In 2008 the mobile food industry jumped onto the national stage when a young chef named Roy Choi came up with the idea of taking the the traditional taco served from many loncheros in the LA area and combining it with flavors from Korea. Choi’s Kogi truck became an instant success and since then has sparked many young culinary entrepreneurs to attempt to match this success around the world. Taco trucks are typically the first type of food truck to enter a market when its laws are modified to allow food trucks to operate on their streets. Besides the traditional Mexican style, there have been many types of fusion styled tacos attempted, some have failed, but many more have succeeded.
Because of this, we have decided to open a new contest to find out which food truck is serving our readers favorite taco. This contest will open today and will be run in two stages. For the next two weeks (we will accept emails submitted by 12 PM Central Time on Friday February 8, 2013) we will give our readers to submit their choices via email, and once the data is collected, we will open a poll (Monday February 11, 2013) to allow voting from the top 10 email submissions.
To be eligible for the final poll, the food truck needs to have opened before January 2013 and must regularly serve the taco dish from their truck, cart or trailer. The ingredients of the taco can be any combination of flavors (traditional or fusion), or cuisine and the taco can be served in a hard or soft shell. The trucks can be located in any country so feel free to submit choices from outside of North America.
We look forward to receiving your submissions. Food truck owners are free to submit their own trucks for consideration and voters may vote as often as you wish. The only request we have is that you submit one entry at a time and include the name of the truck, the taco name as well as the city or area the food truck operates in.
The winning truck will be profiled here at Mobile Cuisine and will hold the title of Best Food Truck Taco for 2013.
So let the voting begin. And remember, vote early and vote often.
In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Boston, Hamilton, Washington DC and Durham.
Local food truck trend goes into overdrive – BOSTON, MA - Come April, the city will have 56 trucks dishing food across Boston neighborhoods, up from just 15 when the city first cautiously kicked the tires of the trend in July 2011. Food trucks are coming to new parts of the city, including East Boston, Roxbury, and Charlestown, and those locations that started with one truck now have three or more, bringing a diverse mix of cuisines and cultures to the streets of a city once famous for its parochial tastes.
Trucks across the city now serve everything from Southern comfort food to Asian barbecue. The trend has become so popular that local truck chefs have their own food festivals and cooking contests, and some operators are even opening their own brick-and-mortar restaurants. Meantime, there is a growing network of businesses such as truck repair and emergency staffing to support them.
Find the entire article here
Gorilla Cheese partners split up – HAMILTON, CANADA - One of Hamilton’s glowing business success stories is turning into a messy divorce.
The partners behind the popular Gorilla Cheese food truck have split, leaving the future of the business in doubt and debt.
“We intended this to be an amicable divorce, but as with any divorce things are starting to get complicated,” said Graeme Smith, who with Scott and Susan Austin, started the wildly popular food truck business in July 2011.
“Now we’re in a state of day-to-day trying to get by.”
Find the entire article here
Food truck will deliver message of Mideast peace – WASHINGTON DC - Make way for the Peace Truck.
Moustafa M. Soliman, a 76-year-old Egyptian American author and activist, wants to spread the message of attainable peace between Arabs and Jews with a food truck that serves kosher eats from one window and halal treats from another.
Find the entire article here
Food trucks emblem of Durham’s ‘D.I.Y. District’ – DURHAM, NC - Chef Stacey Grisham said he was a little concerned about cold weather Sunday, but he needn’t have been.
“It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day,” he said at about noon, as he and more than 30 other vendors were opening for business at the food-truck rodeo in Durham Central Park.
The Refectory Cafe, where Grisham is head chef, was making its first appearance at a food-truck rodeo on the cool, but sunny, afternoon.
If you’re someone who pays for purchases from food trucks (or anything else) with your credit card, you may have some things to consider the next time you swipe.
Beginning yesterday, mobile food businesses nationwide can now add an additional charge if you pay by credit instead other methods (cash or debit card). The consumer advocacy group Consumer Action said to keep an eye on you credit for these “checkout fees.”
