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Food Trucks

September 28, 2012

If You Could Ask A Food Truck Entrepreneur One Question…

If you could ask a food truck entrepreneur one question what would it be?  I have the honor of being asked to moderate a food truck panel discussion at University of Washington’s Entrepreneur Week.  On the panel will be three of Seattle’s finest food truck entrepreneurs – Molly Neitzel (Molly Moon’s), Josh Henderson (Skillet), and Marshall Jett (Veraci Pizza), who each have a wealth of knowledge and experience in all things mobile food (and all things delicious food too!).  So I’m offering you the opportunity to help me craft the list of questions that I will pose to the panel and I’ll report back after the event on October 17th.

So what would you like to know?  Share the questions you wish you could ask of food truck entrepreneurs with me here.  If you happen to be in or near the Seattle area on October 17th you can also attend the event for free and get a chance to enjoy a lunch from the food trucks that will be parked right outside.  More information about University of Washington’s Entrepreneur Week can be found here.

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11 comments on “If You Could Ask A Food Truck Entrepreneur One Question…

      • James Shanley on said:

        It seems that many communities just don’t know what “box” to put food trucks into for proper permitting. What is probably even more problematic is the friction with brick and mortar restaurants. They pay taxes, which always gets the attention of the mayor, councilors or selectmen. Not an easy needle to thread.

        • smallfoodbiz on said:

          I do have a question about the relationship with brick and mortars on my list! Food trucks pay taxes too and some would argue are helping to creating jobs in a very tight economy when it’s hard for people to start restaurants/get financing for restaurants. Agree that it’s not an easy needle to thread and I also have complete empathy for the brick and mortars. That being said, there have been a bunch of times when it’s just “easier” for me to go to the local brick and mortar rather than driving across town to where my favorite food truck is parked that day so brick and mortar’s do have that benefit in their favor.

          • James Shanley on said:

            Please don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of food trucks, I just know the friction that exists out there. Look what happened in Hoboken, NJ.

            I think you are right on the money that sometimes its easier (and maybe more comfortable) to go to a traditional restaurant, and other times a food truck is a great option. Often times people have very limited time for lunch, and trucks provide a much better option than either the vending machine down the hall or a fast food joint.

            MIT just had a symposium on the general topic of mobile retailing. Many of the issues around Food Trucks are popping up with other mobile retail platforms.

            Interesting times we live in.

  • bzmomma on said:

    What does it take to get started? How much capital do you need? What kind of permits do you need? What about refrigeration, cooking thoroughly? Where do you dispose of your waste? Where do you go about finding out the best food vendor/supplier? What if you get a bad “batch” and A) cook/serve without realizing or B)are given a hard time w/returning / getting a refund?

    sorry…Maybe my questions have all been answered before. If so, please direct me to sites/entries.

    • smallfoodbiz on said:

      bzmomma – some of these questions are specific to where you’re located especially when you’re talking about things like permitting as that really varies on a city by city basis. But I can certainly add to the others to the list!

  • Barbara on said:

    My question is..how do I get the towns who have had a “no food truck” law for EVER to allow me to park in their towns? Im in Point Pleasant, NJ and their law is OLD and they say it is to protect the restaurant owners back in the day. Gormet food trucks would be fabulous in these shore towns for beach go’ers who dotn want to go to a “sit down” restaurant and business in town where all there is to eat is “pizza & chineese” food.

    • smallfoodbiz on said:

      That’s a tough question as that requires basically changing the laws. It can be done if the folks who want to start food trucks in the area are a strong enough group and have the patience to continually lobby their representatives but it does take time.