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9755 S.R. 121 SOUTH - MACCLENNY FL 32063
HOURS: M-F - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EASTERN TIME)

Video Tour: Russel’s Rib Shack Combo Smoker Trailer

Watch the video tour below with Russel’s Rib Shack new combo smoker trailer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Anyone with in the ATL area would be wise to look up Russel for world-class competition-level BBQ delivered to their upcoming event.

Video Tour

Unlike a lot of other BBQ trailers or smokers you find on the market, we build a custom trailer from the ground up that are specifically designed to fit the equipment you need on the unit. Many builders will buy pre-made trailers and essentially play a game of Tetris to fit all your desired equipment on-board a certain sized unit. This is not the optimal way to design a professionally designed trailer you plan to operate for many years to come and build a business around. At M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks, no two trailers are the same.

As you’ll see with this build out there is four inch C-channel framing underneath the unit. C-channel framing is essential for enhanced stability and durability of the unit. This was built with a 5,000 pound axle and the unit was upgraded with chrome rims. This trailer features the NS 72 SWT. The NS7 SWT comes standard with two shelves at 72″L x 22″D. These shelves can be pulled out so you can easily access meats. Removable shelves also makes cleanup infinitely easier.

The smoker unit also features three durable locks to ensure the doors don’t move while commuting to events. This creates a generous cooking surface over 3,000 square inches to smoke chicken, ribs, steak or any other type of grilled foods you desire. Check the full specifications of the NS 72 SWT and optional upgrades here.

 

At the four minute point of the video you can evaluate the smoker box. This box features 3 additional shelves at the front of the trailer. A firebox is also positioned at the front of the unit where logs can be placed. A starter was also installed in the firebox making it easier to get heat going on a cold day. A burner was also positioned in the firebox as a heat assist by request. This helps prevent ash from falling into the burner and is something we’re happy to install upon request.

Coming in standard on this unit is a two-burner hot plate. There’s also a built-in cutting board that you can pop-off and hose down when cleaning. Finally, we always ensure you’ve got storage space built into your trailers to store cooking utensils or other equipment needed for BBQ. Watch the video in its entirety to learn more!

We Understand Professional BBQ 

As noted in the video, you can learn more about our lineup of New South Smokers and Grills here. From there you can evaluate different options and upgrades that our customers frequently make for their unit. Additionally, if you have a custom feature you would like installed, give us a call and we can more than likely make it happen. We can also share unique ways we’ve modified other trailers for customers in the past. Our goal is to build a one-of-a-kind unit that will serve you for years to come. Give us a call at 904-397-0246 to tell us about your next trailer.

How Do You Remove Stains from White Kitchen Restaurant Towels?

Keeping white kitchen towels from becoming discolored isn’t easy. Restaurants and food trucks are tough environments to stay clean. Especially when you might relying these versatile towels to wipe up grease, clean food prep areas, or utilize as a make-shift oven mitt. The uses of these towels are many and you’ll need a lot of them. It’s not easy to keep these white towels white!

There’s a reason most restaurants don’t use brilliant white tablecloths. Doing the laundry is a significant added expense and something you’ll  find exclusively at high-brow eateries. There are added costs to clean, replace, and added labor associated with handling linen tablecloths and napkins. Although maintaining clean towels is less work than the prior, the basic maintenance is the same.

Aside from improving the appearance of towels, you’ll need to keep them clean from a health perspective as well. The last thing you want to do is clean up a kitchen with a greasy towel. Appearance is a side benefit of running a tight ship!

But how do you keep these towels that sparkling white long term through all the daily wear and tear? In this blog post we’ll outline the three options you have to ensure you’ve got spotless towels in your food truck or restaurant. Choose the option or combination of options that are best for your situation.

How do you keep restaurant towels clean?

Replace Often

One of the secrets that isn’t really a secret is that no matter how much care you put into washing towels, you’ll need to replace these regularly. Between grease, sauce, and the occasional coffee stain, these linens are put through the ringer daily. At a certain point, no magical combination of OXI Clean, bleach, or soaking is going to save these things.

Thankfully, you can buy 12-dozen Terry Rag restaurant cleaning towels for under $50 with free shipping on Amazon. These work towels are not intended to be kept forever so don’t make this mistake. Another tip is to only use well-worn towels to wipe up grease. After wiping up grease throw the used towels into the trash receptacle. Wiping up grease will reduce the life span of any restaurant towel.

Hire a Towel Service

If you want an industrial level clean, hiring a towel service can be an effective use of monthly spend. Many of these laundry services will pick up dirty linens at your restaurant, minimizing the hours needed to keep things clean. If you have a small food operation, like a food truck, you may be able to pay for these services for around $100 monthly. You can find nearby commercial laundry services by searching Press Cleaners or heading to Google to find providers near you. These services are available in nearly every U.S. city.

