May 6, 2012
Kim Rivers

OC native tapped as food truck expert at restaurant show

Nancy Luna is reporting from the 2012 National Restaurant Association food show in Chicago  

As I reviewed the list of panel speakers at this year’s food show, I was excited to see that Orange County native Ross Resnick would be giving a talk on how to launch a successful food truck.  I interviewed Resnick two years ago when he launched “Roaming Hunger,”  a Hollywood-based website that aggregates the locations of food trucks in various cities.

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Back then, Roaming Hunger tracked mobile food trucks in Los Angeles, Orange County, Portland, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and Washington D.C.

Today, Resnick, 27, said Roaming Hunger lists 2,300 gourmet food trucks and carts in 50 states.

“New trucks are popping up every day, and we’re adding over 150 trucks to the site every month,” said Resnick, who grew up in Mission Viejo.

Resnick said the fastest growing “food truck” cities are Philadelphia, Raleigh, N.C., and Minneapolis–St. Paul. His site serves 5,800 food truck consumers a day.

“And I am proud to say that many are out of Orange County,” he said.

A crowd of would-be truck owners packed his session today, eager to learn his tips on how to roll out a truck that fans adore.

His biggest tips:

  •  Build your brand first:  ”Know what you will serve.” “Build an atmopshere that speaks to your brand.”  ”You have to create a brand impression before someone bites into your food.”
  • Develop your menu:  He said one of the biggest mistakes food truck entrepreneurs make is quitting their job, and buying a truck without a menu plan.  ”Don’t go buy a truck, and then try to make it work.”
  • No mishmash menus: Food trucks that try and have “Cheesecake Factory” menus don’t work.  You have to have a niche.
  • Location location: Like brick and mortar restuarants, food trucks need to know what turf works best for their brand.
  • Know the laws in your cities:  “Food trucks are a new industry” and must abide by different laws in various cities. Resnick said trucks should join  ”mobile food associations” in their communities. For example, he said trucks in Southern California can be assisted by the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Association.
  • Expand via catering:  Don’t rely on “late night bar” crowds for sales.”Catering is what will pay the bills.”
  • Engage consumers: Get out of the truck, and talk to your fans. “Give people a taste. Let them try your food.”

Stay tuned for more on Resnick when I return from Chicago.

More from the show:


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