what is important if one wants to open food truck

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chalkdust, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    skill set wise

    I am a talented home cook with some restaurant experience.  I was wondering what I need to get under my belt to open a food truck?
     
  2. chefjess606

    chefjess606

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    Most important thing is going to be pricing. You need every single item you are going to sell to be mapped out to the penny. Buy a book about menu costing, it will help. As far as kitchen skills, that depends on what you will serving. Do some research on similar food trucks/ menus to see what is popular or lacking. I'm not too sure about the permits as it differs by city and state but you need to make sure you have all of those as well.
     
  3. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    I will open a trinidadian roti and doubles shop. doubles is two flattened yeast breads of east indian origin, deep fried, similar to puri or luchi, the two breads known as doubles are circular in shape, puffy, and can fit in the palm of one hand, they are used to hold curried channa (chickpeas) and various garnishes and condiments like tamarind sauce, cucumber chutney and hot pepper sauce are squirted on as the customer wishes.

    roti will be of the paratha variety which is a thin and flakey flat bread, very buttery and a lot of delicious when used to eat goat curry or curry pumpkin, which i plan on selling.

    I also want to have aloo pie which is a deep fried baking powder dough stuffed with garlicy turmeric and cumin stuffed mashed potatoes, usually eaten with hot pepper sauce.

    finally is phulourie which is a yeast and baking powder risen batter with a bit of flour and a bit of besan flour or ground up yellow split peas. seasoned with cilantro, hot peppers, curry powder and garlic, then deep fried and eaten with watered down mango chutney or achar (a spicy mango condiment).

    then we have the deserts. there are three or four i want to make and i will just post recipes for those as long as recipes of the doubles roti and phulourie!

    thanks for reading.

    http://www.jehancancook.com/2009/07/948/

    http://www.jehancancook.com/2009/06/paratha-roti-demystified/

    http://www.inner-gourmet.com/2010/10/guyanese-pholourie.html?m=0

    http://www.jehancancook.com/2009/04/207/

    i forgot to mention these, another deep fried snack. just about the best thing you can do with a cassava. i will stuff mine with either eggs or minced beef seasoned with a brown sauce (browned onions and browned flour) along with some minced celery onion and thyme

    http://www.jehancancook.com/2014/02/cassava-pone/

    http://chennette.net/2007/02/04/gulab-jamoon-recipe/

    http://www.jehancancook.com/2016/07/trinidadian-aloo-pie/

    http://www.jehancancook.com/2009/05/test-kitchen-tuesday-coconut-salara/

    http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/doubles/

    http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/coconut-chutney/?showComment=1243604135582

    http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/tambran-tamarind-sauce

    also as a bonus when i am feeling up for it i will cook an austrian malakoff torte (i am half austrian and this is one of the best examples of austrian pastry)

    https://snapguide.com/guides/make-malakoff-torte-an-austrian-specialty/

    i just posted this recipe as an example of what i am talking about... my dads recipe is better than a lot of the ones you will find even in vienna
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  4. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    There are no trini or guyanese places round these parts. i am not sure if what i picked to cook, particularly the rotis and doubles will be too complicated or not. most of the savory stuff is deep fried and the curry pumpkin and goat and the deserts can be made ahead of time, and thats about all i know. more input is great but i give thanks for what i have already received.
     
  5. someday

    someday

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    That sounds like a lot. Might be better to concentrate on 2 or 3 things you can execute well and do those. Everything you make you have to buy, prep, store and sell. Space is limited, as is time. Do yourself a favor and start smaller so you can control it better. Once business is booming and your customers trust you, then add things to the menu.

    Otherwise you might bite off more than you can chew and sink before you even get going.
     
  6. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    Sounds delicious! Stick with a small menu of 2 or 3 items and watch the cosrz.
     
  7. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    This is Halal Guys in NYC. Take a look at them on Yelp there are lots of pictures of what they do. 


    That being said, what I wanted you to see is that they offer everything in one plate. Whats nice about a food truck is, you only have to do a few things good. Just offer a few tasty plates. The secret to success is location, good food, friendly people working the truck. Make the Health Dept your friend and make sanitation a strong point in your operation. 
     
  8. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    How do I get started?  I havn't cooked in a restaurant in over a year.  Thinking of going to culinary school.  The reason I ask is because I know I dont have the knife skills etc.  I am applying for work at various ethnic restaurants around town.
     
  9. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Are you picking this kind of food because it's a food you know, love and cook well. Is this a food that people tell you is something special, wonderful, full of great taste and unique flavors. If the answer to this is yes, then your on you way. You don't need to be a chef to cook good food. You also don't need to chop veggies like a chef to cook a few good entrees. Start at the Health Dept find out whats allowed in your city.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
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  10. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    Yes. and thank you.
     
  11. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    what if one day i wanted to expand.... move to miami or something, or work in a haitian restaurant in miami?
     
  12. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    My answer to you was for operating a food truck. I'm just saying a food truck doesn't have large menus or staff. When it comes to running a restaurants your knowledge of food, management and skills will increase. If you feel that is in your future and you have the time to accomplish formal training then by all means do so. 
     
  13. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    You need to narrow your menu to what you can do best, do most consistently, and do most profitably. And as with most businesses, you need to possess enough starting capital to not only open, but also cover 3 months worth of overhead as a cushion until you gain traction. The far majority of businesses fail due to undercapitalisation.
     
  14. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Good, cheap, fast.  :)  Although people seem to be OK with not so fast if the food is either very good or very cheap.

    But good food is really important.
     
  15. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    is it ok to have daily specials that will give me some room to be completely spontaneous? or a weekly special etc?  will customers "dig that?"

    also: doubles and phulourie require yeast batters/doughs that are deep fried. can yeast stuff of this nature be made ahead of time and refrigerated/frozen?
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  16. french fries

    french fries

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    Why not? 

    There's a taco stand around here - I know, not a food truck, but same idea - that has a very simple menu with only 3 items.:


    And sometimes they also have specials like potato tacos or pulled pork taquitos. 

    They've been around forever and are successful. 
     
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  17. chalkdust

    chalkdust

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    my next question is one of logistics. i have never done this before so i am wondering about how to cook (for example pre frying the deep fried stuff) when to cook, where to have stuff, at home or in a rented kitchen. can a truck hold a deep fryer? i dont want the food to taste oil so the oil will have to be changed out frequently. when to make what etc where and how. how can i make a plan for that?

    Also got an interview with a cuban restaurant here in town.  Not sure if i will be quick enough but I will put my mind to it and do my best.
     
  18. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Chalk, Go on Google and search "Food Truck Kitchens pictures" then click on more images. That will give you more answers than you even have questions for. I think it's a good idea getting a job at the Cuban restaurant. I hope you do well. Don't worry about holding the fried bread or flat bread items. There are steam tables available that will hold all your food up to temp. There are refer cold cases that will hold all your cold vegetable items. If they is a need they is a way. The fryers you are talking about come in all sizes that can allow you to filer the oil on a daily basis. Right now you need to get info on "IF" this can be done in your area. Check on all city and county ordinances about operating a food truck in the city limits. You also need to find out if you can only park on private property. You also need to find out if you need a commissary to prep and store you food along with a place to dump you gray water. Stop one and two for you>>>>> City and Health dept for information needed to operate a food truck........Good luck.......