Aside from a time savings, a commercial service will use their equipment and products including lye to wash your towels. Lye, will decompose grease and make the gunk easier to rinse off. Even if you’re vigilant and pre-soak your greasy towels, you do not want too much of this gunky, clogging stuff getting into your home washing machine. You also don’t want to mix your families clothes with restaurant linens in the event you plan to bring items home to wash. It’s not worth your time for the amount of money you’ll save!

DIY Wash Process

Not ready for professional laundry services yet? Follow the steps below to extend the life of your towels.

Step 1 – Divide and Conquer: Separate your lightly soiled and stained or greasy towels into three separate plastic bins.

1.) The lightly used towels can go straight into the wash. Put them on a cold rinse cycle and off you go.

2.) Food or beverage stained towels go into their own bin.

3.) Greasy towels go into the third container.

Step 2 – Pre-Cleaning Rinse

The food stained and greasy towels will be soaked in cold water. After about 15 minutes, take the towels of of their respective bins.

Step 3 – Use Bleach or OXI Clean. 

Add bleach if it’s safe with your towels… It will be for most kitchen towels. Many folks also swear by the effectiveness of OXI Clean so that’s another option. Soak for another 15 – 20 minutes and then rinse off water. Finally, rinse off the towels with clean cool water.

Step 4 –  Hot Wash 

Finally, was the towels on the hot cycle using your detergent of choice. After the towels come out of the wash you should see brilliant and desirable looking restaurant towels.

We hope this post has helped to outline the steps needed to keep your towels clean! As mentioned previously, even the best most industrial level clean won’t keep these linens spotless forever so plan to replace your kitchen towels every 3 – 6 months.

Real-World Food Blogging Topic Ideas for Food Truck and Restaurant Owners

Own a restaurant or food truck, but aren’t sure if you should take time to publish a blog? The reality is if you’re operating any type of food business finding the time to sit down and write a blog post or record a video won’t be easy. After all, you’ve got a business to grow and customers to serve.

Truth be told, if you own a restaurant and are trying to decide what type of marketing tactic you should invest your limited time and effort into, we don’t recommend blogging as the first option. There are plenty of other ways that are going to get you a faster return by driving more customers to your business.

Some faster ways to increase awareness of your business online include focusing on generating positive reviews for your restaurant on websites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook. Consumers use these websites to discover new places to eat and decide where they want to dine. Other strategies such as offering coupons or limited time discounts work well to drive more immediate traffic to your establishment. Both ideas will bring diners to you faster than a blog ever could.

Is Blogging Right For Your Food Truck Business?

The Benefits of Publishing a Blog

After reading the first section of this post, it might feel like we don’t believe in blogging. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Assuming you have the time and ability to publishing entertaining or helpful content regularly, it can deliver an astronomical return on investment. The point is you aren’t going to realize the benefits today, this week, this month, or even this year if you’re just starting out.

But if you can push through a couple years blogging and come out the other side, you’ll realize some incredible benefits like massive awareness and increased loyalty. Essentially, you’ll have a digital magazine that people enjoy consuming regularly.

We’ve found our blog to be extremely helpful in educating food truck owners about running a food truck and answer frequently asked questions about operating business. Consistently blogging has helped us grow our business, but it didn’t happen overnight.

Blog Ideas You Can Start Writing About Now

Of course, simply setting up a blog or not putting much effort into the posts you publish isn’t going to get you far. Getting traction with your blog will have a lot to do with your consistency publishing and quality of content. The easiest way to ensure consistency is to set a schedule for yourself. For example, you could make a commitment to publish two blog posts per week for the next two years. This sort of commitment will take a lot of time, but it’s what’s required if you want to see results. Due to the length of time required to get any results is why we recommend other marketing methods first.

After you’ve got a schedule in place, it’s time to come up with a list of ideas to write about and publish on your blog. Keep in mind that you could publish all sorts of multimedia content on your blog including text, audio in the form of a podcast, images, or video. In fact, the more ways you can include video and imagery the better your posts will be.

Below is a list of topics ideas you can use that work well for both a restaurant, food truck, or any type of food business really. These ideas are intended to be interesting and or helpful to the right person. More than half of the restaurants trying out a blog get their content wrong initially because they only write about themselves or what they write is extremely boring. Don’t expect to get any results with boring content. It won’t work. You can start with these ideas below to get started the right way.

Cooking Demonstrations: Whether you operate a food truck or restaurant, you’re going to be in the kitchen cooking different meals all the time. Why not use this time to demonstrate to prospective customers how you make the food? This is the ideal way to generate high-quality blog content while being productive in the kitchen. You may even find a certain chef or yourself has a great personality and works well on the camera. These individuals are perfect to feature.

