FOOD TRUCK CRAZE….
We’ve all seen them…What are today’s food entrepreneurs turning to…the new Food Truck. It’s gourmet on wheels.
Looking for a fun way to pick up the slack and increase the paycheck during these tough economic times? Why not try a simple service business, such as driving a food catering truck? This is surly a way to create a unique food Brand…. It’s all about uniqueness and a delicious cuisine.
The "food truck" invasion is taking over America's street corners from LA to NYC and Portland to Austin. Once the haunt of blue collar workers, food trucks now attract generation Y technocrats who track elusive food truck locations via Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. Rumor has it that tracking via GPS will be available all too soon.
Treats on Trucks
There are no limits to the types of food that are now being sold from trucks and carts--a million chicken dishes; Korean BBQ tacos; Indian curries; sushi; waffles; cupcakes; rice balls; regular, gourmet, eco-friendly, or Black Angus, grass-fed, organic burgers; vegan-friendly fare; ice cream treats and desserts of every type and delicious design; and soon, frog legs courtesy of SF's Chez Spencer.
And no surprise here, along with local foodie entrepreneurs, corporate giants like Taco Bell, Duncan Donuts, and Baja Fresh are riding the gravy train--or truck, in this case. Even the chefs from Too Hot Tamales have hit the road with their Border Grill Truck.
The gourmet food truck craze has taken over LA, with popular roving catering trucks maintaining a following by using Twitter to let their fans know where they can catch their latest Korean taco or coconut cupcake fix. You can feel like a local by joining the queue for one of these meals or treats on wheels. Following these mobile commissaries on Twitter can have added bonus of letting you in on where a hot nightclub event, festival or free concert is happening, since the trucks follow the crowds.
The Food This is The Great Food Truck Race, where seven real teams representing the country's best food trucks hit the road to cook their way across America. Each week, the teams that sell the most food race on to the next episode. The losing team drives home. In the end, one food truck remains, and the team behind the wheel and the grill wins the $50,000 grand prize.
Starting a Food Truck Business
Why start a food truck or cart rather than open a restaurant? The two prime reasons--start up costs, which can be considerably less (generally 10s rather than 100s of thousands for a truck), and profit margins, which can be considerably more (estimates run 50 percent for food trucks versus 10 percent for restaurants). In his August Wall Street Journal article, Raymund Flandez offers the following steps to start a food truck business:
- Buy a used truck cheap. Choices include buying a used truck and retrofitting it, buying a new truck, or leasing. Given that a new truck can cost between $100,000 and $120,000, it's probably not the most attractive option. Smaller, portable food carts may be suitable (and cheaper) for certain types of foods.
- Find a good location. Easier said than done! If food truckers don't have access to private property, they are often held hostage by state and local rules, regulations, and ordinances about where they can park, and for how long--if they can get a vendor permit or license in the first place.
- Use social networking technology. Probably the easiest of the three steps given how quickly a food trucker can obtain and update a Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter page. It's entirely possible that part of the attraction for the technologically savvy "bougie" crowd is the phenomenon of being "in the know" when others are clueless.
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