A Small Business Series of Articles for Food Truck and Mobile Catering Entrepreneurs
From articles and interviews with celebrity chefs, break-out food truck stars and well-travelled street food bloggers to faceless food truck catering booking services, you’ll find plenty of “expert” opinions on what a successful food truck or catering business looks like. But you have to ask yourself, what do they know?
Clearly they know what it takes to succeed in their areas of expertise, or they wouldn’t be where they are today. But are they subject matter experts in the area of mobile catering? Do they possess first hand knowledge about building a successful food truck business from the ground up?
I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with executive chefs from some of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, master chefs, celebrity chefs, corporate chefs, nationally televised food-truck competition winners, and any number of talented cooks and pit masters. With hundreds of years of experience between us, we can all agree upon one fact: just because you are a talented chef or possess the skills to craft amazing recipes, doesn’t mean you have the chops to go into business for yourself.
Being a successful entrepreneur and business owner means arming yourself with a good business plan and surrounding yourself with an inner circle of skilled professionals – or at a minimum folks who share your passion and vision for the business you are about to embark upon. Those two determining factors, combined with a keen understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses will go far in cultivating success in your business endeavor.
I jumped aboard the mobile cuisine bandwagon in 2012 and have enjoyed a successful career, thanks to a crew of superstars, a management team I can rely on, and a close circle of friends and advisors whose counsel I seek regularly. After a 34 year career of Military and Civilian Federal Government experience as a soldier, community planner, operations officer, and Antiterrorism Specialist, I have been blessed with this opportunity to follow my dream.
As an entrepreneur, I started a food truck business from scratch, building it into a successful multi-truck, multi-location restaurant and catering business in Hawaii, including Aloha Gourmet Food Trucks of Hawaii, Aloha Gourmet Burgers, a soon-to-be-launched, not yet named Fried Chicken Food Truck, and our multi-truck flagship Tin Hut BBQ – just voted Hawaii’s Best Food Truck for 2017 by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Statistics show that the Food Truck business, which currently generates more than $2.7 billion a year in revenue, is growing at a rate of 3.5%, which is good, but it should be noted that this is down from the 7.9% enjoyed by the industry in the recent past. This can be attributed to a number of factors including increased competition, lower profit margins, increase in regulatory hurdles, or changes in health department requirements.
One could also argue (and it’s my opinion) that too many new business owners are jumping into the popular food truck arena without the experience, knowledge, and most important, a well-thought-out, rehearsed, and carefully executed business plan – the very foundation of any successful business.
As a seasoned subject matter expert on starting and operating a food truck, I will address the scope of owning and operating a mobile cuisine and catering business through a series of articles about topics that matter to a mobile catering entrepreneur, including:
- Finding a commercial or commissary kitchen to support your mobile food truck or catering operation. (click to see article)
- How to write a mobile catering business plan
- Tips for cultivating, training, and motivate a team
- Choosing a theme for your food truck or mobile catering business
- Food Truck and catering menu design tips
- How to book successful catering events
- How to improve your bottom line by avoiding a few rookie mistakes
- Courting investors, vetting vendors, and securing all the necessary licenses and permits required to operate a food truck or catering business
- Going mobile, from brick and mortar to food truck
I invite readers to reach out with the questions and topics you’d like to see covered. Simply email me at TinHut_BBQ@yahoo.com and I may feature your topic or respond to your question in a subsequent article.
Leading the innovative culinary team at Tin Hut BBQ and Aloha Gourmet Food Trucks Hawaii is Owner/Founder and Pitmaster, Frank Diaz, retired U.S. Army veteran-turned D.O.D. Antiterrorism Specialist.
Diaz’ concept – to provide diverse, cultural cuisine from the best food trucks in Hawaii – allows customers to bring gourmet food trucks to their events with the click of a button.