It's What's On the Inside AND the Outside That Counts
When we arrive at any food truck event, we often find ourselves ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the exterior features of other food trucks. Well-wrapped trucks with splashy imagery greet us and other clients happily, inviting us to order from their windows. One of our future goals is to also have bright, eye-catching imagery, but currently our truck is mostly plain. Plain white. We have made a few small modifications from when we originally purchased the truck, but to be honest, it's what has occurred inside the truck that has captured our moolah. A lot of it.
So, here is where I start this series. Only because I have so much advice rattling around like the loosened rivets in our truck, I can't tell you when this series will end. And if you hear our stories (filled with both hilarity and horror), you will truly be able to see a) why we have so many grey hairs, b) if owning a food truck is truly your thing, and c) how owning a food truck is not always glamorous!
So back to the whole "it's-what-inside-that-counts". Yes, it's important to have a food truck that will draw in the crowds. That's the whole reason we do what we do! But, remember we are both driving a commercial vehicle and operating a commercial kitchen. The mechanics of both of those operations require knowledge and patience.
Thankfully, our vehicle had been decked out with beautiful, well-maintained equipment. But even that equipment requires maintenance and care! In addition, our truck has been held to different standards and requirements in each city, county, and state. Most recently, we were required to install a $2,000 fire suppression system in order to participate in an event. We really, really, really wanted to participate in this event, so we bit the bullet and installed the system. Several weeks after that, we were told that we had to change all our outlets - something we had not been made aware of despite numerous inspections. But we concurred.
At the very minimum, it's essential that you know the requirements for each location you plan to visit. They may have codes that you are not aware of that will prevent the operation of your truck for that day or that event. It's also essential that the equipment you do own is checked regularly, preferably before you hit the road each time!
Part 1a -What Happens When You Don't Tie Down Your Equipment Before Driving Off
I get asked about the creation of this business so often that I will attempt to appease those queries with a discourse of our origins. (Did I mention that I was an English teacher?) Well, follow me on this...
This truck is combination of efforts from a multitude of peoples. It all started twenty-one years ago when I met my husband Tom on a blind date.
Oh wait; you don't want to read about the origin of origins.
Well, Tom's sister is a caterer. Her dream was to own a food truck.
A food truck was found in a land far, far away. Or 2 hours away.
Tom purchased the food truck for his sister and I to operate, but mainly his sister. I didn't realize I was going to operate the food truck at the time and likewise, I don't think Penni was prepared to operate a food truck either. But , despite being a sudden purchase, there we were - owners of a Fed Ex-sized truck.
We quickly learned all about Lesson 1 (future blog post) which is HAVE A PLAN! In a matter of days, I found myself needing to be legally certified to serve food, legally certified to drive a truck, legally certified to operate a kitchen on wheels. These are all things that can be achieved relatively quick, but one needs the proper knowledge to maintain those things. (The Internet comes in handy for this.)
So, if you are considering operating a food truck, food wagon, food cart, know that it helps to start with a business plan. A marketing plan. ANY plan.
My goal with this blog is to take you on our day-to-day adventures, as well as educate you on how to properly operate a food truck (especially in the state of Michigan, though some lessons can be applicable to any state).
So, that's it. The official first blog. Well, actually second blog, but the first one was too boring.
There really is no glamorous beginning to our story, it's just our story. And sometimes that makes for decent entertainment!
Welcome to our newest page! I have decided to start documenting our journey and I would love for you to follow along!
I intend for some of these blog posts to be filled with hilarity as well as provide some serious input into what it is like to own a mobile business.
Follow along on our adventures and mishaps.