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PoCo Inspired

First things first

 

The first thing you are going to need is a good pen.
You are going to be doing a lot of writing.

A notebook, to right in.  Don’t do like I did and use scraps of paper.  You will lose stuff.

You want to keep your notes all together. You WILL be referring back to stuff later.

You will need a phone with voice mail.  You will be making a lot of phone calls.

A computer, with an internet connection. Possibly a scanner as well.

Yeah I know, most of you are thinking….  well duh… no kidding.

Well don’t say I didn’t tell you.  You never know what people may or may not have.

And you will remember this the first time that pen fails you while you are trying to write down an important number.  Keep spare pens handy.

 

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PoCo Inspired

Dude … get a CLUE

 

Have an idea what you are getting yourself into.

If at all possible…assuming you are planning this or thinking about doing this, AND you are here…..then you are doing SOME research.

You should be reading blogs, watching you tube for truck builds, talking to people that are in the biz. Learn, learn, learn.

Maybe even get a job cooking on a food truck. If you can.

You need to figure out WHAT are you going to sell.
Although you will probably do just fine selling burgers and fries, there are already 6 other trucks selling burgers and fries.
You want to do something different than the other trucks in your area.
You want to stand out.
And hope that you made the right decision.
But also be flexible enough to change what doesn’t work.

What you sell, can sometimes dictate what equipment you need, and possibly what kind and size of truck you need.

As I write this, I want you to know that I did NOT really do this.

It was almost a spur of the moment idea.  Kinda like, hhhmmmm what am I gonna do next??   HHmmm, how bout a food truck??  Yeah I can do this!
The wife gave a me an idea about what to serve.
I said  ” what ???  are u nuts??”  ( in my head of course )
But then thought it over, and a told her what a great idea it was.

And within a week or two I had a truck.

And hey, I had hot dog carts before.  This isn’t much different??  right??

Clueless, yup that’s me.

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PoCo Inspired

Money Money Money

 

You can’t do this for free, as nice as that would be.
Assuming you are not giving 200 grand to the food truck builder guys, then you need to have some kind of budget, and some kind of plan for cost over runs etc.

I can’t tell you how to get your money, or how much you are going to need.  There are just too many variables.

I CAN tell you that I know know a guy to bought an old UPS truck, and did most of the work himself, and was able to pull it off for right around 15 grand.
BUT because of the way he set up his truck, he did NOT need use commercial fryers and equipment.  That worked for him.

For me, I was able to buy an old truck that had all the commercial equipment installed already.  It may be older but it was in good shape, and the equipment doesn’t change much over the years.

Just a griddle like the one I have, USED runs around $2500.  New is closer to $6000.

MY truck came with a griddle, a 2 burner stovetop, and a 2 bay deep fryer.
Add in the commercial sinks and fridge, and the price tag would be well over 10 grand.
And thats USED pricing.  ( yes I checked ….although that was after I already bought the truck )
But I knew that going in ( I keep telling myself )

Plus the truck was already safetied and only needed a small amount of work.
It was pretty solid.
So for what my buddy paid for a bare shell of a truck, I got a fully equipped truck.
Not bad.

You may not get that lucky, but then again you might.

Bottom line, only YOU know what you can spend.

But I KNOW this can be done for under 20 grand.

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PoCo Inspired

PSST … Who’s yer supplier mang ?

 

You are going to need to buy stuff.
Everything from the food you cook to the napkins, to the ketchup, pickles, peppers.

It doesn’t matter what food you are serving, you are going to need stuff to serve it on and stuff to garnish it with.

Each supplier has their own benefit.
One supplier sells serving dishes in packs of 250 for $22.50.
While another sell only in bulk cases of 3000 for $120.
Supplier 2 might be $100 more, but the trays are better than HALF the price.
But supplier 1 might sell napkins at half the price of supplier 2.
Get to know this stuff.
AND understand that prices change ALL THE TIME.

And yeah, 4 cents for a tray might not seem like much now.
But if you are using 100 to 200 a day, that’s going to add up.
Plus that’s not your only cost to consider.
You really need to get an understanding of cost per units served.