You may not notice the difference on smaller items. Vendors are limited with their extra fee. This could be anywhere from 1.5% – 3% added to your purchase.
Not all states and not all credit card companies are involved in the new credit card surcharge changes. The credit card surcharge does include Visa/Mastercard but not American Express. Some states have protection laws for customers regarding credit card fees and surcharges including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas.
However, as with most laws, whether the credit card protection law in each one of those 10 states is being followed or not is a different story.
These fees are equal to the amount vendors pay the credit card companies for each swipe they accept. It is up to each food truck business to decide whether or not to include this extra charge to their customers using a credit card.
If you are a food truck owner in one of the states which now allows this new checkout fee, do you plan to add this fee to your customer’s bills?
Today is National Blueberry Pancake Day. In this recipe we through in a little sour cream to help create a little more flavor and texture from the typical pancake recipe.
Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes per batch | Yield: 10 servings
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup cold water
- 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
In a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water until smooth. Add blueberries. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm.
For pancakes, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the eggs, milk, sour cream and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve with blueberry topping.
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA - A new supervisor is among those hoping for changes. Riverside County has some of the toughest rules in the state.
A movement is rolling to get Riverside County to ease its restrictions on food trucks.
Food truck advocates and newly elected Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who campaigned on a promise to “Free the Food Trucks,” want to change the county’s regulations so the public doesn’t have to go to festivals to enjoy freshly prepared food on wheels.
“This is something that people have been enjoying in Orange County, LA and San Diego,” said Jeff Greene, Jeffries’ chief of staff. “There’s no reason people in Riverside County shouldn’t have that right.”
An online petition seeks to have the Board of Supervisors relax its food truck restrictions. More than 800 people had signed the petition as of Friday, Jan. 18.
“We want gourmet grilled cheese, bacon-wrapped brownies and pancakes and bacon flavored cupcakes year-round! Day or night. On a Tuesday,” reads the petition.
San Bernardino County supervisors last summer voted to overhaul their food truck regulations. The trucks can operate in certain locations for extended periods after getting a permit.
Riverside County’s food truck rules are among California’s strictest. Right now, they’re allowed only if they sell pre-packaged foods or are like the hot dog carts outside the County Administrative Center and courthouses in downtown Riverside.
Vehicles in which raw food is cooked and sold can operate in the county only during special events where the trucks can be inspected.
In recent years, food truck festivals have taken place in Riverside, Ontario and at Pechanga Resort Casino near Temecula. More than 1,500 events involving food trucks took place in 2012, according to Supervisor John Benoit.
The county has connections to the mobile food industry. Mangler’s Meltdown based in Pedley roams throughout California and visits music festivals selling grilled cheese and other hot sandwiches for under $10. California Cart Builder of Lake Elsinore builds food trucks and concession trailers.
Brightly colored food trucks are popular in Los Angeles and other cities. They sell everything from Korean barbecue tacos to sushi and use Twitter to broadcast their locations to followers daily.
Lynne Wilder, program chief for the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, said her department would be willing to revisit the food truck rules, provided health and safety issues are addressed.
County officials have said food truck restrictions stem from the 1980s when there were incidents of food poisoning, injuries while trying to cook on moving trucks and truck operators dumping wastewater into storm drains.
Angela Janus, executive director of ShareKitchen, a Cathedral City nonprofit organization that provides startup space for aspiring restaurateurs, said she got involved in the effort to ease food truck restrictions after hearing from clients who wanted to start their businesses by running food trucks.
“For us, it’s a great steppingstone for entrepreneurs to step into a truck and eventually a restaurant,” she said.
Find the entire article by Jeff Horseman at The Press Enterprise here
We’re almost one month into the New Year which means a number of different opportunities for your food truck business. The question is, will you take advantage of them?
As many mobile food businesses fight for the attention of customers in order to get a positive revenue stream in place over the next 12 months, there are a number of ways to go about securing your place in the hearts and minds of local customers.
