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jmoney7269
07-03-2013, 07:15 AM
So my mother is retiring in a couple months and is under the impression that she can't take it all with her. Which I'm like hell yeah! She is liquidating a few assets and wants to help my sister and I each start our own business. This came about at a Cookoff, I was being asked all kinds of questions by her and was like "why are you asking me all these questions?" Then she told me about her plan. I was like OMG! I don't wanna work at Home Depot all of my life. The only reason I took this job was for the set schedule, vacation all and sick days. I used to be in the restaurant scene. Worked at Applebee's as a bartender amd moved up to kitchen manager. Worked at Chilis as a bartender and became the bar manager. Had extremely good #'s thanks to some business classes I took alon the way at blinn college. I feel extremely confident in this venture and have it all planned out. I would like some of the vendors that do BBQ, sandwiches, sides, catering to chime in and lemme know if I'm missing anything on this truck. At first I plan on using my vault and adding it to a cpt-1 double tandem Pitmaker trailer with a magnum sniper and insulated firebox, towing it and cooking on site. If its as busy as I hope I want to run a double magnum sniper and double vault setup. I have eaten at every BBQ Mecca in Texas and know I can produce the same results. a place right down the road that my buddy manages said i could buy all the meats from him at a few cents/# over cost. Our city has lots of events and cities neighboring have even more. Here is the finished quote and layout.
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/A79168FD-802A-4353-9DC2-B5FF2C9FECF8-663-000000FA2055E43B.jpg
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/91819397-1BAC-4A57-9E47-3B023E186463-663-000000F0ED57A6EC.jpg
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/851CE04F-6585-4035-8B41-5DA7F4962428-663-000000F0F09FC680.jpg
This is the exterior of the truck but it will have our BBQ logo on it.
Will be serving pinto beans, my moms top secret cole slaw, fries, stuffed pulled pork potatoes, pulled pork sandwiches, brisket, sliced brisket sandwiches, and at bigger events the infamous Disneyland turkey legs, and ribeye blt's. Not pictured will be a butter bath bun toaster for final sandwich assembly.
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/AD4979AB-7D75-468F-AD52-8EC3BA05EEFE-663-000000F7F3F74A4E.jpg

deguerre
07-03-2013, 07:22 AM
Now THAT'S a cool thing. Wishing you even more good fortune.

dwfisk
07-03-2013, 07:25 AM
Wow, what a plan! I don't do vending or catering, but as a customer who frequents food trucks & trailers, have you considered a fold out awning on the customer window side. i'm thinking if you make the ordering/pick-up window a comfortable spot (Texas sun & rain) compared to competitors it might just increase your business.

jmoney7269
07-03-2013, 07:32 AM
Wow, what a plan! I don't do vending or catering, but as a customer who frequents food trucks & trailers, have you considered a fold out awning on the customer window side. i'm thinking if you make the ordering/pick-up window a comfortable spot (Texas sun & rain) compared to competitors it might just increase your business.

That's a great idea keep em coming. Addded

nthole
07-03-2013, 08:29 AM
As a food truck fan I would absolutely suggest the awning as well. In fact, if you can create an ambiance outside the truck, those are always my favorite.

I'd go back and watch every eat street and great food truck race episode you can. And if you have a local food truck association get in contact with them.

jmoney7269
07-03-2013, 09:11 AM
I have watched every episode of the Tyler Florence great food truck race. Those trucks are small and under equipped for what I want to do and the volume. It is a great series and love picking up every bit of advise i can. when its something i love doing im like a sponge. Here is the updated layout.
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/50558B9D-C006-40FB-A88F-1F00408F5742-663-0000010DE029F56C.jpg

nthole
07-03-2013, 09:24 AM
Are you planning on grilling or serving bbq? If BBQ I don't see a smoker on board. Doing that somewhere else and then heating there?

Iamarealbigdog
07-03-2013, 10:05 AM
consider to shorten the width of your service counter, you will be reaching over it serving our the window, bending over it and reaching. Going to a 18" profile will let you bellie up a bit closer whil still having some workspace.

Do you have screens or sliding windows over the consession window... Check with your HD to what they want

cpw
07-03-2013, 10:10 AM
every successful vendor I've seen at a BBQ event has big obnoxious signs and lights and flags and all that sort of stuff. Maybe think about some sort of marquee that you can put up and take down that would go on top of the truck (plus it would help hide the exhaust hoods).

jmoney7269
07-03-2013, 10:14 AM
every successful vendor I've seen at a BBQ event has big obnoxious signs and lights and flags and all that sort of stuff. Maybe think about some sort of marquee that you can put up and take down that would go on top of the truck (plus it would help hide the exhaust hoods).

Once the project is completed down the road, we are gonna do a complete vynl wrap. Will have a custom canopy tent designed with lighting to create a beautiful ambience. Just gotta get into business first. Will worry about all the red tape later. There will not be screens on the srving window, just a insulated sliding window

Tsevg9
07-06-2013, 11:43 PM
Are you planning on grilling or serving bbq? If BBQ I don't see a smoker on board. Doing that somewhere else and then heating there?