Notice I said you could record a cooking demonstration. You won’t need any special equipment for this as most cell phone cameras are good enough to pull this off. From there you can upload the video into YouTube or Facebook and embed the video into a blog post on your website. Follow this process and you’ll have an effective way to develop blog and social media content.

Test Menu Items: You should also be coming up with exciting new menu items for your restaurant. Testing out new items, even if you don’t plan to put them on the menu is the ideal type of content for a blog. People love to give their opinion on almost anything and testing out new menu ideas and getting feedback from your audience on if you should keep it is a great way to encourage people to participate and get involved in your brand. You could even create a “secret” test menu for hard-core customers.

Interviews: You shouldn’t only talk about yourself in a blog. In fact, it will help you out a lot of you feature other people and businesses. One way to generate content while featuring other businesses is to conduct interviews of other people. We recommend publishing either print or recorded interviews with chefs or other restaurant owners in the area. Asking for an interview is an effective way to start a relationship with someone you’ve never met and help to build awareness of your spot among influential folks in a market. The more local relationships you can build in your market the more opportunities will generally be sent your way.

Promote Events: Any time you serve a corporate catering event, work with a non-profit on a fundraiser or attend a local event like a fair it’s an opportunity to publish a recap about the event on your blog. Other businesses or event promoters love it when you help you promote their stuff on social media or a website. Doing so can also be interesting to attendees and it’s yet another opportunity to produce content of interest to a local audience.

In conclusion, blogging serve as the publishing focal point for your restaurant or food truck. But you’ve got to be willing to put in the time and effort before you will see all the positive results even with a list of content topic ideas.

Will Marijuana Food Trucks Be a Legit Business Opportunity in 2019?

While there are many legal hurdles yet to jump, investors believe the legalization of marijuana products is (eventually) a foregone conclusion. Forbes reports the legal cannabis industry could hit $57 billion worldwide 2027.

Marijuana is already permitted for recreational and medical use in nine states, including California, Alaska, and Washington. Of course, the use of this product, remains illegal at the federal level. But it’s legalization at the national level seems all but inevitable at this point, even if the process is expected to take a few years.

There are all kinds of products of course that can be produced and sold in this industry with a seemly limitless number of permutations. One option is to infuse THC into drinks like teas and coffees. Another popular option is to include cannabis inside food items, especially baked goods like brownies, cookies, and cakes. With so many different food items available to be made using the ingredient, it leads us to the next natural question of whether-or-not you can sell cannabis infused drinks or desserts from a truck?

Could Cannabis Infused Cookies Be Sold on a Truck Legally?

Can You Expect to See Cannabis Food Trucks in 2019?

Back in 2014 when cannabis had been legalized in Colorado two years prior, NPR ran a story called “The Latest Food Truck Theme is Marijuana for Lunch.” The headline suggests there was a food truck distributing marijuana infused menu items, but the reality of the unit was created for PR purposes and the the truck was never in operation as a real food business.

The use of the “food truck” was brilliant from a marketing and public relations standpoint as the company was featured in numerous reputable news sources and no doubt generated interest in a product that could be sold online. But the unit never sold any pot-infused menu items.

The issue with starting a food truck specializing in cannabis products is due to the fact this product is much more highly regulated than a typical food product. Although the product is becoming legal in many states that doesn’t mean it won’t be strictly regulated. At the time of writing, even though marijuana is becoming legalized across the country don’t expect to see food trucks serving the product anytime soon. Why?

The best example we can think of for comparison purposes is the alcohol industry. At one time in the United States there was a period of prohibition where you could not legally consume alcohol. Although prohibition has long since ended in the United States, there’s still a ton of rules around its consumption. For example, you must be 21 years of age to legally consume. Not just anyone can drink. An establishment selling alcohol must also be approved to do so with a specific license. Not just any business can sell a pint of beer unless they go through an approval process. There are rules around this products use with legal and financial penalties for not following those rules.

A Highly-Regulated Industry

These regulations will likely prevent food trucks dispenseries from becoming a legitimate business opportunity even if the recreational use is permitted inside the state you want to operate in 2019 and beyond. So far there are extremely specific requirements needed for dispensaries to adhere to before they can sell product that are state dependent. Some states like California have specific requirements for the building and layout that marijuana products can be operated out of like bathrooms, breakrooms, and the layout of the building, making it impossible to serve on a mobile unit from a legal perspective. Here’s an example of requirements for medical cannabis buildings in Santa Rosa, California.

There are some very legitimate reasons for the building requirements as well for marijuana dispensaries at this time. First, is that cannabis products are still illegal on a federal level. This means that many dispensaries operate cash only businesses since banks will not process transactions that are technically illegal.

Due to this challenge processing payments, it means dispensary’s carry a lot of cash on hand that can make operating the business more dangerous. In fact, some these business need to have armored vehicles regularly visit their location in take cash and make deposits. As you might expect, high-volume locations could process tens of thousands in cash per day. The goal of these businesses is to never keep too much money on-site and many have large safes and security employed to protect the high-value product and cash.

