Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Chefb28

Starting up your own food truck?

Recommended Posts

Hello all, I'm wondering if there is anybody on here that has helped open or owns there own food truck? I'm trying to get some pointers on where to start( operating costs, good deals on trucks etc) I think I have a good idea of what I want to serve for food. I just would like some pointers on how to start something like this? also I like to add, I think the location is going to be in Nashville,TN but dojn't know where exactly in TN. Any help would be awesome!

Thanks! :smile:


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try checking out your local health department, and their regulations.

Here, for example, you need to turn in plans before having a vehicle made or re-fitted for food service. You also, at least here, stock it and clean it at a health-department licensed facility. There are specific guidelines for hand-washing facilities, water storage, ice storage, etc. Your regulations will probably be different, but, it's better to know in advance rather than be fined or shut down later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First you have to get a state liscense, then one for the town you will operate in(health dept, zoning) consider rent of whoever's property you park on, even if its for half a day. Maintenance and up keep on the equiptment, as well as the truck itself, if its broken down you dont work. Setting up accounts with vendors or just shopping at Sams Club? Set up accounts. Consider costs of your opening inventory, Where will deliveries by purveyors be made? Where will the truck be parked in off hours? Consider 3 months operating capital to open. Find a reliable mechanic. Have Multiple spots lined up in the event one doesn't work. These are the issues I'm dealing with as I prepare to do the same. Look online for used trucks, go to see it in person, try to have a mechanic check it out, inspect the equiptment, the propane tanks and guages, the plumbing lines..........good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timh, Thanks for the info that really helps, fourtunatlly I know a great mechanic, so that's relly going to help. Also do you know if you have to be inspected by the health department to make sure that you're up to code before you can get a licencse? Good luck to you as well!

Thanks


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish my town had good street/truck food. Even my culturally diverse hometown of Toronto is chicken shit in this regard -- the municipality is afraid of anything that isn't a hot dog. Apparently Portland, Oregon is the place to get excited about mobile food vending.

What food are you going to sell?


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, you do have to pass health dept before local towns will liscence. Most trucks, if maintained(cleaned) are built to spec for health dept regs anyway. Just make sure sold storage is cold(thermometers) and hot storage(steam tables, soup bains, etc) are hot(thermometers). 3 bay sink set up(wash rinse, sanitize) Hand sink, soap, and papertowels, gloves.......same as a brick and mortar. Also think about where you will store your inventory. A truck probably wont have enough refer to hold prep and raw product. There are creative answers to this issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish my town had good street/truck food. Even my culturally diverse hometown of Toronto is chicken shit in this regard -- the municipality is afraid of anything that isn't a hot dog. Apparently Portland, Oregon is the place to get excited about mobile food vending.

What food are you going to sell?

Yup I can confirm that Portland has one of the best, if not the best street cuisine. Living here I've have sampled a lot of the street food, and it's great. When people come to visit they always ask where to go, while I give them some restaurants that they need to go to I always tell them that some of the best in food in Portland isn't in the restaurants, it's on the streets. And lately PDX has been getting a lot of play in national publications for the street cuisine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish my town had good street/truck food. Even my culturally diverse hometown of Toronto is chicken shit in this regard -- the municipality is afraid of anything that isn't a hot dog. Apparently Portland, Oregon is the place to get excited about mobile food vending.

What food are you going to sell?

I'm not exactly sure what kind of food I'm going to serve, I'll probably serve simular foods that are hugr in TN, lot of fresh seafood so I'm thinking catfish po-boys, crab cake sliders with panchetta and home made creole remoulade and house pickles, maybe sous vide beef cheek tacos, bacon-beer brats with traditional accompanyments. I basically want to keep it simple and utilizing local farmers. I'm planning on a trip out to TN, so I can see what the locals are eating.


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As born and bred Tn'er, be prepared to be underwhelmed with the culinary offerings, and overwhelmed w/ the number of fast food places.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As born and bred Tn'er, be prepared to be underwhelmed with the culinary offerings, and overwhelmed w/ the number of fast food places.

Yeah I could totally see that, being in the south and all, hopefully one day I'll be able to change that. But what are some things that you like to eat? also what would you like to see different in the cuisine?


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every city needs a kimchi taco truck that announces its location exclusively via Twitter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO ideas I would feel safe attempting:

Taco/burrito

BBQ

burger/hot dog(creative)

Fried chicken(variations)

Cajun

Soul food

focusing on one theme. keep it simple ,high quality, and cheap.


Edited by Timh (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO ideas I would feel safe attempting:

Taco/burrito

BBQ

burger/hot dog(creative)

Fried chicken(variations)

Cajun

Soul food

focusing on one theme. keep it simple ,high quality, and cheap.

Definitely that's the way I want it to be great ingredients, but cheap! I do definitely wan a taco of some sort, maybe I change the taco every week, I like the idea of fried chicken and soul food. I don't know when this truck thing is going to happen. I'm just getting ideas of what kind of food I'll sell and just starting up.

Thanks


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to bump this thread but did the OP ever get his truck up and running? Having some similar issues as I'm going the food truck route. In my city it is tough to start finding a truck when the regulations are recently undergoing changes (to allow for a more diverse street food scene - aside from the hot dogs and ice cream, pre-packaged stuff).


Aman Adatia

eat my LIFE

@amanadatia

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for bumping this thread - I'm just thinking about this myself. Any suggestions are welcome.