+1? I'm curious about where the Q'in is taking place

Looks like a nice layout though! Good luck!

landarc
07-07-2013, 12:00 AM
The plan he stated is to have a trailer rig that can be towed. That would allow more flexibility. I can see problems with that as well, but, the ability to either have the smokers or not, that actually makes sense, especially if you get into a situation where your vend site is smaller than desired, or you end up having to vend something other than Q.

I do wonder, at least out here, all trucks and tents need to have separate money/order windows from food/serving windows. Have you either built in the ability, or determined that you will not need separate windows?

Is that enough refrigeration? Are you going to be vending other than BBQ? If so, that looks a little less than optimal for meats and other items.

caseydog
07-07-2013, 12:13 AM
I didn't see any mention of where you are going to market your food. Are you planning to do this in Brenham, or take your food truck to nearby Houston?

You can buy the perfect truck, cook awesome food, but in the end, who are you going to sell it to? In the free market world of supply and demand, IMO, demand is WAY more important than supply.

This is where I get sideways with supply-side economics. You can have the money to build a business, but if there is not sufficient demand for what that business makes, you are NOT going to stay in business.

I am self-employed -- have been most of my adult life. I can assure you that having a good supply of capital to start a business is nice, but unless you have a big enough market of consumers to buy your goods, you WILL fail.

Don't just research how to spend your capital on a fantastic food truck, spend twice as much time researching where and how to make money from that food truck. Having the perfect food truck, and not enough customers to keep it in business is worse than not having any food truck at all, IMO.

I am not trying to discourage you. If this is what you want to do, then go for it. But, do it right. have a good plan, and work that plan. Don't just do it because you suddenly you CAN do it. Be patient and get it right.

CD

Pyle's BBQ
07-07-2013, 12:20 AM
Honestly, I don't see how anyone with cooking experience would want to work in that kitchen. If you want speed and you do, there is no steam table to hold finished product for sandwiches. You will want a holding area for fries and your baked potatoes. Get a dry toaster the butter one will be a big mess. This is the one I use Prince Castle (http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant-supplies-equipment/Product_121058) and get very good results. What are the 6 burner stove, flatt grill and charbroil grill for? You do not have anything on your menu that would dictate that equipment. A cold table near the serving window for cold side would help in serving. These are just a few things I noticed.

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 12:43 AM
Honestly, I don't see how anyone with cooking experience would want to work in that kitchen. If you want speed and you do, there is no steam table to hold finished product for sandwiches. You will want a holding area for fries and your baked potatoes. Get a dry toaster the butter one will be a big mess. This is the one I use Prince Castle (http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant-supplies-equipment/Product_121058) and get very good results. What are the 6 burner stove, flatt grill and charbroil grill for? You do not have anything on your menu that would dictate that equipment. A cold table near the serving window for cold side would help in serving. These are just a few things I noticed.
Well, lucky for me that you wouldn't want to work in it then. It's a limited menu and do not require but all of that. I'm about fresh sliced In front of the customer service. If you don't do that in Texas, you probably don't have a very successful BBQ restaurant.
The 3 foot table near the fryers will have a Glo-ray infrared heat lamp. The burner is a step up design that has a convection oven below. On that we will make the BBQ sauce fresh, pinto beans and whatever else we need it for. The reach in will have all the cold sides along with the sandwich build, which the last pic clearly shows ;) That is a full sized proofer that can hold 25 briskets including sides, without sides even more. The flat top will be for burgers, the charbroiler will be for the ribeye sandwiches. I will have a butter bath bun toaster, the same one I used in Chilis for 5 years similar to the one you posted with a pan to roll them first. if the service window is of a certain size it will pass HD Inspection. The guy that is going to build this IMO is top of the industry. He builds them according to your states HD codes, all you gotta do is pay him and they make it happen. This is not gonna typical food truck you see on tv the little 18-20 footers, its a 31' long freightliner with a 26' work area. There will be no cramping. I have worked in high volume commercial kitchens (45-70k weekly sales average)since I was old enough to work and even before that when my parents owned a restaurant at one of my grandmas hotels. There is a big following of vending in our area and I expect no problems of business and will choose my own hrs and events. Got 2 friends that vend carnivals and antique festivals and make over 100k with just a basic vending trailer with a flat top, fryer and beverage station, nothing fancy. Will be mainly Doing Brenham football games, ATM games, antique festivals, and local carnivals. Might even open up one day a week like snows bbq. just like debeers diamonds, hold back product, create demand. It will have a HWH hydraulic leveling system so I can pull up anywhere, push a button to level up, push a button to get the generator going and prep and cook. Generator uses 1/2 gal hr of fuel@50% load which is right about where I will be. All advertisement will be from a website that will sell all of my rubs once I market them, and the vinyl wrap will have info on it, as well as social media advertising which is free via Skype, Facebook and twitter. Hell you never know, guy fieri might even stop by one day. I appreciate some of the concerns, but I pretty much got it all figured out.