Of course, if you were to operate a truck, you would be more exposed to theft. You are much more exposed to dangerous criminals in a truck compared to a building with security systems and protection. As the rules and regulation continue to evolve allowing banks to accept payments from these businesses.

At the end of the day, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be seeing cannabis food truck driving around your neighborhood anytime soon like you might see the ice cream man. With all that being said, it will be fun to watch this new industry evolve and grow in the coming years.

Can You Trademark a Food Truck Name?

Can you patent trademark a food truck’s name? In fact, you can! Just like any other type of business you can acquire a trademark to protect your brand and its likeness.

There are all kinds of reasons that you may want to register for a trademark, but the primary reason for many includes protecting your brand against other companies entering the space that may confuse customer or too closely resembles your business name. Imagine how frustrating it would be if someone in your city started a food truck with a nearly identical name, logo, and menu that was so close that your customers actually became confused between the original and the knock off. This is the type of bad scenario a trademark can help protect you from.

Should Your File For a Trademark with Your Food Business?

Should My Food Truck File?

Of course, most food trucks never file for a trademark at all and get along just fine. Whether or not you decide to file for a trademark depends on your goals. If you plan to operate a single food truck, there’s probably no need. Especially if you plan to start a truck that targets consumers based around convince like a lunch truck, where brand recognition isn’t important this is a step you can forgo in the startup process.

One the other hand, if your goal is to use a food truck as a proof of concept for launching a nationally recognized brand than by all means, now is the time to start the filing process. You’ll want to ensure you have a trademark and name in place before going further down the path of developing logos and other branding.

There are a couple different options you have when filing for a trademark. You can acquire a trademark at the state level, which will protect your brand within the borders of your state within the United States. These state level trademarks are often easier to obtain and cost around $100 – $200 according to LegalZoom.com.  You can obtain a federal trademark to protect your brand nationally for between $275 – $375. After acquiring the trademark there’s a small ongoing fee required to keep these active. After you obtain the designation, a trademark will never expire assuming you continue to pay the annual fees.

Filing For a Trademark

Before you file for a trademark or even select a name for your food truck for that matter, it’s important to conduct basic due diligence on your end to make sure the business name you want isn’t already being used elsewhere. There are a lot of creative people out there and you might be surprised to discover there’s another business already operating under your name a few states over.

The first step you should take before beginning to file is to conduct a few Google searches for your desired brand name. This will help you identify if there’s anyone else that’s operating a business under the same name as you. Assuming you find what appears to be a medium to large size business operating under the name, it’s better to pass on the brilliant name idea and get back to the drawing board. If you have questions about whether or not another businesses name is too close and you’re in love with the name, now would be the time to contact an attorney that specializes in trademark and patent law. If you live in a metro area of any type, you will be at to find an attorney nearby that focuses on this area of law.

Assuming there’s nothing that turns of online from your searches, great! It’s time to take the next step in your trademark search by visiting the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. Here you’ll be able to search a database of existing trademarks to see if your name is already taken. This service is free and competing this step is highly recommended before taking any further action to file.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that even if you identify a name that hasn’t been taken, you may not be able to register the name for a trademark. If you try to file for a trademark under the name “Boston Burgers” the filing probably won’t be approved because it can be easily confused with the city of Boston.

Bottom line, before you file it’s recommended to schedule a 30 minute or one hour initial conversation with a patent lawyer. This will cost you more money, but these professionals can help answer your questions and give you a good sense of whether or not your filing will be approved.

Ready to File?

If you’re ready to file you can do so by following the steps outlined here. There’s also an extremely helpful 41 minute video below that highlights what every small business should know now, not later when filing for a trademark. This is worth watching first to educate yourself further about trademarks and help you determine if it’s the right choice for your business.

We hope this article has helped give you some background information about the trademark process and some basic considerations. If you have questions about the process, contact an attorney that specializes in patent law for guidance. If you’re looking for more help naming a food truck, read our previously published blog post for more information.

Five Healthy Side-Dish Recipe Ideas For Your Food Truck

All food trucks can benefit from offering healthy side dishes.

As a society, we are trying to live healthier lifestyles than our parent’s generation. There are plenty of reasons for folks to make a conscious effort to improve one’s health, including weight loss, live longer, or simply to feel better. No matter what the reason behind a living a healthy lifestyle, for most folks this means doing more of two things: exercising regularly and improving diet.

While budgeting time to exercise or eat better is simple, it doesn’t mean this will be easy to accomplish. Between work and family obligations it can be difficult to put in the time to grind out a few miles on the treadmill. Likewise, eating nutritional foods aren’t always convenient. If you’re at a street fair, baseball game, or the shopping mall it can be almost impossible to find healthy options. Even if you’re at home and have all the healthy ingredients you could want, doesn’t mean you want to cook meals yourself each night.