From promoting your food truck through traditional advertising, using social media, giving out promotional items with your company name and logo on it to using your staff to spread the word, keep some of these ideas in mind in 2013:
Place emphasis on social media. If 2012 saw you giving minimal or no effort towards social media, by all means change that over the next 12 months. While some vendors still don’t see the value in social media because they feel they cannot see a clear return on investment (ROI), most actively engage in it. If you have had little action with your food truck’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other SM pages, make a change quickly. Jump on your social media pages and provide relevant information to both present and potential customers, engage with them to answer questions and help them with issues, and see what is being said about you and your food truck business around the social media world.
Promote through your employees. Even though your workers have enough to do on a daily basis, having them promote your mobile food company almost never hurts. They can do such things as spread the word through their family and friends; along with assisting you in social media promotions (if you choose this route, make sure they know your policy toward social media). When trying to save money on your advertising/marketing/promotional budgets, turn to your workers to help spread the word;
Review and analyze. Finally, any promotional efforts you do must be recorded and analyzed. The goal here is to see what works, what doesn’t work, and where your time and money are going. Even things as simple as social media need to be reviewed. Are you using the right social platforms? Are you visiting them too infrequently to the point where you do not build up a regular following? Do you come across as a spammer by constantly tweeting and sharing? Always look at what you do and how it is likely being perceived by the average consumer.
With 11 more months for you to accomplish some of your goals, will you find your food truck being more social the rest of the year?
Due to low inventories of food trucks, lower barrier to entry or just pure preference, food trailers are often a great option for people looking to get in the industry. However, you need to be aware of some pitfalls from an insurance perspective.
With a food truck, the kitchen and vehicle is combined to create a single vehicle exposure. However, a food trailer has the mobile kitchen exposure (trailer + kitchen) and a vehicle that is needed to tow the trailer to venues. Usually that tow vehicle is a truck they personally own or a vehicle they plan to purchase. This is where most people think they can just get General Liability and Mobile Property coverage for the trailer and be done. Perhaps they are under the impression that the trailer is covered automatically under their personal auto insurance policy. Think again!
Many personal insurance policies have exclusions pertaining to business use and operation of the insured vehicle. They also have length limitations on trailers being towed by the insured vehicle. Most personal policies extend liability for the boat/motorcycle/etc trailers. However, carriers don’t intend to automatically cover business trailers for liability or property coverage. This means that you need to call your personal insurance carrier and tell them what you are doing.
Some personal insurance carriers have the ability to add a business use type endorsement to your personal policy. Despite this potential endorsement on the personal policy, you still need to purchase liability and mobile property coverage for your trailer. It is also possible that the insurance carrier may not be able to provide insurance based on it being a business vehicle or business trailer.
The safe way of protecting your business is purchasing a commercial auto policy for the tow vehicle and registered it under the business. This will help ensure that you will have coverage after a claim. If you are dead set on using your personal vehicle, you should add the business use endorsement and increase your liability limits. Don’t think that $50,000, $250,000 or $500,000 auto liability limits will cut it. All business vehicles should have at least a $1,000,000 liability limit.
One last advantage of having a commercial auto policy is that you can purchase an Excess Liability policy to provide additional limits. A commercial Excess Liability policy can provide extra coverage over your Auto Liability (and General Liability). Unfortunately, that will not be the case if you have the tow vehicle under a personal auto policy.
Hopefully this article prompted some questions in your mind. Perhaps it made you realize your planned or current insurance structure may not be the best way to protect your food trailer business. If so, make the changes sooner than later.
Growth of a mobile food business can be difficult in any type of economy, but it is absolutely essential to survival. Seek growth ideas from an often overlooked source of innovation — ask your the employees of your food truck. Start by laying out a vision of where you want the organization to go. Then list the company’s assets, map its capabilities, and identify new trends in the food truck industry. Not only will you tap an easily accessible source of ideas, you will ensure your staff is engaged in your food truck’s future. They will have their fingerprints all over it and they will appreciate you for the opportunity.
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Before John, my husband-to-be, and I started our food truck in 2010, I cyber-stalked food trucks on the West Coast and in New York City to find out how they were using Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.