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 02:03 AM
Well, lucky for me that you wouldn't want to work in it then.....

No need to speak to someone that way when they are giving you legit advice that you asked for. This is a pretty quick way to turn people off from offering any advice, just my opinion.

....... I appreciate some of the concerns, but I pretty much got it all figured out.

Great that you "have it all figured out." Than why did you start this thread?

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 02:27 AM
No need to speak to someone that way when they are giving you legit advice that you asked for. This is a pretty quick way to turn people off from offering any advice, just my opinion.



Great that you "have it all figured out." Than why did you start this thread?

The thread was started to add any ideas to the already existing ones. Don't go hacking up what I said like the liberal media. Already and pretty much aren't the same. Pretty sure I don't need any lessons in semantics, but how else are you supposed to respond to Pylebbq's opening statement. Some people post to degrade, down, help, debate, naysay, and even whistleblow. Just depends on the nature of a post and how it's construed. Sorry if ya took it the wrong way. What was gonna be your helpful Idea to the OP?
People that poke have no problems takin pokes also. :boink:

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 02:41 AM
I do wonder, at least out here, all trucks and tents need to have separate money/order windows from food/serving windows. Have you either built in the ability, or determined that you will not need separate windows?

:biggrin1::boink: where you live again? Oh yeah that's right CA. We were doing a job there a few years ago and rented a lull telescoping lift and it popped a hydraulic line spilling about 3 gal of hydraulic fluid on a aspalt parking lot. Before we knew it there was police and a hazmat crew that we had to pay for to dig up the parking lot surface and repave it. Talk about a crock of ****! Wtf is in asphalt? Petroleum hot oil! Needless to say we never accepted a job there ever again. Anywhere else you just sprinkle a bunch of absorbent granules on it, scoop it up and dispose of it properly, but noooooooo we had to do it the $10k
Way. Just pokin at ya a little lol

little bit of r & r
07-07-2013, 07:43 AM
You started the threading get help and see what everyone else would do and when they offer advic you insult them. Best of luck in the venture but I think it is time you are taught some humility through a bought lesson. Every successful business owner listens for advice from everyone.

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 08:08 AM
You started the threading get help and see what everyone else would do and when they offer advic you insult them. Best of luck in the venture but I think it is time you are taught some humility through a bought lesson. Every successful business owner listens for advice from everyone.

So you beleive that this venture needs to fail for me to be taught a lesson? Thanks, but no thanks. And I'm here to listen. There have been some great ideas posted here. Some through email and pm also. Lets not make this thread about the Fable of the scorpion and the frog. If ya have any helpful advise for the truck, then by all means please post it, and leave the personal attacks at me out of it. Thanks for all the posts guys. I have made some changes according to some comments.

RangerJ
07-07-2013, 10:07 AM
I have no idea why I'm going down this rabbit hole...

J, I'm curious as to what the rules / laws in your counties about the prepping of the food. Seems like the truck itself will meet all the needs of a commercial kitchen but no one allows food to be cooked at home and many require the pits to be screened in. I guess if your hauling your pits behind you and cooking onsite your good to go but if your plan is to cook and hold for like Brenham football, etc. Where are you going to do the actual smoking?

I punted on the food truck idea for two reasons, a.- no one is liquidating any funds my way and it was not cheap as I'm sure you know. b.- I could not figure out the pit issue. Well I could but I'm giving into the "Texas Hype" and using "non gassers".

so, I'm going with a trailer and a screened in porch. allows me to smoke just about where ever I'm at.

Looks like an awesome rig!

coastal
07-07-2013, 10:20 AM
stuffed pulled pork potatoes and turkey legs are two of my favorite things. Especially in events. I would hire you for a small 50 person work party we have every year if you were in SC.

Good luck and keep the updates coming. This is a 10 year down the line dream of mine and I am anxious to see how it goes for you.

Out of curiosity what is your start up budget if you dont mind me asking

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 01:51 PM
I have no idea why I'm going down this rabbit hole...

J, I'm curious as to what the rules / laws in your counties about the prepping of the food. Seems like the truck itself will meet all the needs of a commercial kitchen but no one allows food to be cooked at home and many require the pits to be screened in. I guess if your hauling your pits behind you and cooking onsite your good to go but if your plan is to cook and hold for like Brenham football, etc. Where are you going to do the actual smoking?

I punted on the food truck idea for two reasons, a.- no one is liquidating any funds my way and it was not cheap as I'm sure you know. b.- I could not figure out the pit issue. Well I could but I'm giving into the "Texas Hype" and using "non gassers".

so, I'm going with a trailer and a screened in porch. allows me to smoke just about where ever I'm at.

Looks like an awesome rig!

Rabbit hole? Thats where the adventure begins. Wes thanks for the inquiry. I will check into it further, but there are several restaurants that my buddy's own or have owned that did not have screened in pits. The trailer will be hooked up via receiver hitch and will just be leveld via lynx drive on levelers. You can cook and hold or you can cook on site if you have a permit and your kitchen is inspected via local city HD. If the pit is not inside or part of the building it's not necessary for it to be stainless or NSF approved and screened in. That's for insect control mainly, but there will be no prepping done near the pits so I'm good. Very good questions. Definitely need to have all the bases covered.