Should You Serve Only “Health” Food on a Truck?

From a logical standpoint, one might think that your food truck could be the business that fills in the need for healthy foods in your area. But before you start serving organic Quinoa bowls or vegetable based bacon, you need to consider that what people say isn’t always what they do.

For example, even if you intend you make lifestyle changes, you probably have a cheat meal or two built into your weekly routine. Chicken breast with a side of organic carrots and broccoli for a weekday lunch might be tolerable for a while, but once the weekend hits most folks are looking for a change. For this reason, we do not recommend starting a healthy food only truck. Friends and family may applaud your efforts for trying to improve the well-being of the local community, but the concept is unlikely to take off.

Instead of starting a “healthy” food truck, consider adding better options to your existing menu. To seek inspiration for this approach you won’t need to look far. Take the global restaurant chain McDonald’s as an example. With the kid’s meals you used to only have one side option… a small French fry. Today, you have the option to order sliced apples as a replacement. You also have the option to replace the cheeseburger with all-white meat chicken nugget.

Notice how the burger chain didn’t drop their quarter pounders and other recognizable meals. They simply adapted a bit to provide some healthier options. You can use the same approach with your food truck as well! Don’t get rid of the core menu items customers crave because of media reports that people want to eat better.

Think about it. Are there any successful restaurants that highlight serving health food meals? Probably not because there just simply isn’t enough demand to support this concept in most areas. Instead of completely changing up your menu trying offering simple and health side dish options like the ideas listed below. Each idea below can be tweaked to align with your menu of offerings.

All aboard The Vegetable Express Food Trailer Built by M&R Speciality Trailers and Trucks.

Apples: This is a product that can be purchased affordably year round in the United States. In the fall months, you may even be able to serve locally grown varieties like honey crisp. There are a limitless number of ways you can utilize this fruit, by simply chopping chopping apple slices or amping them up with some sprinkled cinnamon and sugar. Viola, you’ve transformed a boring apple into exciting apple fries!

Smoothies: If you happen to have the right equipment onboard and a blender, smoothies can be a terrific healthy option. This beverage pairs well with coffee or breakfast trucks specifically. Just make sure you’ve got the appropriate electrical capabilities setup on your unit… blenders are electricity hogs on food trucks!

Veggie Snacks: Create a mini veggie tray. Cut some carrots, broccoli, celery in an attractive way. Serve with a side of ranch or premade hummus. This creates a healthier option to fried foods and is extremely easy and affordable to make. Everyone loves a personal veggie tray!

Potato Alternative: All sorts of restaurants use some form of potato as a side. Why? Almost everyone likes potatoes in their various forms (fries, mashed, bakes, waffle) and they are cheap to make. The down side is that is that many reports associate eating potatoes with weight gain. Most people don’t associate the spud with the example of health.

Instead, look to offer foods that are perceived to be healthier on the side. Some recipe ideas include: Califlower rice. Asian green beans. Cranberry almond coleslaw.

French Fry Alternative Recipes: Squash Fries. Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Roasted carrots. All of these items can be chopped just like an old-fashioned French fry and served! Bon apetite!

Do you offer healthier food options on your concession unit? If so, let us know what approaches you’ve used. We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

Five Ideas to Convert a School Bus into a Mobile Kitchen

First, it was old delivery trucks that were converted into gourmet food trucks. Today, an increasing number of food vendors are serving meals from a converted school bus that’s been transformed into a commercial kitchen. In today’s post, we evaluate some of the best menu ideas we’ve seen on these converted school buses often referred to as food “skoolies” to help you determine if this type of build is the right choice for your business.

Before jumping on the school bus bandwagon there are some important considerations to think about. First, a converted bus is a lot larger and longer than a standard food truck. According to Wikipedia, the length of an average food truck is 45 feet. Most floor plans for standard food trucks don’t exceed 20 feet in length.

A 45-foot school bus.

The extra space available with a bus can be an advantage or disadvantage to vendors depending on how you look at it. One advantage is you can work in a much larger commercial kitchen. That means you can comfortably fit more employees inside the bus to crank-out orders at a rapid pace. This extra space also means offering a broader range of menu items can be offered. Alternatively, you could use the extra space for food storage. Some food buses have even used the extra space to create limited indoor seating inside their vehicle. You are only limited by your own imagination on how to use the extra space.

Now for the disadvantages. If you operate in a large city, it’s going to be harder to navigate tight urban streets with a bus. It’s a whole lot harder to find street parking when you’re trying to find a 45-foot long spot. Not an easy thing to do in most downtown areas!

The other downside rarely reported on these buses is that the gas mileage stinks. It’s not uncommon to get between 4 – 6 miles per gallon of gasoline. Of course, how you drive the bus and environmental variables will have an impact on that estimate too. At the time of writing gas prices are low (relatively speaking). But in the unlikely scenario we see gas prices go up to $3.00 or more nationally that could really impact your profitability and might put you at risk of going out of business.

