In two years, I hope to roll-out another truck or two under the same brand, but different menu concepts. I also want to help develop this industry, I would love to do consulting, public speaking, or even better understand food truck legislation. Within five years, I hope to be able to launch a brick and mortar restaurant capitalizing on the brand I have created. I have had a couple of franchise inquiries on the food truck concept, but I haven’t figured out how to control the brand I’ve created enough to trust someone else with being true to it. And oh, I start my freshman year in college this fall, so there are no easy paths for me.

MC: What one suggestion would you give to someone planning to open a food new truck?

ZW: Meet with your health department during the idea stage and implement their suggestions. Develop your social network as soon as possible by being authentic, transparent, and reciprocal. Start searching for the best staff and include them in the concept as planning turns to doing.

Crave Truck

Twitter: @thecravetruck

Food Truck making authentic Belgian Street Waffles on the spot for the local Illini & Cent IL places

Champaign, IL ·