Are you a new food truck operator? No, sorry, but I am not a food truck lot operator. I am a food blogger who helps other food truck fans locate a food truck.
I can not help you get into a lot rotation, and I do not schedule food truck lots, and I have no access to food truck events. However, I am glad to direct you to promoters who may be able to help you. You can try contacting these people, but please remember that there are more food trucks than there are spaces in the lots. Meaning, the food lots can be booked for months before an opening comes up.
As you wait for an opening, why not try your hand at being your own boss? Hopefully the reason you opened a food truck was to be your own boss, and not follow the coat tails off other people’s successful gatherings, right?? I didn’t mean to come across as rude, but new truck operators seem to think that the food truck industry is easy and stress free. Sadly, it is not. It has become an over saturated market, and veteran food trucks are not always willing to lend a helping hand.
There are some operators who MAY help new trucks. You can contact them, and see if they can point you in the right direction. Remember, they may also turn you away, so good luck!
- Street food events. Runs mostly in the South Bay, Twitter: @StreetFoodEvnts
- Atomic Eats: Runs mostly in Cerritos/ Artesia area. Twitter: @AtomicEats
- GrubMachine: Runs in the South Bay area. Twitter: 2grubmachine
- Lot Mom: Rolls in the Valley, Santa Monica.Twitter @LotMom
- Food truck army: Booking agent for trucks.Twitter: @FoodTruckArmy
- Street Chef Stop, Runs mostly in Irvine area.,Twitter: @StreetChefStop
- Curbside bites: Rolls in OC, LA (including Pomona area) and even San Diego, Twitter: @Curbsidebites
- IE Food Trucks: Rolls mostly in the Inland Empire, but now coordinating in the OC. Twitter: @IE_foodtrucks
New lots — as of August 2015:
- Food Truck Haven: Run by @BellyBombz from Tuesdays to Thursdays, both lunch AND dinner at the Outlets of Orange, Twitter: @FoodTruckHaven
- Street Food Wednesday and Thursday:Dinner in Garden Grove, Contact: @DosChinos
HELPFUL TIPS FOR NEW FOOD TRUCKS
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Foodies will use social media to find a food truck. It is to your advantage to learn how to Tweet, Instagram and even Facebook. It’s free and not difficult to use, plus it is a great way to get to know your customers!
DO YOUR OWN SOCIAL MEDIA: I’ve heard many new trucks are “hiring” someone to do their social media for them. Seriously? You SHOULD to be hands on, so that when something comes up, you can immediately notify your customers of the new change.
TWEETING: Tweet your lunch and/ or dinner location before you leave your commissary (exact address appreciated). Tweet before service (around 11:00), especially when hungry people are looking for places to eat. Tweet again as you arrive at your location and tweet again during service.
Example of a tweet:
Lunch #AcmeCompany w @FoodTruck1 11-2p, 1955 E Main, NewportBch, serving #FriedTwinkies + #Paella
INSTAGRAM: Post on instagram pictures of your fans, your food, or a shot of your location. Hashtag and geocache your location. You can also link your instagram account so that it will tweet and Facebook your instagram post at the same time.
WEB IT OR BLOG IT: Have your web site updated and running before posting your URL information to the public. A web site without any information, or has the word “still under construction” is 100% useless, not to mention annoying! Get your site up and running before you launch. Its always good to have Twitter, Instagram or Facebook available to the fans if you don’t have a web site up yet.
There are plenty of free web sites and even blog sites such as blogger.com or wordpress.com. You don’t have to be tech savvy either. On a blog site (such as this one), you can post information such as your calendar or events, and let people know where you will be, in case they miss your tweets. You can also have your tweets embedded also. Again, use social media so your customers can find you.
UPDATE YOUR CALENDAR: Based on personal experience, Google Calendar seems to be the easiest way to update and post. It is also easy for other people to copy onto their own calendar, so they can keep track of where to find you. The calendar you see on this blog’s page is from google, and I have also integrated other food truck calendar onto mine. I would be happy to add your calendar onto mine, so just ask!
DON’T FLAKE: If you accidentally double book yourself, don’t leave the venue stranded. Hold yourself accountable and find a replacement truck. No one likes a flake.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX: If the other food trucks aren’t helping you… roll up your sleeves, scout your own lot, and be in charge of your own rotating food lots! You wanted to be your own boss… so do it! Micro brewers and residential apartment complexes are great venues to work with.
CASH ONLY? If you only accept cash, post that information on your web site, and on the front of your food truck window. There is nothing worse than a customer ordering a bunch of food, and realize they can’t pay because you are a cash only venue. Warn the customers ahead of time that you don’t accept credit.
THINK SQUARE: Or, perhaps DO consider investing into a portable credit card reader? Many food truck fans don’t carry a lot of cash. You will get more business if you accept debit or credit. The percentage a credit card company charges is minimal compared to the loss of the sales you should be getting. Most of the GFTS are using a credit card swiper like Intuit or Square Up, where you can attach to the iPhone / iPad/ Smartphone. I saw one at Best Buy in the mobile phone section, but I am sure you can find it online like on Amazon, Paypal, Apple, or Google.
GAS IT UP: Food trucks are known to drink a lot of gas, and your truck is also carrying a heavy load. The gas gauge may also not be accurate, and will run out before you know it. There’s nothing worse than canceling on an event because you ran out of gas. So, before hopping on the carpool lane, or making that second service, fill up the tank.
Your food truck is also experiencing a lot of wear and tear compared to a “normal” food truck. Keep a log of the maintenance, and service your truck regularly. Too many trucks on the street seem to have mechanical failures because the food trucks are overworked. In other words,if you are using a “used” truck, expect to have your truck break down at least once.
If people like your food, the word of mouth will happen. So encourage people to use social media, and as a food truck operator, it is your responsibility to do the same, and respond to the cheers and jeers. Check up on Yelp and see what the foodies say about your food, your service, and respond to their opinions accordingly.