No matter how you spin it, you can get around more economically with a food truck in most situations.  If you operate a trailer, you might be able to pull your food unit for 15 – 20 miles per gallon of gas. Depending on how far you plan to travel for events, this decision to convert a bus that could mean adding thousands of dollars in annual expenses. Don’t take this decision lightly!

Five Awesome Menu Ideas That Work Well on Converted School Buses

Bobo’s BBQ Concession Trailer built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks

Truth be told, you can execute any of these menu ideas on a food truck, trailer, or even a sprinter van in some instances. What a bus will allow you to do is go bigger with any of the menu concepts. Want to start an ice cream bus? You could offer 32 flavors or more! Planning a mobile coffee shop? You could offer on-vehicle seating that allows customers to temporarily escape the wind, rain, or cold at an outdoor event. Here are a few concepts that have worked well on a bus for other business owners:

The Coffee Bus: One a 45-foot long bus, you’ll be able to install all the equipment you need to match the beverage options of a brick-and-mortar coffee shop. The other nice option is the ability to create an long and attractive coffee bar on the outside of the vehicle allowing more customers to sit and enjoy their drink. If you plan to operate this business in a warmer, year-round climate then operating a stationary coffee bus can be an exceptional option. There are many coffee shops operating out of converted shipping containers, but buses can work just as well.

The Crepe Bus: Amazing Crepes in White Fish, Montana, is an excellent example of a crepe bus. On this unit, the operators serve a variety of sweet or savory crepe options, including ham and cheddar or Nutella and banana. Some unique beverages are also served from this unit like house made ginger lemonade! It’s a winner.

The Burger Bus: You won’t need a full-size school bus to serve mouth-watering burgers. One popular example of a burger bus in action is Bernie’s Burger Bus in Texas. Bernie’s Burger Bus has grown in popularity over the years and now has multiple units operating in the state.

The Ice Cream Bus: With a bus, you can offer an extensive range of ice cream and soft-serve options. Whether you want to compete with flavor options brick-and-mortar competitors or offer a jaw dropping range of desert options from soft-serve to snow cones this can be a great option. The only aspect you’ll want to keep in mind is that ice cream and soft-serve machines require a lot of energy to power. You will need a lot of generator power to keep your product cool.

Full-Service Restaurant Bus: As mentioned previously, one of the advantages of a bus is that you can build in a lot of cooking equipment and food storage too. This allows you to serve multi-course meals that smaller food trucks can’t realistically pull off.

You’ll notice that most food trucks have a lean menu. Many mobile units focus on serving 3 – 5 core items. A bus, on the other hand, will enable you to serve a much larger menu that reflects what you would expect to see at a restaurant. This gives you the potential advantage of serving a much larger menu. You could also serve bigger traditional meals including sides and all the fixings.

If you’re trying to decide if a bus, food truck, trailer or other vehicle is best for your business, give us a call. We’ve been manufacturing mobile food units for over 15 years and can help you determine the right type of custom build unit that matches your needs.

The Starting Quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagle’s Just Opened a Food Truck

The starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz, has a new side gig as a food truck vendor. Well… Sort of.

Wentz has a new charitable food truck named Thy Kingdom Crumb offering free meals to those in need in the Philadelphia area. The food truck made its debut in late August at Acme Markets in Philly. For the grand opening both Wentz and super-star teammate Zach Ertz distributed meals.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, you can view the truck in person at regular season home games at Lincoln Financial Field throughout the year.

The goal of the food truck is to use food as a means of community outreach and demonstrating God’s unconditional love. There’s no cost and no strings attached to anyone that wants a meal from the vehicle. You could be a struggling college student or a high-earning doctor getting off a shift. Everyone is welcome to enjoy a free meal. The mobile organization plans to serve both individuals and other non-profits across Philly with the vehicle.

Meals and a Mission

The meals being served from this unit aren’t what one might expect from a free food truck either. “We’re definitely not dishing out cafeteria style food that’s for sure,” explains the trucks chef. Meals being served during the first service of the vehicle include chicken and shrimp salad. There’s also hot BBQ chicken sandwiches available. In total, enough food was cooked to feed 2,500 people for the first service.

As you might expect, Carson Wentz isn’t pulling off this vision alone. He has an entire team of volunteers that help to execute the vision. Volunteers from a variety of organizations and churches help prep and distribute the food. Reverend Kyle Horner of Connect Church helps drive the truck to events.

You can learn more about the launch of Thy Kingdom Crumb by watching the video above. In the video, Carson Wentz explains his desire to give back to the community of Philadelphia. The piece also gives you a behind the scenes on the food truck being wrapped and rolled out for the first time. This food truck is part of Wentz’s Audience of 1 Foundation. You can learn more about the organization and its goals here.

