New Food Truck Venture

Joined Sep 16, 2016
So I've been working the past 2 years or so in a country club as the Sous and Chef for about 30 or so people.  I cook exclusively for them--one meal per day usually--and I help handle inventory, staffing and some of the other book keeping.  It is also worth mentioning that before these two years, I worked in the same place as a linecook for two years.

About a month ago, a guy I respect and look up to that owns a successful coffeeshop in the area approached me with a job offer:  to run his food truck.  It's his first time going into the business and wanted someone with experience in both foodservice and management to run it.  His involvement woukd be fairly minimal though he is a bit knowledged when it comes to food.  He wants one more individual working the truck at all times that I would get to choose and it needs to be open 6 days per week, if possible.  Pay wasn't really mentioned, though he's aware of my current pay at $14/hr and mentioned 'payouts based on revenue'.

So this is a good guy, and he wouldn't take advantage of me unless I pretty much made it difficult for him not to.  I suppose my question to you guys is:  how does this sound?  What sorts of questions should I ask about this thing?  What sorts of things can I expect?  It would be the first time RUNNING something like this before, or even completely designing a menu for something like this.   While I feel pretty confident in my skills, I also feel pretty clueless.

I should also mention that the vision for the truck is breakfast.  Mostly biscuit sandwiches, with gravy, grits and tater-tot applications.
Joined Nov 11, 2012
I don't have any experience with food trucks, so with the particulars I can't comment.

What I would suggest though, is that you ask yourself where you want to be in 5 years...ten years...etc?  And does leaving your current position and working a breakfast food truck help you reach those goals?  

Also, it sounds like you've been at your current place for four years now, and in restaurants thats usually a pretty lengthy stay.  So I'm assuming you have a fair bit of seniority there.  I'd also think theres more to learn even after 4 years in a country club setting than in a food truck slinging biscuits.  (Although I've seen some very sad country club kitchens...)

I'd note a couple red flags in what you wrote:

"It's his first time going into the business" - so its his first and your first experience with a food truck?  You both should look heavily into the laws and regulations governing these things and making sure you comply.  I know that in my state you have to have a commissary kitchen that the truck operates out of, so does he have one ready for that?  say in the coffeeshop?

"'payouts based on revenue" - this means if it doesn't make a profit you get shafted.  Seen that one too many times.  Especially if he says something like "since we're just starting out I can't pay a lot, but once we're up and running for a few months we can bump up your pay."  i.e. you shoulder more of the risk than you should.

"he wouldn't take advantage of me" - is he your father?  your brother?  Thats a very risky assumption to make.  I got fired from an exec. chef position by a friend of 20 years that I thought I could trust because I kept bringing up our high food cost and menu prices and disagreed with his choice of FoH manager.  (The FoH manager left him a year later and he sold the place 6 months after that for less than what he spent to open it.)  So I'd be real careful assuming you can't get used.  

I hope I'm not sounding too conservative or trying to put a damper on your plans.  You do need to take risks in life.  But definitely make sure you're not jumping into something without fully understanding the risks you are taking.  And make sure that whatever you decide helps advance your long term career goals.

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