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Gary Vaynerchuck’s Business and Marketing Advice for Food Truck Owners

Gary Vaynerchuck is arguably the most well-known entrepreneur and social media thought-leader on the planet. Throughout the year you can watch daily tidbits of him running his business his YouTube Channel that’s rapidly approaching a million subscribers or Instagram. Vaynerchuck’s company, VaynerMedia, provides marketing consulting from Fortune 500 companies to the biggest athletes in the world. But while attending a recent marketing conference, Vaynerchuck took some time out of his speaking schedule to offer some specific advice to a small business owner… specifically a food truck owner.

online reviews

If you’re someone that’s never heard of Gary Vaynerchuck don’t worry! As background Vaynerchuck has a regular YouTube / Podcast called “Ask GaryVee” where people call or email a variety of business, social media, and even life choice questions to Gary. Gary takes these questions and gives his no-holds barred perspective on questions that are asked.

As Vaynerchuck describes in the video below, he met this food truck owner at a conference / book signing. The woman that owns the food truck received a signed book, but came back to Vaynerchuck to ask for seek specific advice about the operations of her food truck. Vaynerchuck gives her major praise for coming back to speak with him personally about her business and shared the mini consulting session below through his vlog.

The Scenario

The reason this woman sought Gary’s advice was to get his opinion on why her food truck was struggling. The woman had started an all-American BBQ food truck. Her first food truck was a huge success, profitable, and gained a following quickly. But… after adding a second and third food truck she found the growth difficult to manage and the new trucks to not be as profitable as the first. She then asked Gary what his thoughts were and admitted she wasn’t able to pinpoint where things started to go wrong.

Gary starts by asking the woman what changed after growing to three food trucks. This was a terrific question after all the day-to-day work of a food truck owner with one truck is very different than someone that owns three. With a single truck, you can have your hands in every aspect of the operations from the business from front-of-house and greeting customers to cooking meals and everything in between. But when you scale to multiple locations, your role needs to change. You will be doing more management of people and securing business for the trucks. It’s a completely different position!

Gary asks the entrepreneur to work back and think about all the different aspects of her business that changed after expanding to three trucks. The woman mentions that she used to take orders from the window. Now other employees accept the orders. The recipes and portion sizes may have changed… even slightly after this expansion as well. Vaynerchuck then explains to the woman how she needs to work backwards and figure out all the things that changed with her business operations initially and see what could be done to build more process into her business and make the total experience closer to what she had when there was only one truck.

Social Media Marketing  

Gary Vaynerchuck first became well-known in the marketing space for being an expert on the topic of social media. Gary then offers the business owner a tactic on Instagram that could work extremely well for a food truck business.

The idea is to find 20 social media influencers that are nearby the city you operate in. Gary then recommended reaching out to 20 people per day, saying you like their profile and then offering them free lunch at the truck. By consistently applying this tactic over time, Gary believes that you could become an extremely popular truck in the area assuming your food is of high-quality.

Gary also clarifies that it’s important to implement this strategy on Instagram specifically. Why? Because it has more organic reach than other social media websites like Facebook. Organic reach is a description of the number of people that see your post for free online and don’t have to pay for it with advertising.

The conversation is pretty in-depth considering that this advice was given at a marketing event where Gary was likely being approached to speak with many high-level marketers or business people.  So major props to Gary for taking the time to consult with a small food business owner. The owner walked away with some very specific takeaways that she said would be implemented in her business.

Whether you’re currently operating a concession business or just thinking about it, we recommend watching this video to anyone. It demonstrates just how challenging operating any type of business, including a food truck can be.

 

Food Trucks often Double as Disaster Relief Vehicles

When emergencies happen, you need teams of highly-skilled people that can mobilize quickly and travel to a distressed area to help. In critical situations like this people like first responders, fire fighters, nurses, and law enforcement usually come to mind. These people are the first at the scene of a catastrophic event.

But in recent months, seemingly unlikely food trucks have also been called upon to serve their communities after natural disasters. Food trucks answered this call by moving to support emergency workers and victims of storms like Hurricane Irma. When the power goes out and fresh water becomes non-existent these mobile food units are able to travel to the hardest hit areas to offer hot food, water, and in some cases shelter for individuals that have lost everything.

