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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 07-26-2011, 02:31 AM   #1
Crash
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Default Need advice on this mobile.....

Lunch wagons are very popular here in Hawaii. BBQ is also extremely popular in Hawaii...the only problem is that true BBQ doesnt really exist out here. We've been planning on making a serious move towards catering/vending for a while and have had pretty good success catering over the past few months.

Here's the nuts and bolts of the question. I found what looks to be decent mobile kitchen at what I think is a reasonable price. Please take a look at it here:

http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/cto/2494314178.html

What questions would you ask? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

I'll be looking at this truck this weekend, so I appreciate all replys from the Brethren.

Thanks!!
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Unread 07-26-2011, 05:30 AM   #2
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Sounds good. Obviously, make sure it runs!!
The current health dept. certificate helps. Make sure the water and dump systems work along with all appliances.
What kind of cooker are you looking at or are you going to cook the meat "off site"? Tow a separate cooker; Cookshack; etc.
Looks like a great opportunity!!
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Unread 07-26-2011, 08:41 AM   #3
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I just watched a show on the travel Channel last night dedicated to Lunch Wagons since I have been toying with the same idea. There aren't any in my city so this looks like it could be a lucrative business. The price on this vehicle looks reasonable enough assuming everything works and I'm not just talking about the prep area. The coaches that were on the show last night were approaching $100,000.00 of course these were high end with custom paint jobs and really high end commercial equipment for cooking. It's definitely a lot to consider. I haven't even checked into insurance yet and the list goes on. Best of luck with your endeavor.
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Unread 07-26-2011, 02:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Don View Post
I just watched a show on the travel Channel last night dedicated to Lunch Wagons since I have been toying with the same idea. There aren't any in my city so this looks like it could be a lucrative business. The price on this vehicle looks reasonable enough assuming everything works and I'm not just talking about the prep area. The coaches that were on the show last night were approaching $100,000.00 of course these were high end with custom paint jobs and really high end commercial equipment for cooking. It's definitely a lot to consider. I haven't even checked into insurance yet and the list goes on. Best of luck with your endeavor.
I would like to see you make a go of it in Hattiesburg. I lived there many years ago and as a college town, I think you would do very well.
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Unread 07-26-2011, 02:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerpig View Post
I would like to see you make a go of it in Hattiesburg. I lived there many years ago and as a college town, I think you would do very well.
Guess what? Not sure when you were here last but it is steadily growing at least when the rest of the country is doing well. I would certainly like to thank you for your supportive reply. I have a widowed female friend that I have been dating for the past 3 years and she is definitely trying to talk me out of the catering and/or the Traveling Food Coach business. She keeps telling me how much more work that there is that the untrained eye does not see and how fast the routine gets old. I only got to meet her husband a couple of times at a friends annual crawfish boil and from what I heard was that he loved it. I really don't know if I would want to turn this into a living. I guess I'm done rambling now that I am thourghly confused. Damned if I do and Damned if I don't.
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Unread 07-26-2011, 10:17 PM   #6
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Instead of microwaves stove and an oven I'd be thinking griddle and grills. Of course, for Q, ripping all that out and hoisting in an FEC would do the job as well, both as a certified cooker for a 'kitchen' and as a warmer.

Make sure you know a good mechanic and have them look at it. I'm starting to get the itch on a food truck and those that run them that I've talked to have all echo'd that.
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Unread 07-26-2011, 11:27 PM   #7
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on top of the kitchen,.... what chassis is it sitting on? is it ford, chevy, dodge or other, that would be one of MY top priority questions, cuz if you cant get there... you cant vend there ya know coz?
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Unread 07-27-2011, 02:47 PM   #8
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My first call would be to your local HD asking them if you take ownership of said truck would they extend the license to your company. I looked into it here and was told absolutely not but they would work with me if the current owner would bring the truck to them for inspection.

I found that most of the older trucks here in Southern California are not to code and were grandfathered in when the laws changed. This is why a lot of them are leased from the commissary's since they have owned them for so long. The truck you are looking at has several of the features they require here so you may be ok especially since it is in current operation.

Another question for the HD is do they require the vehicle to be parked at a commissary or commercial location? Here in CA they do which was a deal breaker for me. They also want the cooker to be NSF certified, again a deal breaker as the cooker I planned on towing behind the truck was not.

I do wish you the best of luck and hope this truck works out!
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:32 PM   #9
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$14k is not such a large amount of money that you couldn't recover if things didn't work out with the unit. it might be painful for awhile, but not devastating.

have you asked if you can tag along with the owner to see how he runs the truck? it might give some insight as to what he has to do to make it work for him.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 08:44 AM   #10
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We are getting closer and closer to our Mobile unit to be completed. One piece of advice I would send along that we spent months discussing before we could decide is to consider a trailer in lieu of a truck. Our trepidation was to have our entire business (equipment and mobility) based on a transmission or engine that could go out on us at any time.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 09:09 AM   #11
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Buy a trailer. Actually you can buy 2 for the cost of a truck but start with 1. Make sure you and the Mrs. both drive tow vehicles. With a little casual cash labor you can go 2 directions and double earnings. Wonder how I know this....?
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Unread 08-09-2011, 12:04 PM   #12
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I went with an 18 foot trailer as I had a new truck, under a 100,000 mile warranty and if it goes down I have my son's truck to use to tow. I thought about a food truck, but decided against it as the ins was alot more and upkeep on old food truck was prohibitive.
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