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OPENING OUR FOOD TRUCK – THINGS WE WISH WE WOULD HAVE KNOWN
Dec 5th 2017
We included a quick video of the condition in which we found our second food truck, and a little about how we have transformed it thus far. It had been abandoned in a field for 30 years when we found it, so needless to say we had to put a lot of work into it! Shout out to Richard and Dave for all your help and expertise!
For those interested in what it takes to get a food truck going, and maybe interested in starting one of your own, we have included a basic list of things we wish we had known when we built our first truck. And we will start with this preface; When we started our venture of opening Coco Shrimp, we had very few funds. This gave us the opportunity to be creative and find ways to cut costs. This has given us the unique feel we have today.
1. THE TRUCK – A lot of people think you need to buy an already built out truck that has an already functioning commercial kitchen, but there are other options - we took the route (as we are doing now with our second truck) of finding a vehicle that can be converted into a food truck. Fun fact: when we purchased Coco Shrimp truck No.1 we found out pretty quickly that Isaac (one of the owners) couldn't even stand up straight in it, so make sure you find a truck with enough room for your needs! In order to outfit your truck with a kitchen, you can find a certified mobile kitchen contractor to do your dirty work. This will be one of your larger expenses so shop around, get quotes and compare prices!
2. KITCHEN EQUIPMENT – You can definitely budget to buy your equipment new, but if you want to save a little, you can find a resturant equipment auction in your area and buy refurbished equipment. This equipment often comes from restaurants that are closing that still have perfectly good stuff. This helped us save a ton! For example a brand new fryer can easily set you back $1000, but at an auction you can find one for around $200.
3. COMMISSARY - This is a place you dump and fill your water. Also if you don't have much room on your food truck, this is also the place you will need to store products used on your truck. So either get really good at predicting how much food you need for the day so you don't have any product waste, or use your commissary to extra store products.
4. GENERATOR - Have a good generator. A generator is how you will supply your truck with electricity and it allows you to be mobile. We suggest looking for an Inverter generator. They are a fairly new technology and are not as loud as traditional generators. This way your atmosphere is not nearly as noisy and your customers can carry conversations. They are a little more pricey but worth the extra few bucks because they are safer for your truck and 5 times quieter.
5. TRUCK EXTERIOR - Have fun decorating your truck. Every other food truck is shrink wrapped. Not only did we save a lot by hand painting our truck, but it has really helped it stand out. We have gone to many events with big industrial food trucks and ours is always unique. We get tons of questions about it and people are often drawn to our truck because of its not-so-typical look!
6. PERMITS - There are a few, and they are pretty accessible online in most areas. They also differ depending on your area of operation so take some time to research what they are. Also be sure to stay in touch with Consumer - Health throughout your buildout. This is especially important if you have a more unique concept like we did. After we were finished outfitting our food truck and ready to be approved we were told that in the city of Fort Worth you are not allowed to cook raw shrimp in a mobile truck. We ended up having to go through a lot of appeals and a lot of trips to consumer health in order to get our concept approved.
7. LOCATION - A great place to start is in a local food park. This is a place where you can find a lot of food trucks parked in the same place. Here in Fort Worth, we have The Fort Worth Food Park and the Clearfork Food Park. Chuck, the owner, is a really great guy and is always looking for new trucks to put in the rotation. Its a great community and you will learn a lot from the other vendors . Its an awesome place to start out, especially if you don't have a ton of cash. You don't have to pay rent to park there, you just give them a small percentage of your sales at the end of the night.
8. CASH VS CARD - Cash only is a thing of the past. Nobody caries cash anymore. You will get a lot more customers if you go to a bank and open a business account. Just go and tell them you want to run credit cards. Banks will be wanting your business so do your research and compare rates.
9. OPERATIONS: Food trucks are known for having long wait times because of the limited staff and the limited space. Find THE most efficient way to cook and prepare your food. This is even something we struggle with still. We make our food fresh, cooked to order and this can increase wait times. So explore all your options, do dry runs on friends and family before opening.
We hope these basic tips will help some of you out there! Let us know if you have any further questions or want us to go into more detail about anything! We are so excited to be opening our second truck and are stoked to share it with y'all!
COCO SHRIMP No.2 – A FORT WORTH FOOD TRUCK
Nov 25th 2017
Big things are on the horizon! Coco Shrimp truck no.2 is in the works for 2018! This truck has been a long time coming but we finally decided to take the plunge. We came across a 1960s milk delivery truck that had been out of commission for some time and thought it would fit perfectly as our no.2 seafood food truck! The boys have been working on it off and on, having to fully restore the engine and much of the body from scratch! With the help of some of our close friends who have expert knowledge on all things car related, it is finally up and running! Our next step is outfitting it to be ready to cook some delicious shrimp! While this restaurant on wheels is a few months from slinging shrimp here in fort worth, we thought we would petition you guys on a few things!
First! We are tossing around the idea of documenting our process of getting this truck up and ready for business in the Fort Worth area. Going over things like, what goes into outfitting a food truck, what permits are required, what resturant equipment is needed and so fourth. There is quite a bit of insider knowledge and red tape, and throughout our journey with the original Coco Shrimp we have been approached countless times and asked a lot of questions about the process. We were thinking it might help some people out who might be interested in starting their own food truck. So let us know!
Next! We also wanted to hear from y’all what you would be most interested in the second truck doing? Events? Downtown fort worth location? Catering? The possibilities are endless! We really want to spread our seafood delicacy to all of Fort Worth and beyond!
Check out a few of the pictures we have included of our progress thus far! We are stoked about this new Coco Shrimp food truck and would love to hear y’alls input!