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 01:53 PM
stuffed pulled pork potatoes and turkey legs are two of my favorite things. Especially in events. I would hire you for a small 50 person work party we have every year if you were in SC.

Good luck and keep the updates coming. This is a 10 year down the line dream of mine and I am anxious to see how it goes for you.

Out of curiosity what is your start up budget if you dont mind me asking

$200k

PanamaExpat
07-07-2013, 02:49 PM
Since I am new here, but not new to being self employed I hate starting off with a critical post. If your start up budget is 200K and you sink all of that into the truck and smoker that you pull behind it then I must ask what are you going to operate on? 200K is peanuts in the business world. And that truck is going to run close to that.

Now for your truck. Have you ever been inside a Utilimaster chassis? How many people are going to be working in it at the same time? Your center aisle is going to be what maybe 26 to 28 inches wide at best. Putting a stove and flat top right across from your customer window is pure folly. You have a window person and a cook... They are going to be pretty tight up and butt bumping continuously. The first time your counter help bumps into your cook and goes off balance you are going to have a burn injury on your hands. Moving your gen set center chassis and your stove grill aft makes far more sense. Looking at your design I doubt that you have enough room to swing open the doors on your freezer and fridge. Your layout needs a lot more editing and thought overall.

Now let's take up your attitude.... IT SUCKS. You ask for help and then rain on anyone that offers positive advice. You can't be self employed and have an attitude like that. You will have a rep like Amy's Baking Company before you know it. I am not hating or denigrating I am just telling you that you need to change modes before you step off the end of the dock.

I wish you all the luck with your start up... But please mellow out and take the suggestions you receive better. Mobile food is a whole different animal than theme restaurant brick and mortars.

But then again.... As you said... You have it all figured out. You need to add some humility to that recipe.

little bit of r & r
07-07-2013, 02:49 PM
With 200k you would've better to open a restaurant than trying to vend. Vending is not as glorious as it seems.

Fooskey
07-07-2013, 02:56 PM
I recently took possession of a newly built 38' gooseneck concession trailer. The first issue that jumped out to me based on my limited experience is the size of your water tanks, especially when you are selling fountain sodas. Also, you have to consider the source and quality of water when doing that. You will be required to get water from an approved source.

After getting your water from the approved source, you have to get it to the fountain at the correct rate of flow (additional pumps w/pressure tanks), and it will likely need to be filtered of chlorine after leaving the tank. I learned about the chlorine filter the hard way when at my first event, the soda tasted like it was made with pool water.

Also, I do not see any notes about an ice machine. We go through an incredible amount of ice, and the cold plate on your fountain will consume far more than you think. Even with a 200 pound ice maker, we are constantly using bagged ice to keep up with demand.

We carry about 200 gallons of water in our tanks, and have 200 gallons more in a support vehicle tanks. (support vehicles could be their own topic) The support vehicle tanks were purchased out of necessity in the middle of a long event where we ran out of water.

Even with the fountain, you will also need to carry plenty of bottled water and cans of soda/gatorade. You are building something with a big footprint (as I did) and it is going to be critical that you maximize profits in every way possible, as your costs are going to be much higher than others. You might be paying 3x what the guy is paying who erected a 10x10 tent paid just to get into an event. Odds are, you can't afford to just be sitting there selling BBQ (the lowest profit item on a BBQ menu).

I don't want to speak on the BBQ business, as I am not necessarily a BBQ guy. I do enjoy it, will sell it, but usually prefer to leave that to guys who do it exclusively. One thing I have noticed about many food trucks and concession trailers at events is the bottleneck at the window. When you talk of cutting the brisket in front of the customers and also selling them fountain sodas out of that same window, it immediately concerns me.

One last bit of advice, you really need to work hard on the business plan and be realistic before you build anything. I have had to modify my menu numerous times to get into events because many are looking for product diversity. I knew that going in and built my business to be agile in that sense. If you are going to commit to a BBQ business, you need to figure out how you are going to compete with the thousands of other BBQ businesses that exist. Also, be prepared to be turned away because they already have three other BBQ guys. I can't tell you how many people think the food business is as simple as making great food. That is just one component, and often the easiest. Getting in position for someone to buy your food is the challenge.

/2-cents

PanamaExpat
07-07-2013, 03:18 PM
^+10 on that business plan. That will be the toughest two weeks of your career writing one up that is based on reality and not pie in the sky. Those short term and 2 or 5 year projections will snag you by the short hairs. But that is the key to determining if your idea is viable or not.

Remember I am not saying you don't have what it takes. Nor am I saying you will fail. I just think you are doing a lot an a dream and not enough on paper.

I am working on a similar idea and like Fooskey said you need to take water and ice into serious consideration. I am looking at a trailer that will haul 1000 gallons and am not sure that will be enough. You are going to have a nice rig if you build it correctly but don't forget your support vehicles... I am looking at not only the food truck trailing the smoker but two full size pick ups pulling the rest of the portable restaurant.