4 cents for a tray, 1/2 cent for a napkin ( figure on 3 or 4 per person ) 1/2 cent for that pretty paper that your stuff sits in the tray, ketchup, mustard, ect. straws, forks, spoons, knives, take away bags or boxes ….
If your costs on the disposable items that you give away for free are 25 cents per unit served, at 100 units per day, at 6 days a week, equals $600 a month.

You don’t don’t want those costs to be sitting at 45 cents per unit if you have a choice.

KNOW your pricing !

At least where I live, it’s usually cheaper ( when they are on for a good price ) to buy drinks at Wally World.  I would say probably 60% of the time.
And again, the difference between 30 cents cost on a drink and 45 cents somewhere else, adds up quick.  So watch your local flyers.

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PoCo Inspired

Builders

 

Unless you are a licensed gas fitter, or electrician or something along those lines, you are going to need these guys at some point.

If you don’t know them, you are going to have to find them.

You don’t have to do it right away BEFORE you start, just know that you WILL have to hire these guys at some point.

And before you need these guys, you are going to need to hire an engineer.

At least in our city, this is now a RULE.
As far as I can tell, this was not a rule in 2014, but now it is.

NONE of the people I have talked to INCLUDING the engineer himself had ever heard of this before.

Hell the city people I spoke with did not even know WHAT KIND of engineer I needed.
Thanks.

So …what? ….Civil Engineer? Power Engineer? Building Engineer?  What?
They could only refer me to the bottom of the form that the engineer needs to sign off on.
Which said that they need to be a professional engineer and a member of the APEGM.
Which covers ALL of those engineers and more.   Great.

Well it turns out after a few phone calls, that I need a MECHANICAL Engineer.
You want to make sure that they do work on commercial kitchens.
And that they can provide you with the technical drawings the city wants.

 

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PoCo Inspired

The truck

 

Again…. like….. duh…..

You are going to need a truck.
Do you do like me and buy one with fully outfitted but in need of help?
Or do you get a a plain truck, clean slate, and start from the ground up?

Well I can’t help you with that.  It all depends on what YOU want. What you plan to do.

It doesn’t matter which way you go, your truck needs to be legal to drive and roadworthy.

Here in our province, you have to have a valid safety to drive your truck on the road.
Or at least get one, which will almost always involve repairs.

But there is no point in taking a single step forward unless you know you can drive the truck.

And what about FINDING a truck??

These things are not always easy to find.
And if you do find them, often they are over priced.

It all depends on your local market.

Just keep looking in all the other provinces.

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PoCo Inspired

Who knew ??

 

Did you know that you need  —  NEED — to have the manuals for your equipment?

Our city REQUIRES that you MUST have both the operating AND installation manuals to accompany the initial city applications.

Plus you also need to have a copy of them ON / IN your truck.

It doesn’t matter if you got an old truck with old equipment or brand new stuff.
You need them.
It is YOUR responsibility to have them.

The equipment must also have the factory ID plates that contain the specs.

Don’t bother asking WHY WHY WHY do you need them.
I could explain it, but it doesn’t matter. You just do.

I keep hearing stories of places like a restaurant with brand new equipment but didn’t have their manuals, and were told flat out….  get your manuals or get new equipment.

So get them. Make copies. Make backup copies.

Oh yeah, and make sure that they are clear and legal to use in your jurisdiction.

You don’t want to try and get by with some weird Chinese knock off.

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PoCo Inspired

Addendum

 

I just said, keep an eye out for trucks in other provinces.
WHY?
Because you never know when a weekend trip over a couple of provinces might save you 7 or 8 thousand dollars.

Now this doesn’t’ really apply if you are going to try to bring a truck up from the USA.
Whole other ball game.  NOT interested in getting into that.  WAAYY too much hassle for me.

But from another province. Well that’s just a matter of a safety inspection to drive it, and then all the regulation stuff you need to operate.
BUT you have to do this anyway, so don’t discount it.

Here’s why I added an addendum.

Automate your searches.
Assuming you use Kijiji. And who doesn’t right now. ( at least in Canada )
You don’t want to spend HOURS pouring over each provinces listings.

