Raise Funds, Win Hearts

The food truck phenomenon that started in Los Angeles wasn’t just a flash in the pan. The food and restaurant industry is always evolving, and food trucks are an affordable point of entry into the industry. Independent operators can jumpstart their F&B venture and connect directly with their customers. What’s been amazing is the ability of top food trucks to rally and mobilize a fan base to follow the truck around the city instead of the truck chasing the crowd.

But there comes a time when one food truck isn’t enough. If you’re turning down catering opportunities because you can’t be in multiple places at once, or your line is insane and you need a bigger kitchen to meet demand, maybe it’s time to expand your fleet or open a physical restaurant. But traditional financing options are limited – banks usually require more collateral than what food trucks can offer. These days, savvy F&B operators build on their homegrown success and harness their popularity to take their business up a notch by crowdfunding. They’re able to welcome their fan base as investors, crowdfunding the chunk of cash they need to grow (all the while drawing in new potential customers!).

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Announcing Georgia’s First Owner-Operated Food Truck Association

At 4PM EST on 27th February 2017, the newly-formed Food Truck Association of Georgia (FTAG) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to publicly announce their formation, at the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce on 11605 Haynes Bridge Road in Alpharetta, Georgia.

The Food Truck Association of Georgia is the first food-truck-owner-operated association in Georgia and is already 35-members strong and growing.  

FTAG Board Member Tony Harrison, owner of the Cousins Maine Lobster truck, has outlined five key priorities for the organization. 

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How Did Food Trucks Become So Popular in Los Angeles?

How did food trucks become so popular in Los Angeles?

How did food trucks become so popular in Los Angeles?  Is it the price? How about the food?  The modern food truck industry seems to have come out of no where.  One second there were traditional taco trucks the next second there's Roy Choi and Kogi!  How did the new trend become so popular so quickly?  There are many facets to the answer.

The most common answer; Roy Choi launched Kogi in late 2008 just as the economy was slumping. During this time Twitter was exploding onto the nascent social media scene.  Kogi used Twitter to connect with Los Angelenos.  The cuisine was different but familiar to city residents who had grown up with both Mexican and Korean food.  It was a perfect storm of cuisine, promotion and the public's desire for deals.  This answer ignores a few other variables.

So what lead to the huge surge in Los Angeles?  In order for there to be a surge we needed the demand, but potential new vendors also needed food trucks.  The economic downturn had a dramatic effect on the construction industry in Los Angeles County.  The huge drop in construction projects meant a decline in the market for traditional taco trucks.  Many of the trucks that had served construction sites went out of business once construction sites disappeared.  Those food trucks were returned (or repossessed) to builders/lenders who were the original owners. The industry had a huge supply of permitted food trucks waiting to get rented to any aspiring entrepreneur with a dream.  Our industry went from one food truck to ten to sixty in 18 months.  So this addresses how the industry was able to grow so quickly. Now on to the why....

Why are people so enamored with food trucks?  In 2010 The first Los Angeles Street Food Fest expected 4000 people.  18000 people showed up and 6000 were turned away.  People came to wait in line to get into a festival where they waited in line to eat at a food truck. It was simply an amazing spectacle. City officials, some restaurant owners and many bloggers didn't really grasp the draw.  From my perspective, the draw was a combination of three variables.

 

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Marketplace Competition Creates New Small Business and Employment Opportunities in Jacksonville, FL

JACKSONVILLE — The food truck explosion is a nationwide phenomenon, with numerous cities embracing market competition and providing their citizens with accessible, innovative, and award-winning cuisines at affordable prices, and nowhere is this more apparent in the state of Florida than in its most populous city, Jacksonville. 

Roger Bull, in the Florida Times-Union, reports that the explosion of trucks in Jacksonville, now numbering over 100 and growing, and aided by the local food truck organization, Jax Truckies, has led to the creation of auxiliary businesses that help support the industry to continue to expand.

Beaver Street Commissary, a food truck commissary operated by Chriss Brown, opened six years ago with room to service 15 area trucks. 

But with so many current trucks and local regulations stipulating that any truck not self-contained with its own storage, refrigeration, freezer, and washing facilities partner with a commissary, the need has arisen for more facilities.

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Capital City Food Truck Convention!

How do I start a food truck?

The Capital City Food Truck Convention is a two day mobile vending conference for food truck operators, suppliers and public health officials that will be held on March 12th and 13th of 2016. (For more info click here: http://www.dmvfta.org/convention/) .  The most asked question on the comment section of this site is, "How do I start a food truck?" The answer: "Educate yourself." The Capital City Food Truck Convention curriculum covers everything that the aspiring mobile vendor needs as well as connecting suppliers with the new industry.  The convention is organized, attended and supported by food truck operators and Food Truck Associations. Many of the other conventions are not organized by an actual food truck association or even a food truck operator.