Another thing you may want to take into consideration is a propane fired gen set. Here they are about $3.5K and produce 7500 watts continuous. They are also much quieter and better smelling than their diesel counterparts.

Pyle's BBQ
07-07-2013, 04:09 PM
"I would like some of the vendors that do BBQ, sandwiches, sides, catering to chime in and lemme know if I'm missing anything on this truck." - jmoney7269.

Sorry for giving my assessment of what you are missing. After running my BBQ place for over a year and having to make changes that would improve work flow from the original lay out. I pointed out things that I though would make your life easier. I don't care if you slice in front of customers or not. You will need something to hold the meat between customer. If you plan on running back to the proofer every time you make a sandwich that is your call. Also pulled pork will have to be somewhere, I didn't see where you are holding that. Since you have this all figured out.

Good luck.

Fooskey
07-07-2013, 04:29 PM
^+10 on that business plan. That will be the toughest two weeks of your career writing one up that is based on reality and not pie in the sky. Those short term and 2 or 5 year projections will snag you by the short hairs. But that is the key to determining if your idea is viable or not.

Remember I am not saying you don't have what it takes. Nor am I saying you will fail. I just think you are doing a lot an a dream and not enough on paper.

I am working on a similar idea and like Fooskey said you need to take water and ice into serious consideration. I am looking at a trailer that will haul 1000 gallons and am not sure that will be enough. You are going to have a nice rig if you build it correctly but don't forget your support vehicles... I am looking at not only the food truck trailing the smoker but two full size pick ups pulling pulling the rest of the portable restaurant.

Another thing you may want to take into consideration is a propane fired gen set. Here they are about $3.5K and produce 7500 watts continuous. They are also much quieter and better smelling than their diesel counterparts.

Yup. Then when you add water capacity, GVW becomes a concern. My trailer is already approaching 30k pounds and requires a CDL. What is the GVWR on the step van in the OP?

Fooskey
07-07-2013, 04:39 PM
"I would like some of the vendors that do BBQ, sandwiches, sides, catering to chime in and lemme know if I'm missing anything on this truck." - jmoney7269.

Sorry for giving my assessment of what you are missing. After running my BBQ place for over a year and having to make changes that would improve work flow from the original lay out. I pointed out things that I though would make your life easier. I don't care if you slice in front of customers or not. You will need something to hold the meat between customer. If you plan on running back to the proofer every time you make a sandwich that is your call. Also pulled pork will have to be somewhere, I didn't see where you are holding that. Since you have this all figured out.

Good luck.

On this note, I think this is where you have to look at your business plan, the investment, and how much food you want/need to get out the window in a given time.

My personal goal was to get at least 150 people served per hour during peak times. This is nigh impossible without proper holding equipment for finished product.

To put $200k into a business, pay the event fees/commissions, labor, fuel, etc, you need to be able to do high volume. The line behind your window will only queue so long before people settle for an alternative, even if they were interested in your product.

I began with the question, "What do I need to do to get that many people to my trailer?". Some will say just the aroma of BBQ will do it. Others say all you need is a sign. Personally, I think it is a lot more than that, but it is at least a question that must be addressed. I see a lot of people starting businesses that they are probably very good at, but they fail because they don't get the sales side.

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 05:09 PM
Very good situations and possibilities that I have overlooked. Won't be pulling any triggers till I get it right. Thanks for all if the replies and just wanna be the best I can at what I do. The ice and water is definitely a big concern, as well as bumping butts while I'm cooking with my helper.

Packmanjim
07-07-2013, 05:14 PM
Impressive, sounds like to me you have done your homework and you have the food service experience to make it work.

HBMTN
07-07-2013, 05:42 PM
With 200k you would've better to open a restaurant than trying to vend. Vending is not as glorious as it seems.

You dang right, my set up is much smaller than this rig but I can tell you if 200K popped in my lap I would be opening a restaurant way before buying a food truck of that size.

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 05:48 PM
Impressive, sounds like to me you have done your homework and you have the food service experience to make it work.

Obviously I didn't do it good enough. I have raised my eyebrows a couple times already. I still wanna do the truck and not a restaurant, I'm married to my wife, not my job

Fooskey
07-07-2013, 08:53 PM
jmoney, if you want more information, feel free to pm me. I am happy to set you up with my guy for a quote. He did some great work and I can show you pictures throughout construction of mine, if you like.

Fooskey
07-07-2013, 08:57 PM
Obviously I didn't do it good enough. I have raised my eyebrows a couple times already. I still wanna do the truck and not a restaurant, I'm married to my wife, not my job

No offense, but if you are contemplating spending 200k and are not going to treat it with all the respect you would a restaurant, you should take the money and put it into a mutual fund instead. Unless you are very wealthy, 200k is not an investment a part timer makes and you will never get good enough to compete doing it part time.

You will either get your ass kicked a few times at events and it will light a competitive fire under you, or you will quit and sell everything for pennies on the dollar, turning your $200k into 70k, very quickly.