BTW this only seems to work setting it up from a desktop.
I have not figured out how to do it with a phone yet.
Have not tested on the tablet yet.

Also this is assuming you have a smartphone.
Kinda pointless if you are one of those people who only gets their email when they sit down in front of the computer at 9 pm on Tue & Thur.
so then . …
Don’t use the Kijiji alerts thing because it only send you search results once every 24 hours.
Only use it if you have not choice.

But this method I’m about to explain will basically have Kijiji email the new ads to you every hour. ( if a new ad goes up )
And you don’t have to do anything else.
First step
Go to If this then that and sign up. ( it’s free )

This is the most amazing thing I have played with in years.
The things you can do with it will blow your mind.
But don’t spend hours browsing through it now, just get THIS done, you can play later.

Then you want to add THIS recipe.

BTW this also works for Craigslist or Ebay. ( different recipe, just search )

In a separate tab or window, whichever works for you, open up Kijiji.

Or if you want to search all of Canada at once go here.

Do a search for …..   oh I don’t know  . ..  food truck    …or step van

Now scroll down to the last listing.  You will see a bar with numbers  … 1 2 3 4 5  etc.
Look aaaallllll the way to the right.  or left if you are dyslexic.
You will see the RSS icon similar to this.
Now right click on the RSS icon – Copy link address

Now switch back to the tab or window that you had open from If this Then That.
Where it say feed URL.
Delete what is in there so it is blank.Right click in the empty space, and hit paste.

You should see some jibberish pasted in there.
Now scroll down to the bottom and click the ADD button.  DONE.

You can repeat this process for ANYTHING you want to search for on Kijiji
(or Craigslist or Ebay – with the other recipes )

You can also do this for Kijiji sites in other provinces.

You spend half an hour or so doing this for ….lets say the major cities in one or two provinces over ( depends on how far you are willing to travel ) or just for your own city if you want.

What happens now is every hour, IFTTT will look on Kijiji for you, and return the results if there are any new ads posted, then email it to you.

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PoCo Inspired

Addendum de dum de dum

This is just an update to what I just posted  ..

WHY?   because I’m right and I just wanna brag!

I of course have all my IFTTT recipes set up now.  Hell I just learned about these myself.

Well this is how good they work.  Oh yeah, and they email you INSTANTLY not every hour.
I didn’t know that till I started getting tons of email.
(I’m gonna check and see if I can get get them to text me.)

I had one set up for a fridge, because that coke cooler that came with my truck
( while cool looking ) is kinda small, but pulls 800 watts of power all day long.
Lord only knows how old it is, but it’s probably not well insulate either.

My basic 18 CF fridge in the garage only pulls 200 watts while it’s cooling.
And only 3 watts while its sitting idle.

Anyway, I got an alert for a fridge, I texted the guy right away.
Exactly what I wanted – white 18 CF SMOOTH BACK  ( i really wanted that ).
The guy had only posted it FOUR minutes ago.
Set up to meet him in an hour.  Went, Bought, DONE.
As far as Kijiji goes, that’s like sniping.

The guy was posting a few things, and he hadn’t even finished his postings.
WINNER WINNER Chicken Dinner!!

Plus when I went to meet him, he had a buddy with him that works the local carnivals during the summer. He said he is friends with the owner and that they are always on the lookout for something new for carnival food.  They just have the basics.
Might be nothing, Might turn into something good…  who knows. Took his info anyway.

Bottom line, these IFTTT alerts ROCK.

When you start reading through them, you will be amazed at what they can do.

For example, for my wife’s store… I have the IFTTT recipes set up so that when she takes a picture and posts to Instagram, it automatically posts to Twitter, Google plus, Facebook, And is fed to our website… all at once.

Let’s say that you are going to set up the truck in specific locations on a regular basis.
You could set up a recipe so that as you arrive, it automatically does the same thing.
You wouldn’t even have to do anything because the trigger would be based on your GPS location.  So you pull up, GPS is triggered, ALL your alerts go out.  BOOM DONE!  LUV IT !![…]