Creating a culture

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Sapphirebistro
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2012/04/02 00:08:26 (permalink)

Creating a culture

This is a continuation of a discussion on another thread I didn't want to derail it any more than I already did.

The discussion was about creating a food truck culture where there is not one and the pros and cons this approach.
#1

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    Sapphirebistro
    Junior Burger
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 00:22:46 (permalink)
    "No disrespect but your not even open yet and your going to...."

    No disrespect Dr. I'm thinking out side the box, looking at the potential in a market that has a great deal of growth.... I don't want to just be a truck on the streets this is a big picture type of thing.

    It's all part of my concept it was actually written into my business plan when I approached my investors. I want to create a long term purpose.
    #2
    DWags541
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 00:36:19 (permalink)
    I think its pretty smart to look at the local culture, or lack of before you invest.
    First, I might check to see if your city has any tough rules that would prevent you from selling your food and making a decent go at your business.
    I don't really think there are any cons in doing what you can to promote street food culture.
    I think going out of your way to connect with other food carts is smart. Building a community from what currently exists. It may be such a budding industry, that whoever is selling street food is just doing it very independent like. Look how people use this forums as a way to promote community and exchange ideas about what we have in common. You can do that on a local level and I think that will build up a good comradere that will help build community awareness of the growth of street food in your area.
    Participating in seasonal events could be a good way to introduce your product/business/concept to the community.
    #3
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 00:47:59 (permalink)
    Wait a minute...

    The landlord will take a percentage off your rent for every new $300 rent ( for him) you go find....that will be your competition in a brand new culture that does not exist...and has no following.

    I would not turn the world upside-down looking until you build following...and take it from there.

    Maybe we need to have start some threads about the trucks that had great ideas going into a project (and some very loyal customers) but did not make it. This happens...just like restaurants that do not make it.



    #4
    Sapphirebistro
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 01:20:20 (permalink)
    CCinNJ I agree, again I believe 1 truck in a parking lot will lose it's zest really fast.... Recall this is for a Friday and Sat bar crowd, what the fastest way to attract a crowd?? A Crowd... Having multiple trucks with different food done different ways creates excitement... And if I'm the one that pointed them in the right direction it creates good will I'm confident in my product and skill competition is good it creates demand it creates a destination.
    Also understand Im not going to allow it to undermine my profitability my business is the priority but I need to look long term as well look at the big picture I plan on securing my hold on the market and my client base before I start promoting this culture.
    #5
    wandering_joe
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 01:21:07 (permalink)
    Good evening everyone. I have to agree with Sapphire and DWags on this one. Basing my opinion on what I consider one of the best food truck crossovers, Torchy's Tacos, started in an Airstream and moved to a "trailer park" they invited their competition to join them and now they have eight B&M locations plus the trailer. And this is in Austin, TX, one of the best cities for food truck variety. This gives your guests the option of a few different vendors to buy from. Which one of us offers something for a BBQ lover with a vegetarian wife? Does everyone serve dessert? I am in the process of transitioning from exclusively doing private events to hitting the streets daily and I have met some operators in DC that were super helpful and some solo guys in the the 'burbs that literally shut their window in my face as soon as I introduced myself. Guess which ones were more successful?Rant over. Best of luck to you all.
    #6
    Sapphirebistro
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 01:34:29 (permalink)
    Thanks joe, and let be the first to say this isn't a right or wrong answer. business is a living organism, it adapts daily, changes with the trends not all markets are the same... Many big well developed markets are cut throat survival of the fittest, I totally understand that, what I'm proposing seems against the laws of small business success, and to a point I agree but this about creating a destination like joe said I will not be able to meets everyone's need but I don't want lack of variety to stop someone from coming to the area.
    #7
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 01:50:11 (permalink)
    It works in some communities...

    Here hot dogs paved the way for a hundred years on the street. Along with pretzels...falafel...knishes...gyros...nuts...etc.

    The food trucks are somewhat new...but there was a culture that existed that includes a city never sleeps hectic eclectic 24/7 constant customer base and millions of tourists who come ready to hit the street...for food.

    How many trucks does it take to feed a bar...in Iowa? No offense to Iowa. Lol
    #8
    DWags541
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 01:50:28 (permalink)
    I believe if you are the type to be hyper sensitive to competition, that is the kind of community your behavior (shutting people out) you will grow around you. Best of luck.
    If you share, you will receive, and there will be mutual benefit. In my opinion, this is the way to build a strong food cart/truck community in a way that benefits entrepreneurs and perspective customers.
    I don't think it is any coincidence that the nations most well known food cart community, Portland, OR, is also known for successful community based/grassroots movements, political, or otherwise. The growth of the food cart scene there has been both prolific and fast (an explosion and national recognition in a period of 2 years, 2009-2011).
     
    Sure there are other factors, like population density, the economy (entrepreneurs taking less money to street food concepts rather than Brick and Mortar), and perhaps the local culture. Would a city that has very little food options outside of the national chain fast food joints be open to mom and pop style creative food carts? 
    I am sure most of these citys that experience an explosion in food cart/truck culture had various "Taco Trucks/Trailers" operating for years before someone or a few people came along and put out some creative and fast cuisine on wheels and started a "mobile food revolution".
    My overall point is: A lot of these phenomena are community based. Obviously there is influence of the economy and peoples ability (businesspersons) to create an outlet with low overhead and lots of freedom, and the demand (customers) for cheap, creative, quality, convenient, accessible eats.
    But its rare that the mobile food revolution happens coincidentally. I think people see the opportunity to succeed in numbers and there is a lot of hand shaking, sharing and collaboration that makes for a stronger, more sustainable industry.
    Of course there is bound to be duplications, deliberate copycats, hard feelings, cut throat competitors. That is just part of business in general. Try not to take it too personal.
    #9
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 02:03:40 (permalink)
    Hyper sensitive to competition?