FLAQUE
07-08-2013, 02:01 PM
2 KEY rules to a successful food truck....Very good food and GREAT marketing!! Unless you have food as good as Franklin's because he didn't do any marketing in his original trailer.

C Rocke
07-08-2013, 02:59 PM
Hey Money - Couple things, and it may not be an issue there in TX, but would be here in CA. 1 - Here, you cannot cook in another vehicle unless the product is transported to the serving vehicle in NSF containers. 2 - Here we need a seperate order and pick up window, as the HD does not want money and food passing thru the same window. 3 - Center aisle needs to be at least 34 inches.

We do bottled drinks due to logistics of fountain sodas (Ice, water, bag in box storage) and we can replenish anywhere. Think about plenty of overhead shelving for bread, food containers, etc. Onan generator if possible, propane powered if possible (Refrigeration depends on a good generator).

We bought existing trucks, (both 98's) which are gasoline powered (Easier to find mechanics, based on the odd hours needed for repairs). We are fast, and serve quality, and can do about 80 tickets an hour. We run the truck with a max of 3 workers.

In our 3rd year and still going strong, but there are always issues. PM me if you want to talk - Best of luck.

PanamaExpat
07-08-2013, 06:15 PM
Hey C. Rocke... You wouldn't happen to be able to post an overhead view of the layout of that truck would you?

Fooskey
07-08-2013, 08:00 PM
Center aisle needs to be at least 34 inches.


That could seem like a throwaway line, but it is surprisingly difficult. I could not meet that, even with the trailer being max DOT width.

gtr
07-08-2013, 08:16 PM
Hey Money - Couple things, and it may not be an issue there in TX, but would be here in CA. 1 - Here, you cannot cook in another vehicle unless the product is transported to the serving vehicle in NSF containers. 2 - Here we need a seperate order and pick up window, as the HD does not want money and food passing thru the same window. 3 - Center aisle needs to be at least 34 inches.

We do bottled drinks due to logistics of fountain sodas (Ice, water, bag in box storage) and we can replenish anywhere. Think about plenty of overhead shelving for bread, food containers, etc. Onan generator if possible, propane powered if possible (Refrigeration depends on a good generator).

We bought existing trucks, (both 98's) which are gasoline powered (Easier to find mechanics, based on the odd hours needed for repairs). We are fast, and serve quality, and can do about 80 tickets an hour. We run the truck with a max of 3 workers.

In our 3rd year and still going strong, but there are always issues. PM me if you want to talk - Best of luck.

Would love to see your truck by Universal Studios for lunch one day - lots of hungry folks there - we get 4-9 trucks a day. There's a woman who has a blog (http://universalfoodtrucks.blogspot.com/) and email blast detailing vendors - give her a holler if you come. Vendors tend to not like to come on Tuesdays - that's when Kogi comes and they tend to draw everybody away from the other trucks.

Sorry for the hijack - just trying to get some good BBQ over here! :hungry:

C Rocke
07-08-2013, 09:32 PM
Hey C. Rocke... You wouldn't happen to be able to post an overhead view of the layout of that truck would you?

No overhead, sorry - I will see if I can scareup some pix.

HBMTN
07-09-2013, 04:59 PM
Obviously I didn't do it good enough. I have raised my eyebrows a couple times already. I still wanna do the truck and not a restaurant, I'm married to my wife, not my job

I'm just trying to help you out here, if you spend $200k in food truck business you and your wife both will be married to it. That is unless you have an another income source to support you and are spending $200k from savings. My wife and I opened our concessions and catering business in 2010 with a start up cost of about $40k and we are both married to it just to keep up with it's growth and make a little profit.

jmoney7269
07-09-2013, 05:22 PM
Thanks,
My wife is a doctor here in Brenham so the truck will definitely not be the main source of income. She makes 4x what i do now. We wouldn't be pulling anything out of savings, it's gonna be part of my inheritance from my mom. She doesn't believe that we should get it all when we are too old to enjoy it, so she is giving partial soon. Going to pay off heathers medical school loan, our house we are about to build as well as start me a business. That way anything we do will be straight profit on whatever we do. I love cooking and BBQ, might as well make some $$$ off it while I'm doin it.

HBMTN
07-09-2013, 06:20 PM
You should be fine then, your biggest obstacle (and mine) will be finding reliable help that you can count on.

landarc
07-09-2013, 06:29 PM
:biggrin1::boink: where you live again? Oh yeah that's right CA. We were doing a job there a few years ago and rented a lull telescoping lift and it popped a hydraulic line spilling about 3 gal of hydraulic fluid on a aspalt parking lot. Before we knew it there was police and a hazmat crew that we had to pay for to dig up the parking lot surface and repave it. Talk about a crock of ****! Wtf is in asphalt? Petroleum hot oil! Needless to say we never accepted a job there ever again. Anywhere else you just sprinkle a bunch of absorbent granules on it, scoop it up and dispose of it properly, but noooooooo we had to do it the $10k
Way. Just pokin at ya a little lol
You did it wrong.

