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Can I run a food truck solo?

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  • Total Posts: 36
  • Joined: 11/28/2010
  • Location: Livin' the dream in Durango, CO
Can I run a food truck solo? Thu, 09/22/11 11:20 PM (permalink)
[Helpful answer received] / [List Solutions Only]
I'm not concerned that my menu will create issues, rather, I'm concerned with hygiene. Handling food, then money, food, money, makes for many hand washings but I REALLY don't want to deal with employees. Or am I being naive in thinking I can do it all? How do you folks deal with this issue? Thanks in advance.

    • Total Posts: 414
    • Joined: 6/21/2008
    • Location: Badlands of New Mexico
    Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Thu, 09/22/11 11:50 PM (permalink)
    [This post was marked as helpful]
    When I first started out 11 years ago, I did the solo thing. Had a trailer, stocked it, pulled, got it ready to vend, did this all myself. Thought I was smart doing it with out hiring help. Boy, look at all the money I was saving not having to pay someone. As I established my route, it became obvious I couldn`t do it alone anymore. Broke down, started hiring old ladies and young smart ass kids thinking the waste of money I`m into. No one told me if you get GOOD help, you make more money. I`ve had to hire 4 people at one particular event besides me. And each one of them is making me approx. $500 each. Theres a lot of events I did byself making $700 to $800 dollars a day, thought that was great. I remember the event I made over a grand by myself. Roswell New Mexico, Chili-Cheese Festival. Slept real good that night. Tired to death. In fact, thats where I head to early tomorrow morning. Got off subject.
    Speaking of hygiene, my particular food items are never touhed by myself or anyone else. My staff and I use tongs on EVERYTHING.
    Do you have a wife, girlfriend, or both, that might be able to help you out? If so, this might take the fear out of what your asking.
    Good luck.

      • Total Posts: 1956
      • Joined: 6/22/2009
      • Location: Near You, WA
      Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 12:05 AM (permalink)
      [This post was marked as helpful]
      I work solo during the week, only have help at events.....and boy is it worth every penny!
      I think it all depends on how much experience you have in the business.... how busy you are, what you are serving, how the equipment is laid out. If you have years of experience in the kitchen, you learn to do 20 things at one time, it won't be a big deal. If this is your first venture into food, well then your going to have problems.
        Dr of BBQ

        • Total Posts: 3716
        • Joined: 10/11/2004
        • Location: Springfield, IL
        • Roadfood Insider
        Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 12:14 AM (permalink)
        [This post was marked as helpful]
        I also hate employees but I have had some good employees and many more terrible employees. But to be very honest I find it difficult to deal with their personal problems, and if you have full time employees you have to at some point whether you want to or not get somewhat involved in their problems and thus their life.
        They come into work all depressed because they broke up with their boy friend or girl friend or wife. Or they over spent and are short of cash and can't pay their rent, or lost their home to forecloser. It's almost always something and you as boss need to handle it according to how important that employee is to your bottom line.Or do you go back to doing it all yourself?
        How to deal with employees  is a never ending learning thing for me, and it's something I try and get better at but it is difficult.
        And I agree with FT if you want to work yourself to death and MAKE LESS MONEY go it alone. But I understand your thinking. And I might add dealing with customers another of my not so strong suits is easy compared to dealing with employees.
        PS I have one of the best in the world employees (Barb) and she has been with me forever. And I tell from time to time "With out you I'd close". And it's true. I'd just fish all summer and hunt all winter. LMAO

          • Total Posts: 1956
          • Joined: 6/22/2009
          • Location: Near You, WA
          Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 12:33 AM (permalink)
          [This post was marked as helpful]
          Dealing with employees is the worst... I have a couple of people that I always call, neither was available, one suggested someone from her day job, has several years in food service, needs $$, etc.. I agree.
          She shows up late, first time working for me.
          Did a big event put on by two police depts. We were sitting around just before things started to get busy, cop walks by with k-9...I jokingly said dope dog, she goes to the blue room a few minutes later, comes back and things get busy for several hrs. End of the day, she informs me that she consumed some green in the blue room........ BECAUSE SHE DID NOT WANT TO GET CAUGHT WITH IT ON HER!
          What kind of idiot smokes dope at a law enforcement sponsored event, with 100's of uniformed officers and who knows how many off duty?
          She will be one of those people you want to forget about, but never will.
            THE WILD DOG

            • Total Posts: 1465
            • Joined: 1/12/2010
            • Location: Hunt Valley, MD
            Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 12:47 AM (permalink)
            [This post was marked as helpful]
            i have an employee who helps me out and runs my unit while I take time off to build the second one and let me tell you... If I could hit him in the head with a bat I would.  It's ALOT of work doing it yourself. You're family will pay for it, you will pay for it. However you will have less headaches.

              • Total Posts: 9581
              • Joined: 9/1/2006
              • Location: Gilbert, AZ
              Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 4:03 AM (permalink)
              Depends on what you're selling and how busy you get. As others have said, Good employees make you money. Bad one's don't. Select carefully long before you need them. Check references. Tell them there's a drug test, even if you don't. Even then it's a crap shoot.
              Employees hired in a rush out of desperation hardly ever work out.

                • Total Posts: 36
                • Joined: 11/28/2010
                • Location: Livin' the dream in Durango, CO
                Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 12:26 PM (permalink)
                   So the consensus is that hiring employees may just be a necessary evil LOL. I've been a sole-proprietor in three entirely different fields which I chose purposely so as not to need employees: seems this may be the first, though I'll try solo for a bit.
                   The tongs suggestion is gold. I recently finished taking a semester of culinary classes, mainly to learn about the business and hygiene side of the business (cooking is no problem) and the instructors constantly stressed hygiene so this is a HUGE issue for me mainly because I'm concerned the HD will walk by just as I'm "bare-handing" something and close me down. Thanks again.
                <message edited by VenusPaw on Fri, 09/23/11 1:29 PM>

                  • Total Posts: 1610
                  • Joined: 3/4/2009
                  • Location: Roswell, NM until we leave for another place
                  Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Fri, 09/23/11 4:07 PM (permalink)
                  [This post was marked as helpful]
                  We learned to make change one handed, Our food cart is small and set up for one person (usually David) to work. But when we worked events, I would work the window mostly while he put sandwiches together. For just street vending, it's not a biggie. We wear a glove on one hand only.

                    • Total Posts: 322
                    • Joined: 1/15/2008
                    • Location: Cumming, GA
                    Re:Can I run a food truck solo? Sun, 09/25/11 11:12 PM (permalink)
                    Think of yourself as a line cook and think out the flow. I am in the process of resetting my trailer to operate with the food trucks and carts in Atlanta. I plan to operate solo and with just one other person as needed. A lot of the food items can be pre prepped. So think of your layout like this: preparation; cooking; traying; and serving. If the flow is right one person can do a lot. Disposable gloves are cheap. Use a pair for the raw to cooking stage, throw them away then use a pair to tray and serve. (Note: if your unit is not properly constructed you can forget about the raw to cooking stages in a mobile unit.)
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