    No. This is a plan to recruit competition....to a small base...to create culture.

    Take care of you! You can only give back when you have. The only way to do that is to establish...and survive. Build grow learn make...then share.

    #10
    wandering_joe
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 02:11:42 (permalink)
    For the record, Des Moines is a city of 500,000+ residents with four fairly large colleges/universities. That sounds like a pretty good customer base to me...
    #11
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 02:21:09 (permalink)
    Good. Feed every last one of them and be in a position to reach out and build a culture.

    There are festivals that have 50,000. I am sure that vendors would feed AS MANY as possible. If you go out of your way wishing for other people to feed a customer base....they will be happy to do it.

    They might also come back to eat your lunch. They may see it like...hmm I have these kids and they are really expensive. Oh...I need to worry about them...before anyone else. Including myself. So...I am going to go out and do what I can do with the skills God gave me. Then...I will do what I can for the culture and the rest of the world...from there.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/04/02 02:27:36
    #12
    wandering_joe
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 02:48:35 (permalink)
    Last post, you know what they say about arguing on the internet. As DWags and  I pointed out, Portland and Austin have two of the most successful food truck scenes in the country right now. What do they have in common? A sense of community and a culture of a shared customer base. I'll take that as an example of a successful business model. Thanks for your opinion and good night.
    #13
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 03:24:47 (permalink)
    This is not an argument. This is the other side. It's not personal. If it was personal I would read it and say ohhh this one will be back with a disaster story. Oh well. Tough nuts. I won't be the "bad guy" The bad guy might just blow smoke up the ass. No..sorry.

    It is easier to cite an example or examples of something that is working or has worked and is already built. This is about building with your own set of factors...in other places...maybe without something they had. What do you have right now to build a culture? What makes you think the landlord will not have to select one or a few trucks to go...and you may be it...because you are building culture and others are just there to tear it up...and bang out the best. Like most others strive for when entering business.



    If he was so much about building a culture maybe you would have free rent. Maybe it would be up to him to find other people...so you can concentrate on your business and be part of the culture...not build it for his gain and profit...without risk to his business. How many questions will you have to answer about this one or that one? How many issues will you be troubleshooting? I
    am sure they like that you are ther to help them along...but if the base is not there...every man for himself.

    Nobody wants to read that thread that is in hindsight. We would rather give you things to consider before that....just in case. If it all works out in the end...I will be the first to say congratulations!!! But...there really might be some red flags at this stage. Maybe it would be diferent if you came and said you have been there for a year...and think you want to build a culture because of something that is about you...not here or there...or a plan on paper.

    Oh...wait a minute. The middle of "bar nirvana" in Des Moines. Des Moines has a rule in place that food trucks cannot operate between the hours of 1:30 am - 5:30 am. It seems to be a means to avoid trucks being out (to cater to this business)
    before when and after the bars close. That is a big big big chunk of business. If that is to stop folks with nobody operating...you better get a feel for how that may be expanded...once someone tries it. Deter to accept. Or deter...to stop.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/04/02 06:53:16
    #14
    Sapphirebistro
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 10:11:23 (permalink)
    I appreciate all the great feedback, for this thread.
    There are many variables in this discussion, I'm very aware of the limiting factors in the market once again however, this is what I hope to gain from a solid positive food truck culture the ordinances here in des Moines are mainly due to the fact that there is nothing to base them on or because there are no advocates to dispute them.
    I actually appreciate the pragmatic nature of this thread, I'm not saying its going to be easy or that it's going to happen over night but I'm not going shy from a competitive nature of the business.
    Lol and the owner of the pay to park could care less about the building of he culture it was my idea and in my contract to add additional food trucks to the lot, more money for him more excitement for the area.

    Thanks all for the great feedback
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 10:30:09 (permalink)
    If you have not read this article it provides some good info...

    http://desmoines.m.metrom...ll-the/2720352/content

    I would get in touch with the reporter of the story to see if there is any rest of the story that was not in the article. There usually is plenty. There are a few trucks.

    Austin & Portland are great examples of how it works. When it was first starting I am sure restaurant & bar owners did not see it coming. They do now...in some other places.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/04/02 10:31:58
    #16
    Sapphirebistro
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 11:15:05 (permalink)
    Yes that was the article that turned me fom opening my restaurant to doing food a truck, unfortunately most of food trucks in that article went out of business, and I'm working with Tacopocalyse who the owner is a long time propionate of mobile food.

    That article is also the whole reason I feel a culture will help change the paradigm of this market, the reason most of those carts went under is mainly because of people's perception. And lack of advocates for the industry.

    We are planning on doing another article this summer in both juice and dsm magazine, and I have begun going to city council meetings working on learning how we can change a few ordinances to our benefit.
    #17
    Sapphirebistro
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 11:16:25 (permalink)
    I was actually quoted in the draft of that article, but was cut out due to length.... Lol
    #18
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 12:18:53 (permalink)
    I will give you some advice...

    Do good homework on connections between potential landlords...and some
    vocal opponents of the mission.
    #19
    pnwchef
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    Re:Creating a culture 2012/04/02 13:17:43 (permalink)
    You need to worry about what you have to offer to the success of your own business. I wouldn't worry about the culture, just worry about establishing yourself. Show your customers a good quality, clean, fun operation and you will have started the process. After you get your business established, then approach other vendors for a Food truck round up someplace in town. Get City Hall and the C of C involved, make sure you and the others know your business. These concepts have failed before, of long lines and trucks running out of food being a problem. If this works in your town, it can change, or at least help change the culture.  This would be a good way to address the masses with the Food Truck revolution.......
    #20
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