For the most part, they posted their daily routes and specials of the day, and while that alone attracted them hundreds of customers, I knew that wouldn’t fly for us.
Our town, Tallahassee, is mostly known for politics and football, and certainly doesn’t have the population of cities like Los Angeles and NYC. We knew we were going to have to get creative.
Though we were early adopters of Twitter and used Facebook when it was just a site for college students (the wonder years), up until 2010 we were merely bystanders of the social media sphere. But the food truck forced us to not only become active participants, but content creators, too. Here are four of the most valuable lessons Lazarus, our food truck, taught us about social media.
1. SoLo is the Motto
SoLo (not to be confused with YOLO), a combination of social media and location-based technology, is the motto for food trucks.
2. Get Creative
Most brands recognize that a part of the whole social media strategy is to engage fans — and that often means getting their feedback or crowdsourcing.
3. Nail Customer Service
“The wait for @CravingsTruck is ridiculous!!!! I’m never coming back here again.” “@CravingsTruck gave me a chargrilled red velvet waffle.” I remember seeing tweets like this and panicking.
4. Tell Your Story
I think everyone can relate to having an old, beat-up car that you love.
To find the entire article by Kianta Key at the Daily Muse here
SOLON, OH- Nestle Prepared Foods Company announced yesterday that the STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck and an all-star group of celebrity chefs will hit the streets of New York City serving unique twists on STOUFFER’S® Macaroni Cheese, with 100% of profits from macaroni and cheese purchases benefiting the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
The STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck will operate on weekdays from Monday, January 28 – Thursday, February 14 at a variety of locations across the city. Locations and service times will be regularly updated on www.facebook.com/stouffers and ww.twitter.com/stouffers.
Through the STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck, Master of Spice Lior Lev Sercarz and Southern “Grill Girl” Elizabeth Karmel will join six other famed New York chefs to delight locals with their twists on STOUFFER’S® Macaroni Cheese for $4 per bowl. On most days, Chefs Sercarz and Karmel will serve traditional STOUFFER’S® Macaroni Cheese, which is prepared using freshly made pasta and 100% real cheddar cheese, as well as five restaurant-inspired variations: Chili Mac, BBQ Mac, Mex Mac , Veggie Mac and ‘Shroom Mac.
On select days, the STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck will feature a chef du jour who will serve their own specialty macaroni and cheese dish, revealed that morning, along with the traditional STOUFFER’S® Macaroni Cheese.
At the close of the three week promotion, sales will be tallied and the chef du jour with the top-selling STOUFFER’S® Macaroni Cheese creation will have $25,000 donated on their behalf by STOUFFER’S® to further the Mayor’s Fund Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. This donation will be on top of the donation of the truck’s macaroni and cheese sales throughout the promotion.
Additionally David Bailey , Stouffer’s Chef du Cuisines from the Nestle Culinary Center, will serve his signature dish – Mex Mac – on Wednesday, February 6.
“Since 1954 our vision has been to create delicious food from only the best ingredients,” says Tom Moe , Director of Marketing for STOUFFER’S®. “With this line up of talented chefs on the STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck adding their unique toppings to our popular macaroni and cheese, we’re eager to demonstrate to consumers – right on the streets of New York – that we make our macaroni and cheese just the way they’d make it at home.”
The STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck initiative will kick off on Sunday, January 27 in the Gerritsen Beach community in Brooklyn, NY from 11am – 3pm with Chefs Sercarz and Karmel serving up free bowls of one of America’s favorite comfort foods as the community continues to rebuild.
“We’re excited to work with such a talented group of chefs to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy recovery,” said Chef Sercarz. “With the STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck, we hope to help a city that many chefs call home.”
For additional information on the STOUFFER’S® Mac ‘N’ Cheese Truck schedule, locations, recipes, and dates and times of celebrity chef appearances, please visit www.facebook.com/stouffers and join the conversation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stouffers and via the hashtag #stouffersmobilemac.
The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations in support of hurricane relief are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, cleaning materials and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.
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