I have worked in and around site construction for almost 30 years, popped a lot of lines, never once had the police called.

Chris, I always find the two windows for a tent to be kinda funny, last time I vended, which was a few years ago, they made us put screening over the service and money windows. What a bother that was. On the other hand, I have been looking at the food truck business quite a lot recently, a friend is a part of the Mobi Munch company up here, and the two windows actually works quite well for flow. One window up front for ordering and money, then the line clears and pick up is mid truck. To be honest, even if I didn't have to, I would be sorely tempted to do that. I think it cleans up the crowd, organizes the line and keeps one person out of the kitchen mix. It works especially well for mobile events, with multiple trucks.

HBMTN
07-09-2013, 08:48 PM
My trailer is set up with two windows, we take orders and payment from one and put the food out the other and it works very well this way.

C Rocke
07-10-2013, 12:01 AM
You did it wrong.

I have worked in and around site construction for almost 30 years, popped a lot of lines, never once had the police called.

Chris, I always find the two windows for a tent to be kinda funny, last time I vended, which was a few years ago, they made us put screening over the service and money windows. What a bother that was. On the other hand, I have been looking at the food truck business quite a lot recently, a friend is a part of the Mobi Munch company up here, and the two windows actually works quite well for flow. One window up front for ordering and money, then the line clears and pick up is mid truck. To be honest, even if I didn't have to, I would be sorely tempted to do that. I think it cleans up the crowd, organizes the line and keeps one person out of the kitchen mix. It works especially well for mobile events, with multiple trucks.

All true - Allows for the cashier to concentrate on the order/money/credit card transaction. Less confusion for the customers, when they see the Order Here, and Pick Up here sign. Also eliminates same person handling money and food. More of a problem than you'd think lol!

jmoney7269
07-10-2013, 06:21 AM
That could seem like a throwaway line, but it is surprisingly difficult. I could not meet that, even with the trailer being max DOT width.
Could you explain this a little better?
What do you mean "throw away line"?
All of the equipment going in is supposed to be high quality restaurant grade.

Hawg Father of Seoul
07-10-2013, 06:51 AM
Could you explain this a little better?
What do you mean "throw away line"?
All of the equipment going in is supposed to be high quality restaurant grade.

I believe he means that it could easily be taken for granted, but it is hard to keep a 34 inch clearly defined aisle (without obstruction).

Fooskey
07-10-2013, 10:05 PM
I believe he means that it could easily be taken for granted, but it is hard to keep a 34 inch clearly defined aisle (without obstruction).

Correct. The average food truck is what 86" wide on the interior? If you have a 30 inch chef base on one side and a 24 inch counter on the other, you are already short.

Another issue I have been experiencing is that packing all the refrigeration in that tight of a space makes getting them fresh air a challenge. Brand new, they might work like champs, but let them get some age under those conditions and try to get them to proper temp. I have the equivalent of 7 refrigeration units and it is extremely difficult to not have their venting or fresh air obstructed.

Many of those things are not meant to operate in the conditions a food truck experiences. They are designed to operate in spaces that are already climate controlled. I am learning this the hard way.

jmoney7269
07-12-2013, 10:05 AM
Here is the new setup. Ditched the soda machine and have a steam pan now
There will be a gloray next to the fryers. Will also have one tea brewing urn.
Any other suggestions will be helpful.
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/6EDBA489-FD45-4621-9936-093E85770EFE-1748-00000200228A067C.jpg

Fooskey
07-12-2013, 11:56 AM
The set-up should be determined by your menu and the volume. I would start by asking what each piece will be used for, and how often it will be used. Are you going to serve such a diverse menu that you need a griddle, charbroiler, fryer, and cooktop, while serving BBQ?

Space is so tight in these things, and if you expect high volume, you can't expect to be running that diverse array of equipment. Think about the number of people who will be working on the inside, and the number of people that your window can accommodate.

CharredApron
07-12-2013, 12:42 PM
The plan he stated is to have a trailer rig that can be towed. That would allow more flexibility. I can see problems with that as well, but, the ability to either have the smokers or not, that actually makes sense, especially if you get into a situation where your vend site is smaller than desired, or you end up having to vend something other than Q.

I do wonder, at least out here, all trucks and tents need to have separate money/order windows from food/serving windows. Have you either built in the ability, or determined that you will not need separate windows?

Is that enough refrigeration? Are you going to be vending other than BBQ? If so, that looks a little less than optimal for meats and other items.
This is how we do it.

http://i1308.photobucket.com/albums/s619/hometruckin/bluewillys_zps5c38b45b.jpg (http://s1308.photobucket.com/user/hometruckin/media/bluewillys_zps5c38b45b.jpg.html)

air conditioned self enclosed trailer. Smoker on the back screened in and doors facing inside the trailer. The only way to get health department approval here in Florida.

