51 minutes | Feb 11, 2015

29 – How to Start a Food Truck

How to Start a Food Truck Have you ever wondered what it takes to start a food Truck?  Well, one of our listeners asked us to dive into it.  So we reached out to about a dozen food trucks, and were finally able to pin down two different models, food styles, and business owners.  One truck is here locally in Denver, Crock Spot, is a more traditional food truck serving slow cooked food by Stephen and Mandy Daniels (they recently got hitched).  The other model is a food cart in Minneapolis, Minnesota (way up North for our international listeners), that serves high quality gourmet hot dogs, Natedogs. First we spoke with Stephen and Mandy from right here in Denver, CO. They have a unique take on the food truck called Crock Spot.  I had never heard of a food truck serving slow roasted cuisine, and that is exactly what they do.  When you walk up to the truck, you can pick you carb, your protein, and your sauce.  I’m hungry just thinking about it.   I love that they use a model that I firmly believe in when starting their business:  minimal viable product.  They first tried their concept on friends, then went to a farmers market and got great feedback, then moved into the food truck where they offer traditional side walk service and catering, and they are looking into a brick an mortar spot that they would share with a brew pud.  Fantastic progression. Their advice to anyone wanting to start a food truck:  focus your food on one thing, and have some capital to start. Then we spoke with Nathan Beck with a food cart he called Natedogs up in Minneapolis.  Nate is another bootstrapper.  He is fanatical about keeping his costs and overhead low for his small business.  While not a traditional “food truck”, Nate runs with the big dogs on a consistent basis, going to a lot of the typical food truck venues and events.  We loved how he has found a niche in the beer festivals.  He goes to them all in the area.  Nate has done a fantastic job creating a brand and an experience for his customers.  While he does serve a super high quality hot dog, he thinks the customer experience is just as important.  With his background in music and theater, that is a piece of cake for Nate.  Nates best advice:  Build a great brand and bootstrap.  Don’t borrow money. We loved both of these food truck businesses.  They are each on a different and unique path, and have tons of opportunities for the future.  Feel free to reach out to either of them with additional questions on their websites, or ask us below, and we will have them respond. To listen to the entire interview, please visit us on iTunes or Stitcher or at our website, smallbusinessnaked.com. Small Business Naked is one of the best free small business podcasts to listen to if you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or you are stuck working for The Man and are looking for small business ideas.
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