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 New guy here, new truck almost here...

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TheSmokedMeatMilitia

  • Total Posts: 7
  • Joined: 6/13/2012
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 2:14 PM (permalink)
Howdy, y'all!
 
I’m in the planning process of starting my own gourmet food truck, that specializes in high-end barbecue.  The whole premise of this, is to build a food truck that can implement as many “green” processes as possible, while utilizing exclusively local, organic, and sustainable foods.  I need some help in the financial department, and need to know what all of my options are.  Ideally, I’d like to use the truck itself as collateral, but I’m not sure how something like this goes.  I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 16+ years, and have a degree with honors from the Culinary Institute of America.  As much as I’d love to open a brick-and-mortar place, the sheer cost of building my “dream” restaurant is deep into seven figures; this isn’t attainable for MANY more years.  My tentative goal is to license, build, permit, stock, and get everything necessary, for under $80,000.  I realize this is a big chunk of money for anyone, but food trucks can be money machines. 
 
In the two weeks it’s been since I launched the idea, I already have 60+ people following it on Facebook ( ), and half a dozen Twitter (@SmkdMeatMilitia) followers.  As soon as it becomes a tangible object, it will take off like wildfire.  My whole career, everyone has asked me when I’m going to have my own place.  The food truck “scene” is becoming one of the most popular, and profitable, ways to open a restaurant.  I’ve spent my entire career, working for someone else, cooking someone else’s menus.  Now, it’s my turn.  I can’t even put into words, my level of motivation for making this not only my idea of perfect, but as profitable as it can be, while also having a minimal impact on the environment.
 
If you can give me as much information as possible, to get the ball rolling, I’d greatly appreciate it.  I’m looking to have the whole thing up and running by the holidays. This has been a lifelong dream of mine, to have my own place.  Just so happens that my “place” will have wheels on it now. I need help finding a commissary, and to secure financing.  I already have a truck builder (M&R Trailers), a smoker picked out (Cookshack Smartsmoker SM-260), vinyl wrap figured out, and a lot of the ways to spend the money (wisely) figured out, just need to figure out where it's gonna come from.
 

Thanks e'erybody!
--Evan
 
#1
    jcheese

    • Total Posts: 739
    • Joined: 3/5/2011
    • Location: Fieldale, VA
    Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 4:35 PM (permalink)
    Check out Kickstarter.com
     
    #2
      Dr of BBQ

      • Total Posts: 3716
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      • Location: Springfield, IL
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      Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 5:04 PM (permalink)
      What the heck is high-end barbecue?
      jack
       
      #3
        CCinNJ

        • Total Posts: 7762
        • Joined: 7/24/2008
        • Location: Bayonne, NJ
        Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 6:23 PM (permalink)
        Welcome!

        Do you think "green" is a draw for passionate BBQ enthusiasts?
         
        #4
          Lost Nation

          • Total Posts: 105
          • Joined: 3/3/2011
          • Location: Essex Junction, VT
          Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 6:29 PM (permalink)
          Dr of BBQ


          What the heck is high-end barbecue?
          jack

           
          Jack I thought you would know this, it's cloth napkins and china plates...doh...
           
          #5
            Foodbme

            • Total Posts: 9575
            • Joined: 9/1/2006
            • Location: Gilbert, AZ
            Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 8:12 PM (permalink)
            High End BBQ?????
            Using Prime Grade Meats!
             
             
            #6
              Dr of BBQ

              • Total Posts: 3716
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              • Location: Springfield, IL
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              Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 8:16 PM (permalink)
              Cloth napkins and china plates, I guess. LOL
               
              And CC asked a good question because my biggest fear is protesters or greenies (sp?) would raise enough hell about wood smoke going in the air..............that someone would say no more wood fired smokers.
               
              #7
                Dr of BBQ

                • Total Posts: 3716
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                • Location: Springfield, IL
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                Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 8:19 PM (permalink)
                Foodbme

                High End BBQ?????
                Using Prime Grade Meats!

                 
                Well I buy the best I can find so I guess I have that base covered.
                 
                #8
                  CCinNJ

                  • Total Posts: 7762
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                  • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                  Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 8:41 PM (permalink)
                  I would save money...get a pork injector and make the best BBQ in town!!! By learning.

                  Yes...the green folks always have something to say about the coal ovens for bread and pizza.
                  <message edited by CCinNJ on Wed, 06/13/12 9:00 PM>
                   
                  #9
                    TheSmokedMeatMilitia

                    • Total Posts: 7
                    • Joined: 6/13/2012
                    • Location: Jacksonville, FL
                    Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 9:17 PM (permalink)
                    When I said "high-end" I was referring mostly to using solely local/organic/sustainable ingredients, and different cooking techniques (like sous vide, cold smoking, etc.), rather than getting all of my food from Restaurant Depot.  The "green" aspect is basically to minimize my environmental impact.  The smoker, rather than using charcoal and a bunch of wood, is electric and uses wood pellets.  1# of pellets is enough to smoke 65lbs. of meat for an hour.  The generator is propane powered, and if the truck is carbureted, it will also be propane powered.  All of the lighting, even the headlights, will be LED.  I'm trying to convince my builder to install the solar panels on the roof, but I think it's gonna have to get done by someone else.
                     