TailGateJoecom
07-12-2013, 03:52 PM
I keep thinking about an observation you mentioned in your earlier post, about watching the Food Truck Race and noticing the trucks were all too small for what you wanted to do. I would really think long and hard about that statement. Most of those trucks are very successful as far as food trucks go. NYC has a great food truck scene, along with LA prolly the best in the country. I have been to most of them, especially the best ones. From Belgian waffle trucks, to Asian dumpling trucks, to grilled cheese trucks, to Korean taco and lobster roll trucks, there is a diverse selection of cuisines, but they all have one thing in common, specialization. They all target a small menu and do it very well. These are the trucks that get all the press and do all the business. Then you have the traditional trucks that do everything, want a burger, a steak sandwich, a breakfast sandwich? Those trucks have all the equipment and make it all. The quality is usually less and nobody cares about those guys. They grind out a living without any fanfare and any great success. These are usually the immigrant guys, not the young creative chefs.

You have a flat top so you can make burgers, you have a char griller so you can do ribeye sandwiches, you have a fryer for fries and onion rings, you are towing a smoker for the whole bbq thing, you have a six burner stove for general cooking (6 burners is a lot, I have a 6 burner vulcan range in my basement and can't see how I would ever have more than 4 going in a food truck) as well as an oven.

Now, look at the Mexicue truck, a very successful food truck in NY that puts out a great product,http://www.mexicue.com. Look at that menu and you can see how little equipment is needed. Lots of options with few ingredients and pre made sides using little in the way of equipment.

My suggestion, forget about being able to make everything for everyone, figure out some stuff you are great at, can make mostly in advance or in the truck using a small equipment footprint. If you want to do bbq, think pulled pork and shredded brisket and chicken. Get rid of some equipment, downsize some equipment like go to a 4burner stove instead, and get an FEC120 inside the truck and forget towing the smoker.

I would say if I were going to tow a smoker behind a food truck, then I would prolly just forget a food truck and instead do a vending trailer towed behind a pickup.

Just my opinion, I am a very big believer in specialization, makes it easier to pull off and easier to get some marketing and press. As someone who feeds 200-400 people for 4-5 hour all-you-can-eat parties, I have gotten good at being quick and paring down unneeded stuff while putting out some great stuff.

CharredApron
07-12-2013, 05:10 PM
I agree! This was my one Item rig...Pizza

http://i1308.photobucket.com/albums/s619/hometruckin/Facebook/Timeline%20Photos/419581_3603569855021_2019602911_n.jpg (http://s1308.photobucket.com/user/hometruckin/media/Facebook/Timeline%20Photos/419581_3603569855021_2019602911_n.jpg.html)

PanamaExpat
07-12-2013, 07:03 PM
Dropping the fountain was a good move .... But you still have the interference problem with your service window being directly across from your fire line... Shift that gen set center and your fire line fore or aft. (Actually scratch that idea and read on.)

Also...That wasted space across from your driver's seat....Make that your cashier's cage. Then you can shrink your service window and keep money and food separate. Maybe even move your service window aft and your fridge and freezer opposite your fire line. That also moves more of your weight distribution to the center of your chassis. Ever ride in the back of the school bus and go over a bump? The fridge and freezer are going to get that same catapult effect aft of the axle. Talk about tossed salad by the time you get to location.

Just some layout thoughts I am not being critical.... But then again... If you want to go big and have the budget.... forget the truck and be one midway tomorrow with this.. http://www.ebay.com/itm/One-of-a-kind-38-foot-BBQ-smoker-or-Catering-Concession-Trailer-/290938851420?pt=BI_Commercial_Ovens_Ranges&hash=item43bd4e905c

If I had the budget and it wouldn't cost another 8K to ship it here.... I would be on it yesterday.

BigBellyBBQ
08-11-2013, 04:26 AM
jumped in late on this, however first post was about BBQ and the last lay-out does not say BBQ, just fast food in a confined space. Chared Apron's trailer looks identicle to mine and EVERTHING is cooked on my SP 700, on busy events I have to stay on top of the re-stocking for the servers, which one person on cash/orders, one on sandwiches, one on sides. I use table top steam units, this way it is versitile, as some events I serve under a tent and use trailer as support plus very veratile as some menus change...
and to have a deep frier behind a busy serving window???? The sugested menu will be hard to keep up on a busy day and you only can re-heat left overs once..
The hardest thing is to keep the flow moving both inside and outside
and to establish your identity, I believe in doiing what you do, do it well..and to have so much equipment in a confined space looks dangerous, however that is me and I am a clutz...

early mornin' smokin'
08-12-2013, 06:32 PM
scour your HD requirements. In NY, well, at least suffolk county. Food trucks are considered "mobile fast food trucks" where minimal prep and cooking is actually done in the vehicle. Towing a smoker is good in theory, but when a tire blows, or someone sideswipes it, you're out for the day. We almost pulled the trigger and bought a food truck this year second hand from someone who's got a very successful quick serve restaurant, wanted to try the food truck out, and quickly realized it wasn't what they expected. If you're the only thing around, you'll probably do fine, if you're competing for other vendors spots, who have cheaper food, it's going to get tough. Best of luck, keep us posted