Edited by violetfox (log)

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO ideas I would feel safe attempting:

Taco/burrito

BBQ

burger/hot dog(creative)

Fried chicken(variations)

Cajun

Soul food

focusing on one theme. keep it simple ,high quality, and cheap.

Definitely that's the way I want it to be great ingredients, but cheap! I do definitely wan a taco of some sort, maybe I change the taco every week, I like the idea of fried chicken and soul food. I don't know when this truck thing is going to happen. I'm just getting ideas of what kind of food I'll sell and just starting up.

Thanks

Sorry to bump this thread but did the OP ever get his truck up and running? Having some similar issues as I'm going the food truck route. In my city it is tough to start finding a truck when the regulations are recently undergoing changes (to allow for a more diverse street food scene - aside from the hot dogs and ice cream, pre-packaged stuff).

I've am a Day 1 employee of a truck that has operated in Lansing Michigan since May of this year. All I can say is triple check everything with your local health department, City Clerk's Office, Zoning Board, any local "economic development councils," ect..Also, before opening, find a handful of places that agree to let you set-up on short notice.

We had a nightmare opening day because of an issue with our water system that our health inspector should have recognized in his initial walk through. The nightmare was drawn out through the first month because no one in the Clerk's office thought to mention that we should check with a "Development Authority" to see if we would be violating any bylaws by operating in an area under their authority.

After being literally forced to shut down by the police and told that we couldn't open in any of the spots we had planned on (and paid license fees for) we struggled for a month+ to find and rent places to serve. We eventually latched on with a couple of farmer's markets and a district that loves to have us a few days a week.

It has been a moderately successful season and we have a lot of good opportunities looking forward but triple-checking local laws/regulations, making contingency plans pre-open could have meant a great summer for us.

Food-wise, our concept has always been to keep it simple, utilize the best and freshest ingredients available (become friends with the farmers & bakers around you), do things the right way, and check the smoker at least every 30 minutes.

The name of the place is Trailer Park'd, the facebook is http://www.facebook.com/trailerparkd and the website is http://www.trailerparked.com

I am not an owner so I won't be able to answer certain questions but I'll try to impart any wisdom I can

279043_217364228301085_168460736524768_548038_2442761_o.jpg

art5964widea.jpg

226760_200663016637873_168460736524768_479285_2824847_n.jpg

286725_240842269286614_168460736524768_608635_3079631_o.jpg

322284_244392678931573_168460736524768_618731_1496477569_o.jpg

post-64459-0-50135500-1305210082.jpg

281337_230082377029270_168460736524768_580885_7761358_n.jpg

281530_222495264454648_168460736524768_561217_1311083_n.jpg


Edited by Smitty (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our local food truck operators has been blogging for a long while about his experience of starting and running his business, Clover Food Lab. The drop down menu on the right lets you sort through the posts by categories like financing, licensing, packaging, cleaning, etc. There's even a download of a presentation they gave on how to start a food truck: Food truck 101.

Though some info is specific to their locations in Boston and Cambridge, MA, there are many interesting observations about the daily joys and troubles of the food truck business that might be helpful.

No affiliation, though I am a fan of their food.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our local food truck operators has been blogging for a long while about his experience of starting and running his business, Clover Food Lab. The drop down menu on the right lets you sort through the posts by categories like financing, licensing, packaging, cleaning, etc. There's even a download of a presentation they gave on how to start a food truck: Food truck 101.

Though some info is specific to their locations in Boston and Cambridge, MA, there are many interesting observations about the daily joys and troubles of the food truck business that might be helpful.

No affiliation, though I am a fan of their food.

Fantastic documentation! Really appreciate the link!


Aman Adatia

eat my LIFE

@amanadatia

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO ideas I would feel safe attempting:

Taco/burrito

BBQ

burger/hot dog(creative)

Fried chicken(variations)

Cajun

Soul food

focusing on one theme. keep it simple ,high quality, and cheap.

Definitely that's the way I want it to be great ingredients, but cheap! I do definitely wan a taco of some sort, maybe I change the taco every week, I like the idea of fried chicken and soul food. I don't know when this truck thing is going to happen. I'm just getting ideas of what kind of food I'll sell and just starting up.

Thanks

Hmmm.. how about Fried Chicken thigh Tacos topped with Cabbage Escabeche, Pickled Jalapenos & thick, soured Buttermilk (are there any tortillerias in Nashville that make thick "home made" style corn tortillas?

Catfish tacos Ensenada Style beer batter

Smoked Sparerib Tacos with Salsa de Cacahuate (Peanut, Tomato, Arbol Chile, Roasted Garlic Salsa)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our local food truck operators has been blogging for a long while about his experience of starting and running his business, Clover Food Lab. The drop down menu on the right lets you sort through the posts by categories like financing, licensing, packaging, cleaning, etc. There's even a download of a presentation they gave on how to start a food truck: Food truck 101.

Though some info is specific to their locations in Boston and Cambridge, MA, there are many interesting observations about the daily joys and troubles of the food truck business that might be helpful.

No affiliation, though I am a fan of their food.

Thanks! That's very helpful!


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do any of you know what the make/model of these trucks are?

Thanks :biggrin:

770_500.jpg

perogy-boyz-calgary-food-truck.jpg


Aman Adatia

eat my LIFE

@amanadatia

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...