                    I realize there may be a paradox, of having "green" and "bbq" in the same sentence.... but I personally feel that it's my responsibility to be as environmentally responsible as possible.  I'm not saying everyone HAS to do it this way, I'm saying that I'm doing it this way.  Believe it or not, there's a LOT of trash produced by a food truck... to absolutely minimize its impact on the environment is my goal. 
                     
                    However, I'm also looking for a commissary... how do I go about obtaining one?  How much do they typically run?  I realize they have to be there to hold the food, and maybe some storage, but almost all of my cooking will be done on the truck.  I guess I just need a place to plug into for shore power and water supply/gray water dumping. 
                     
                    #10
                      CCinNJ

                      • Total Posts: 7762
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                      • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                      Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 9:31 PM (permalink)
                      Just try not to get stuck between the "s**t and tide" by trying to thread a needle...calling it BBQ and making the case that you are doing it in a "responsible" manner.

                      There might be two passionate camps that have issues with your concept as you pitch it....while they call bs.
                      <message edited by CCinNJ on Wed, 06/13/12 9:39 PM>
                       
                      #11
                        TheSmokedMeatMilitia

                        • Total Posts: 7
                        • Joined: 6/13/2012
                        • Location: Jacksonville, FL
                        Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 9:51 PM (permalink)
                        Which they're entitled to have issues with it... it's kinda meant to bridge that VERY large gap between the two.  Just because it's done "different" doesn't mean it's done "wrong."  I love charcoal and wood smokers... I have one at my house.  But for something high-volume, I'm taking a totally different path.
                         
                         
                        #12
                          Dr of BBQ

                          • Total Posts: 3716
                          • Joined: 10/11/2004
                          • Location: Springfield, IL
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                          Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 9:54 PM (permalink)
                          1# of pellets is enough to smoke 65lbs. of meat for an hour.
                           
                          So how much wood does it take to make a LB of pellets? And don't say a LB, because that's not true. I own a  Klose, a Cook Shake and a Southern Pride. And I have to say with the best of the best technology that is available today  it still takes a day or two to learn how to make good "Q" no matter what your using for fuel or what brand/style to smoke it in.  LOL. I don't think I have ever been around anyone that uses charcoal in the process of smoking meat. Unless they are starting the fire with a handful of charcoal, in a stick burner. And you can't cold smoke most meat, never pork, there isn't a health department in the country that would allow that. You cold smoke fish and cheese.
                           
                          But the best of luck to you.
                           
                          #13
                            Hot Dog Empire

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                            • Joined: 2/20/2011
                            • Location: Western Ma, MA
                            Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 10:18 PM (permalink)
                            TheSmokedMeatMilitia


                            Howdy, y'all!


                            If you can give me as much information as possible, to get the ball rolling, I’d greatly appreciate it.  . I need help finding a commissary, and to secure financing.  I already have a truck builder (M&R Trailers), a smoker picked out (Cookshack Smartsmoker SM-260), vinyl wrap figured out, and a lot of the ways to spend the money (wisely) figured out, just need to figure out where it's gonna come from.


                            Thanks e'erybody!
                            --Evan

                            First, try HERE it covers all of your questions and then some. Second, if your builder wont give you what you are looking for, then why throw money at him and then STILL have to add later? Anything that requires wiring, should be integrated into the build so everything is hidden and neat. The last thing you wanna do is dump a boatload of $$ on a build, then start tacking wires up all over to "finish it". Then have the Health dept come out for an inspection and think " WTH is all this?! It looks like somebody went on a 48hr meth trip and threw it all together!" then reject you.
                            From what I read here, Florida has some tough requirements for operating and they vary by county/town/district (whatever their called there)
                            Also, if you do a search on solar & backup power systems, they have been discussed here quite extensively. There is a wealth of knowledge here,.....Welcome!! Do you have any pics/drawings of the proposed wrap? I'm sure everyone here would love to see them!
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                            #14
                              CCinNJ

                              • Total Posts: 7762
                              • Joined: 7/24/2008
                              • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                              Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 10:24 PM (permalink)
                              Your concept sounds a little like Mole"cue"lar Gastronomy!!!
                               
                              #15
                                RodBangkok

                                • Total Posts: 385
                                • Joined: 10/12/2008
                                • Location: Bangkok Thailand, XX
                                Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 10:49 PM (permalink)
                                You say you need a commissary for holding, but are doing all your cooking in a mobile kitchen, and mention high volume on top of it.  The processes you describe, smoking and sous vide can have pretty long cooking times.  Also in the case of BBQ the size of the cuts can have a big impact on your capacities.  Finally do your homework with regards to sous vide and your specific health department.  This process can be construed as being preparing foods for commercial sale, which puts you in a totally different category.  I'd recommend you have all this worked out far in advance of even talking to someone about building a truck, capacities, process times holding capacities, etc.  Your worried about LED lights, but not sure what the costs of a commissary are.  It sounds to me you've got the cart before the horse.
                                Not trying to crush your idea, but take a step back and make sure you have all your ducks in a row with the basics.  Good Luck!
                                 
