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 mooch off other people's successful gatherings, right?? I didn't mean to come across as rude, but new truck ooperators seem to think that the food truck industry is easy and stress free. 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.
Street food events. Runs mostly in the South Bay
Atomic Eats: Runs mostly in Cerritos/ Artesia area.
Lot Mom: Rolls in the Valley, Santa Monica.
Food truck army: Booking agent for trucks.
Street Chef Stop, Runs mostly in Irvine area
Curbside bites: Rolls in OC, LA (including Pomona area) and even San Diego
IE Food Trucks: Rolls mostly in the IE, but now trying in the OC.
Are you a new food truck? Here's some "do's" and "don'ts" for new GFTS. They sound like common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many GFTS are complete idiots when it comes to these tasks.
- DO invest in learning how to tweet on Twitter. Its free to join, but it does take time to use. Its not that hard to learn, but the lingo is different. When creating a username, pick something easy to spell, easy to remember, and reflect on what your specialty is.
- TWEET often. Interact with the fans. Tweet your location before you leave your commissary (exact address appreciated). Tweet your estimated arrival time (ETA). And Tweet again mid day, especially before lunch. Tweet again before dinner, and tweet again during dinner. Tweet, and tweet often! Use #Hashtags if it can help people find you.
- DO have your web site updated and running before posting your URL information to the public. Web sites without correct information (or still under construction!) is 100% useless! Hey, its part of your bread-and-butter, so get it fixed! If you can't get the web site running, use a blogsite or even Facebook as a backup. Its always good to have both Twitter and Facebook available to the fans. DO have active links and contact information accessible on your twitter | Facebook | website accounts.
- Do NOT expect or rely on others to get your food truck going. Do NOT expect a free hand out, or to be added into their rotation because you asked.
- DO 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!
- DO follow other GFTS on social media, but its up to you to promote yourself. DO respond back to tweets in a timely manner. Like in any business, no response means your competition gets a chance to steal your business! Solution? Check your phone constantly, and (here's that word again) TWEET when you have down time.
- Do post a menu so we know what you sell, but Do NOT assume your menu is set in stone. On your web page, keep us updated on what you're serving. Keep a few staple items (particularly your best sellers) on the menu, but rotate or change items out as the season changes. It'll bring customers back for the new stuff.. and (here's that word again) TWEET an announcement of your new food items with pictures.
- DO keep your commitment if you're booking a venue. Also if you double book yourself, DO give ample notice to back out... and be respectful by finding a replacement for the venue.
- DO fill up your gas tank. It sounds trivial, but if you can't make it to your destination, or you're deemed unreliable, other GFTs won't want you in the group.
- Do NOT crash other GFT lots unless you were invited. Many cities require a permit and are allowed only a certain number of vehicles per site. Crashing a site may mean disqualifying a permit, and no one likes a party crasher.
- When you are starting out... DO post on your web if you are cash only. One foodie went to try a new GFT and realized she didn't have enough cash because she assumed the GFT accepted credit / debit cards. Don't let your customer assume!
- DO invest into a portable credit card reader. Most of the GFTS are using a credit card swiper you can attach to the iPhone / Smartphone. I saw one at Best Buy in the mobile phone section, but I am sure you can find it online like on Amazon, Apple, or via Google.
- Don't get hacked! Create a password that uses UPPER and lowercase with $ymbo!s, and Num3ers or a combination of such to make it harder for your account to be compromised.
There's probably more Do's and Don'ts for new trucks, but those are the most common issues. I may not be a GFT operator, but I have been involved long enough to know which GFTS are reliable.. and which ones to avoid! As someone who eats at GFTS, I don't have time to guess where to find a truck. I have money, and any of the GFTS will be glad to take it.