This week and weekend marks the start of the 2018 NFL regular season. Wentz is starting out the season on the injured reserve due to a knee injury, but is expected to return to action in the coming weeks. We wish Wentz nothing but the best on his on and off-field endeavors in 2018.

Starting a Mobile DJ Trailer Business in Florida?

Thinking about starting a mobile DJ trailer business in Florida? A trailer can help you safely transport audio and visual equipment, while setting your business apart from other DJs in the local market. Below is an overview of this high-profit business model.

Mobile DJ Trailer Business Model Explained

Being your own boss and becoming entrepreneurial disc jockeys (AKA DJ) is something most on-air talent considers during their career. After all, most small radio markets pay on-air talent under $40,000 annually if you’re just entering the workforce. It’s not that small-market radio wouldn’t like to pay their employees more, it’s simply a matter of revenue generated through advertising can’t support higher salaries in these markets.

The flip side is that you can earn a very healthy six figure or higher annual salary as an independent DJ and owns his or her audio equipment and a trailer to haul equipment from venue to venue.

When you’re starting out, finding events to DJ will seem difficult. Like any other small business, no one will know about your services at first. In the early days, you will need to pay your dues to get your name out there and into the public. This could mean bringing your talents at no charge to local charity events or fundraisers. While you won’t get paid for these events you will introduce your services to the community and start generating leads for paid gigs at events like this.

There are a few different strategies you can use to build an income as a DJ. Many DJs will use a combination of these approaches:

Bars and Clubs – Small bars, especially those without built-in audio equipment or lighting may hire out third-parties to provide entertainment on busy nights like New Year’s Eve. These venues will likely only pay $200 – $500 for an evening of entertainment. If you perform well, you may be invited in play again at a future date or even operate at bars run by the same owner.

One important aspect to remember is the business aspect of paid entertainment in a bar or night club. You are being paid by the business owner to provide a fun night for guests and keep people happily ordering drinks throughout the night. If you can accomplish both, you’ll likely be hired for future events.

Weddings – This is the holy grail of DJing event. A wedding provides the opportunity to charge higher prices in the $1,000 – $3,000 range per event. Depending on the service you offer and night of the wedding this quote could be even higher.

You’ll need to prepare more for a wedding than you will a bar event, however. What is usually forgotten about is the amount of planning that goes into a wedding. You’ll need to determine things like what will the father daughter dance be? What will the couple’s first dance be? What songs do they not want played at the wedding? Will the chicken dance be played? You’ll need to bring your A-game for more formal events like weddings.

School Dance – Want to go back in time and relive those awkward teen years? You can do just that as a disc jockey for school dances. Remember that while you’ll need to adapt the music to what a younger demographic wants to hear, you also need to remember the school is paying your fee. Don’t make them regret the decision to hire you.

Street Dance – Playing at small town street dances or centennial celebrations can be lucrative events to book. Usually, you’ve got to have a well-established track record before landing these big events, but some can pay $2,000 – $6,000 for a single night of entertainment assuming you’ll be providing equipment like stage lighting and a dance floor.

Fairs / Carnivals – County fairs and street carnivals regularly hire DJs to provide free entertainment at events.

Advantages of Operating a Mobile DJ Business

  • Be your own boss.
  • Retain all revenue from DJ events.
  • You hand pick the events you book.

Disadvantages of This Business Model

  • You will need to work nights and weekends to make good money.
  • Seasonal demand for DJ services.
  • Low barriers to entry from local competitors.
  • This is not the ideal business model for reserved personality types.

Best Practices for Running a Successful DJ Business

The best paid DJs are the ones that act professionally. They understand their role at an event. Establish a routine of showing up early to events so you can setup audio / visual equipment to ensure everything is ready to go at the agreed upon start time. Remember, you’re essentially a temporary employee of the business that hired you.

Next, check your ego at the door. You’re not a famous rock star that can show up late and disrespect other employees like wait staff, bartenders or bouncers at an event. In fact, you should put your best foot forward with venue employees as they are often the eyes and ears of the check writer.

Third, it’s your job to bring the party and have a good time at events. But never drink in excess or curse on the microphone. It’s bad taste and will earn you a bad reputation that you may not be able to bounce back from.

Fourth, you will encounter other DJs and local cover bands on your journey to building this business. Be nice to these guys and gals, especially if they are popular acts in your region. Popular acts know who the decision makers are in your area and might even help you secure more business in the future if they respect you and can vouch for your talents and professionalism. Many of the popular acts will be booked quickly at the start of the year and can only entertain one venue at a time. Believe it or not, your competition may actually help you book more business if you give them a reason to help you.

Finally, every gig you play is an audition for your next event. If you make it a point to do your best at each event, you’ll find that you are able to regularly meet new people that need paid entertainment for events. Your calendar will start to fill up and you’ll be able to gradually increase your rates.

