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View Full Version : Update to "Living the Dream"


RangerJ
05-27-2014, 08:00 AM
Back in July I started this

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=166246

Figured rather than bumping that I'd just update in a new thread.

Where to begin. My lack of due diligence with regards to the mobile food industry in Houston has been a big hinderance in really carrying any momentum forward. I was going to find a place to squat, tie into city utilities, throw out some tables, chairs and umbrellas and live the dream just like they do in Austin. Same state, seems the rules would be the same, right? Wrong. ( and I see all you guys shaking your head, who have spoken on here until your blue in the face about checking with the local municipalities on whats legal and whats not)

I mean I see trucks and trailers that don't move all the time here in Houston, taco trucks / trailers specifically. Well, it turns out that they are basically not doing things they way they are supposed to.

The Houston Restaurant Association has quite the hold on city council and no mobile food unit is allowed to be in service over 24 hours with out reporting to a local commissary to dump grey water and refill potable water. Tables, No, Umbrellas, No, Chairs, No. EVEN if you own the land. I looked at some lots to purchase, thought I would circumvent the system. Wrong again.

Well, BBQ, is not the easiest product to prepare when your moving every 24 hours. So, I found a few spots and rolled out on the weekends and a day or two during the week. Rapidly figured out that BBQ is a volume game and just not enough volume on that schedule and with folks having to look for me all the time.

Oh, back to the city. There is no published standard for a BBQ truck or trailer, there is a down loadable packet for all others, but none for BBQ. So, after paying the fee twice and submitting designs for my trailer, only to have them rejected twice, I asked for a face to face. I was then informed that the nice open air porch I had, must be enclosed and an exhaust fan added. After finding the lowest bid for this was 4k, I said..."catch me if you can" and ran rogue for quite some time.

Jan - Mar found me cooking every day south of Houston in a small town known as El Campo. It is a jumping off point to the eagle ford shale and lots of oil workers in an out. My buddy and I had hoped it would be the start of something permanent but the 45 mile drive everyday for me was counter productive and at the end of the day, I'm a Houston native, if I'm going to make it I want to do it here. 6M residents and all, who have no issues with a $7-$8 dollar sandwich and $15 per pound.

So, I've been back since March. Finally, scratched up the dough to get trailer to code and will be getting it inspected soon. Catering has been paying the bills but I need some steady daily sales to get over the hump. This summer appears to be sink or swim as the water appears to be up to my eyes. So, I'll keep grinding.

Here are some pics of events and press.

We were selected to cook at this years BBQ Festival at Reliant Center. Most all were brick and mortars, with 4 of the Texas Monthly top 50 there. Got a shout out from the BBQ Snob himself for our turkey of all things.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/IMG_08241_zps1d835f4f.png (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/IMG_08241_zps1d835f4f.png.html)

Did some work to support Sams / MMA Creative and Dr. BBQ, this was alot of fun

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/IMG_04703_zps9a38c9c5.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/IMG_04703_zps9a38c9c5.jpg.html)

Created a sandwich known as the "1836". Google the date, its a Texas thing. People who come to a trailer, expect stuff like this for some reason.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/IMG_0548_zps78d115f1.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/IMG_0548_zps78d115f1.jpg.html)

And most recently, we were selected as one of the top 5 "underrated BBQ Joints in Houston" by readers of the Houston Press. 3 of the 5 are brick and mortar establishments to include Rudy's?

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2014/05/top_5_underrated_barbecue_in_h.php

So, we are solvent and moving forward. Likes us on FB or follow us on Twitter to see how things progress. I'll post an update soon.

Good luck to all!

Jorge
05-27-2014, 08:27 AM
Back in July I started this

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=166246

Figured rather than bumping that I'd just update in a new thread.

Where to begin. My lack of due diligence with regards to the mobile food industry in Houston has been a big hinderance in really carrying any momentum forward. I was going to find a place to squat, tie into city utilities, throw out some tables, chairs and umbrellas and live the dream just like they do in Austin. Same state, seems the rules would be the same, right? Wrong. ( and I see all you guys shaking your head, who have spoken on here until your blue in the face about checking with the local municipalities on whats legal and whats not)

I mean I see trucks and trailers that don't move all the time here in Houston, taco trucks / trailers specifically. Well, it turns out that they are basically not doing things they way they are supposed to.

The Houston Restaurant Association has quite the hold on city council and no mobile food unit is allowed to be in service over 24 hours with out reporting to a local commissary to dump grey water and refill potable water. Tables, No, Umbrellas, No, Chairs, No. EVEN if you own the land. I looked at some lots to purchase, thought I would circumvent the system. Wrong again.

Well, BBQ, is not the easiest product to prepare when your moving every 24 hours. So, I found a few spots and rolled out on the weekends and a day or two during the week. Rapidly figured out that BBQ is a volume game and just not enough volume on that schedule and with folks having to look for me all the time.

Oh, back to the city. There is no published standard for a BBQ truck or trailer, there is a down loadable packet for all others, but none for BBQ. So, after paying the fee twice and submitting designs for my trailer, only to have them rejected twice, I asked for a face to face. I was then informed that the nice open air porch I had, must be enclosed and an exhaust fan added. After finding the lowest bid for this was 4k, I said..."catch me if you can" and ran rogue for quite some time.

Jan - Mar found me cooking every day south of Houston in a small town known as El Campo. It is a jumping off point to the eagle ford shale and lots of oil workers in an out. My buddy and I had hoped it would be the start of something permanent but the 45 mile drive everyday for me was counter productive and at the end of the day, I'm a Houston native, if I'm going to make it I want to do it here. 6M residents and all, who have no issues with a $7-$8 dollar sandwich and $15 per pound.

So, I've been back since March. Finally, scratched up the dough to get trailer to code and will be getting it inspected soon. Catering has been paying the bills but I need some steady daily sales to get over the hump. This summer appears to be sink or swim as the water appears to be up to my eyes. So, I'll keep grinding.

Here are some pics of events and press.

We were selected to cook at this years BBQ Festival at Reliant Center. Most all were brick and mortars, with 4 of the Texas Monthly top 50 there. Got a shout out from the BBQ Snob himself for our turkey of all things.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/IMG_08241_zps1d835f4f.png (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/IMG_08241_zps1d835f4f.png.html)

Did some work to support Sams / MMA Creative and Dr. BBQ, this was alot of fun

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/IMG_04703_zps9a38c9c5.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/IMG_04703_zps9a38c9c5.jpg.html)

Created a sandwich known as the "1836". Google the date, its a Texas thing. People who come to a trailer, expect stuff like this for some reason.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/IMG_0548_zps78d115f1.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/IMG_0548_zps78d115f1.jpg.html)

And most recently, we were selected as one of the top 5 "underrated BBQ Joints in Houston" by readers of the Houston Press. 3 of the 5 are brick and mortar establishments to include Rudy's?

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2014/05/top_5_underrated_barbecue_in_h.php

So, we are solvent and moving forward. Likes us on FB or follow us on Twitter to see how things progress. I'll post an update soon.

Good luck to all!

As frustrated as you became from time to time I never heard you whine too much. Drive on.

landarc
05-27-2014, 12:29 PM
Hang in there, sounds like some hard lessons were learned, everyone has to get those out of the way. The whole commissary thing is a big deal out here in the San Francisco Bay area and is an entire industry in itself.

Sounds like you are getting it worked out. Work the social media, it is your friend, work that Twitter and FB, also Instagram. Those are the three channels that will drive business to you and make it easy for folks to find you.

mchar69
05-27-2014, 09:41 PM
If your food tastes as good as it looks, YOU WIN!