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Celebrating Philadelphia’s Food Truck Mayor

Celebrating Philadelphia’s Food Truck Mayor

 

Philadelphia’s food trucks are the quintessential American small business success story

Philadelphia, PA 28th December 2015

Mayor-elect Jim Kenney has fans amongst Philadelphia’s strong and growing food truck movement, and that feeling is decidedly mutual. 

“It’s the essence of small business creation,” stated Kenney in a 10 Feb 2015Philly.com piece. 

From the appearance of the first gourmet food trucks in Philadelphia in mid-2010 to their explosion across Philadelphia’s epicurean landscape in 2013, Kenney, then as City Councilman-at-large, has been there every step of the way helping to expand opportunities for food trucks that the Philly public has been clamoring to see. 

Now as Mayor-elect, he’ll further solidify Philadelphia’s place as the East coast’s premier gourmet food truck champion.

 

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Food Truck Safety

Food Truck Safety Live Online Training
Date: December 1, 2015
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm (EST) 

This event will be hosted by Jacqueline Wilmot of NFPA with special guests from the fire service and the president of the National Food Truck Association. Mobile food trucks are bringing restaurant fare to more cities and communities nationwide, with thousands of vehicles now in operation. What are the most reliable ways to protect vendors and patrons from a host of unique fire and life safety hazards? This event serves up the most recent compiled data along with an eye-opening look at significant lessons from recent tragedies that could potentially have been avoided.  http://www.nfpa.org/liveonline

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Blaring the Horn for Food Trucks

by David Sax
in the New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Sitting on his sofa in the Venice section of this city, Matt Geller let out an exasperated sigh as he spoke to a familiar official from the county health department. Food trucks represented by Mr. Geller’s group, the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association, had been caught dumping waste water down storm drains. “That’s absolutely disgusting,” he said. “A state, federal and county violation.”

Armed with his phone, a law degree and a garage packed with boxes containing health and vehicle codes, Mr. Geller has established himself as a voice for the nation’s food truck movement. Through lawsuits and advocacy, he has written the playbook for how independent owners leverage their popularity to shape laws in their favor. That includes adhering to codes on waste water and collaborating with the city agencies that were once his adversaries.

Mr. Geller is a bit to food trucks as Cesar Chavez was to farm workers, though he has been criticized as being more concerned about the purveyors of bacon-topped cupcakes than about the immigrant small-business owners selling traditional tacos and pupusas.

Continue 

 

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Competition from Food Trucks is Good for the Marketplace

Original post date: July 20, 2011 - Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association website

By Jeff Dermer, SoCalMFVA Attorney with the law firm of Dermer Behrendt

The blogosphere and mainstream media has been recycling the same, poorly-reason analysis about how “unfair” competition from Gourmet Food Trucks is “bad for the local economy” and therefore discriminatory regulations that have the effect of limiting consumer choice are developed or maintained.  Just this week stories coming out of Seattle, Raleigh, Jacksonville, and New York City have regurgitated this theme.  The complaints are typical — “lower overhead” and “less taxes” (but not lower prices!) are reasons to ban or regulate the trucks out of existence (or at least, off the block).

As one of the Food-Truck Lawyers, I often have to rebut this argument with simple economic reasoning — which doesn’t always work so well because it is a little on the theoretical and, hence, boring side.  This week’s liquidation of Borders Group, Inc., and the media and societal reaction to it illustrates why the argument is so wrong and why the advance of food trucks should be welcomed as progress and not fought.

This week Borders Group, Inc. — the parent company of the familiar book store chain — announced that it will liquidate.  Borders was unable to find a buyer for its 399 stores.  The first Borders opened in 1971 and it was sold it K-Mart in 1992, which helped it expand from 20 to 400 stores.

So why did Borders fail?  The Wall Street Journal provides an analysis.  “The fall of the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain surprised few inside Store No. 1.”  (July 19, 2011, Lamenting Borders’ Death at ‘Store No. 1’ by Matthew Dolan.)  The WSJ surmises that the stores lost their distinctiveness while changes in technology led to increased competition from Amazon.com and other internet retailers and e-book providers.

 

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Red.org Partners with Food Trucks

A culinary movement that will leave you INSPI(RED).

 

WHAT is EAT (RED). DRINK (RED). SAVE LIVES?

From June 1 – June 10, dining establishments ranging from Food Trucks to Michelin rated restaurants to food markets are being invited to participate in the largest combined food service fundraising campaign EVER! Renowned Chef MARIO BATALI is leading the charge in this year’s EAT (RED). DRINK (RED). SAVE LIVES. campaign, for the benefit of (RED) (http://red.org), a non-profit organization started in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage the private sector in supporting the Global Fund and AIDS programs in Africa.

(RED), the newly formed National Food Truck Association (nationalfoodtrucks.org)wants YOU to join this INC(RED)IBLE culinary movement, generating money for AIDS treatments and positive press and exposure for ALL food trucks nationwide.

 

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