Six New Revenue Stream Ideas to Grow Your Food Truck’s Brand and Business

The last time you visited a local Starbucks or Caribou Coffee shop you may have noticed something: There’s a whole lot more for sale than a simple cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich. The last time I frequented my local Starbucks location (a location I visit about 3 times per week) the store had a variety of items available for purchase. Here are a few items I observed at my location:

  • Mugs and tumblers with the Starbucks branded logos selling for between $12.99 – $19.99 on average.
  • Gum and mints strategically placed by the cash register to remind me that I will have coffee breath later.
  • Bags of coffee available for purchase that can be taken home and enjoyed. These sold for around $9.99 – $12.99 per bag.
  • Gift cards and a small selection of greeting cards for common occasions.

As the holiday season approaches later this year there’s no question the number of gifting options will balloon to include stocking stuffers and other coffee related gadgets. But instead of purchasing your coffee and moving on with your day, I recommend seeing what you can learn from a coffee business doing over $22 billion in annual sales.

Believe it or not you don’t need to be a multi-national conglomerate to offer value adding products for customers. You can offer similar items for your boutique food truck affordably if you know the options are and where to look. Here are a few smart ways you can add exciting new revenue streams for your business and grow your food trucks brand while you’re at it.

Sprinter Van built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks.

Six Ways to Increase Food Truck Revenue

Swag – Thanks to advances in printing and technology, you can get your log or brand message professionally printed on almost anything without spending a small fortune. Coffee mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, cups, hats, tote bags, and just about any other item you can be produced reasonably through websites like https://www.brokenarrowwear.com/. Here you can get 100 black shirts for around $7.62 a piece with free shipping. This leaves you with a lot of profit if you plan to sell for $15.00 – $20.00 per shirt.

Profit Potential: Low – You can usually sell one or two shirts per day, but selling branded items isn’t a huge revenue generator for most vendors that have tried. Still things like t-shirts, mugs, and other items don’t expire or spoil so you can retain inventory until it sells.

Food Products Seasoning Blends / Sauces – If you operate a BBQ concession business, bottling your blend of rubs or sauces makes a lot of sense. Once you start building a name for yourself through winning competitions this side of the business can be a real income booster since the price to make a rub is often low. Additionally, seasoning and sauces have a long shelf life so you won’t feel pressured to sell out at each event.

Profit Potential: High – The sky is the limit for this revenue stream. You can start by selling your product wherever you vend, but as your name grows continue to add distribution channels such as online and retail.

Advertising – More food trucks have gotten into the sponsorship game in one way or another. It makes sense because food trucks can serve as mobile billboards promoting a brand message in some of the most well attended events around a city. Often a brand will pay to wrap your truck with a brand message for this type of marketing often referred to as a food truck takeover. The city you operate will determine if these opportunities exist locally. Places like New York City or Las Vegas will have much more opportunities to monetize in this way.

Profit Potential: Medium – A vendor can expect to make a few thousand dollars per advertising event with their truck, but the opportunities can be few and far between.

Did you know? You can offer cooking classes on a food truck.

Cooking Classes –  Due to the popularity of cooking television and The Great Food Truck Race, cooking on a food truck is an experience people are willing to pay for. The average cost of a class will vary and depend on the type of food you plan to serve. Many vendors will choose to conduct their cooking classes during slow time periods like the A.M. on weekends or evenings on weekdays. You can expect people to pay between $50 – $100 for a single lesson or more if you plan to hold a once per week class.

Profit Potential: Low – You will be limited to the number of students you can teach. You also need to ensure your class hits a certain threshold of people to be worth your time. Also, keep in mind that there will be expenses associated with ingredients for cooking the food.

Cooking Competitions – If you serve BBQ, you already know about the opportunities here. Almost every weekend in the summertime you can probably find a smoked meat competition of some type near you.

Profit Potential: Low – Participating in a BBQ competitions can get expensive fast. You also need to consider the gas, time spent on travel, and entry fees for each competition. This is a great way to introduce your brand name, but it is expensive and extremely competitive. Many of the BBQ teams consider it a win if they break even on expenses at the end of the year.

Become a Food Expert – Transforming yourself from a food truck vendor into a food expert won’t be easy, but it is possible. There are many ways that you can develop into a food expert and make money: writing a book and making money from sales, creating a blog and generating revenue through advertising and product sales. Eventually you will be able to charge to speak at events.

Profit Potential: High – While the income potential is high as an expert, it will likely take you many years to reach a respectable income level. You will need to master your craft and spend years finding your unique voice for this to work.

As you can see there are many ways you can leverage the platform that is your food truck to build a lager food brand and increase overall profits. Have you tried any of these ideas in your business? How did they work out? Let us know in the comment section below.

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