                                #16
                                  TheSmokedMeatMilitia

                                  • Total Posts: 7
                                  • Joined: 6/13/2012
                                  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
                                  Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 11:27 PM (permalink)
                                  Dr of BBQ, the cooking methods I'm not worried about...  that's honestly the easiest part about it for me.  I've been doing this for most of my life. The hard part for me, is actually getting the business launched.  The reason I said the part about someone else installing the solar panels, is because the builder said their electrician that did it before, relocated out west somewhere.  I can have someone else have the panels installed/wired before the buildout inside is done.... assuming they're still in the budget.  If not, then they'll be the first thing eliminated.  They're not cheap, and they don't put out a ton of energy, but every little bit helps, I guess.
                                   
                                  As far as the wrap, in keeping with both the "militia" and "green" themes, it's all being wrapped in digi-camo with a bunch of different greens in it.  The lettering and signage is going to look like military stenciling, and both 100-lb propane tanks on the back are being wrapped to look like WWII-era bombs. The wheels and all hardware (door handles, mirrors and supports, grille, etc) are getting powdercoated gloss black with gold metalflakes in it. The generator is being wrapped in matte green with yellow stenciling to look like a giant ammunition box.
                                   
                                  CCinNJ... there's a bit of the molecular gastronomy methods that may make their way onto it.  That equipment is really expensive, though.  Might have to wait a few years before I go crazy with it.
                                   
                                   
                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  #17
                                    CCinNJ

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                                    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                                    Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 11:31 PM (permalink)
                                    Sous Vide requires an HACCP plan to diagram every step in the process that is so detailed...involved and complicated most of the top B&M NYC restaurants opt not to attempt it. I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to navigate that course
                                    with a mobile venue.
                                    <message edited by CCinNJ on Wed, 06/13/12 11:35 PM>
                                     
                                    #18
                                      TheSmokedMeatMilitia

                                      • Total Posts: 7
                                      • Joined: 6/13/2012
                                      • Location: Jacksonville, FL
                                      Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 11:38 PM (permalink)
                                      Rod, you may be a little right, because I'm definitely looking at a lot of small details.  However, it comes with the territory of having OCD.  I'm not worried about the cost of a commissary, I just don't know who to contact and how much it is.  I've seen some websites that say it's as low as $75/month, or as high as the sky will allow.  I was just curious as to what the typical commissary rates are, and if anyone in Jax had some contacts for it. 
                                       
                                      My smoked/sous vide items will all be a day ahead.  Basically, I'd start the meats on sunday, for monday's lunch service.  By lunchtime on monday, they'll be perfect, and will just need to hold for a couple hours, which the smoker automatically switches to warmer/holder mode after the timer goes off.
                                       
                                       
                                      #19
                                        TheSmokedMeatMilitia

                                        • Total Posts: 7
                                        • Joined: 6/13/2012
                                        • Location: Jacksonville, FL
                                        Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 11:41 PM (permalink)
                                        I've already got HACCP certification, but will have to re-train when it comes time to actually put the sous vide equipment/methods on the truck.
                                         
                                        #20
                                          CCinNJ

                                          • Total Posts: 7762
                                          • Joined: 7/24/2008
                                          • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                                          Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 11:47 PM (permalink)
                                          Wow. For years we have been hearing how tough Florida is when it comes to hot dogs & condiment regulations.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            Dr of BBQ

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                                            • Location: Springfield, IL
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                                            Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Wed, 06/13/12 11:51 PM (permalink)
                                            CCinNJ
                                            Sous Vide requires an HACCP plan to diagram every step in the process that is so detailed...involved and complicated most of the top B&M NYC restaurants opt not to attempt it. I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to navigate that course with a mobile venue.

                                             
                                            First let me say your right on the money, and that's true of the Midwest as well. But the funny part is our health department requires something very much like that, for any kind of smoked food. You know the low temp thing. But that said they will allow a series of diagrams and times etc etc. But when I did mine I wrote it out step by step so that my staff knew what and how to do everything in the process from set up, cook and clean up. It passed with flying colors and after about 4 years I asked my HD inspector if he liked it. He said yes but he didn't understand it. LMAO. I guess my writing skills aren't what I thought they were. LOL
                                             
                                            #22
                                              CCinNJ

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                                              • Joined: 7/24/2008
                                              • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                                              Re:New guy here, new truck almost here... Thu, 06/14/12 12:10 AM (permalink)
                                              Sous Vide is such an exact science...I would fall asleep every night with rosary beads holy water and candles lit praying that someone does not claim they have botulism...and have to answer the bell for that through the insurance company and the court.
                                               
                                              #23
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