Van D’s Dutch Delights Desert Trailer.

Disaster Relief Vehicle Requirements

Although food trucks and concession trailers were not built with the intent to rush into disaster areas, they are well-equipped and prepared to handle many of these emergency situations. Below are four key reasons mobile food units are often called into action:

Speed: When disaster strikes, you need help that can be mobilized quickly today… Not sometime next week. Food trucks have the ability to spring into action with little notice. Often the only preparation needed is getting the right supplies (water, coffee, food) loaded up onto the truck and taking off.

Mobility: After a natural disaster, a cities electrical grid can be decimated and offline for days or in some instances weeks. This means not only homeowners are without power, but local services like restaurants and gas stations are offline too. Food truck have the ability to drive directly into the most distressed areas and offer services like cold water and a warm meal.

Equipment: Food trailers are already equipped with the right tools to serve emergency victims. There are ovens to heat meals. There are tables to prepare warm meals and refrigeration to keep perishable food cool. There’s also generators already installed so that these units can operate off-the-grid and without any electrical source.

Skilled: Finally, food truck owners have a unique skill set that often goes unnoticed. Food truck owners are accustomed traveling and setting up at events with few amenities. They are also comfortable preparing and distributing food quickly to large groups of people. These are critical skills to have in these scenarios.

SMART Trailer Left Side

Ideally local organizations like fire departments and hospitals will also have mobile medical vehicles on hand with additional specialized equipment for health care purposes. Many hospitals now have mobile clinics to help provide first aid and other emergency services in these events.

Recent Ways Food Trucks Have Served as Disaster Relief Units

According to reports, an average of 844,239 people are impacted by a natural disaster each year in the United States. A disaster could take the form of a flood, wildfire, drought, or hurricane depending on where you live. Here are a few specific ways food trucks have been called into action in recent months:

Napa and Sonoma Counties: Hat tip to Off The Grid that has helped mobilize Bay Area food trucks to serve areas impacted by wild fires within these counties. Food trucks are helping to ensure food donated is distributed to the right areas where people need help the most in these areas.

Las Vegas, Nevada: After the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, restaurants and food trucks banded together to help serve hot meals to first responders and victims of the this event.

South Florida – Pembroke Park and Monroe County have been aided by over 100 total food trucks to distribute free meals to residents. This is an incredible effort by the food truck community and other companies like JetBlue that helped sponsor these important events.

Although disaster relief was never the original intent for these food truck owners, they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve their communities when they needed help most. This is just another example of why we love this industry so much.

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Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show 2017 Exhibitor Review

This week you’ll find M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show running from October 11th – 13th, 2017. This annual event is being held at the Orange County Convention Center and brings together over 8,000 professionals from across the culinary and food service industry. Whether you’re looking for cutting-edge flavor combinations for your menu or looking to grow your existing restaurant franchise this Florida’s premier event to accomplish these goals.

If you plan to be in attendance, we encourage you to head on over to booth 1301 to say hi and check out our display.  Our booth is located on the South end of the convention center near the Costco and Panama Jack Outdoor and Sunroom Skyline Design booths. You can view photos from our exhibitor booth below.

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show

Our Booth at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show

On display at this year’s event is Tony’s Clam Chowder concession unit built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks.  Tony’s Clam Chowder is the fastest growing clam chowder brand in the United States. If you live in Florida, you might already be familiar with enjoying their brand from Albertson’s or Safeway locations or perhaps enjoyed the chowder at an area ma-and-pa restaurant.

Tony’s Clam Chowder uses their concession van as a mobile promotion vehicle that helps introduce their award winning chowder flavors to new customers and also to serve hungry fans at popular events like the Cedar Key Seafood Festival being held from October 21st – 22nd. Some nifty elements of this concession unit include an external television to display a menu or marketing program, an illuminating display case for showing off product, and a serving window built right into the sliding door. Click here for full video tour of Tony’s Clam Chowder. If you happen to be in attendance, come and take a tour of the vehicle yourself!

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Tony’s Clam Chowder

 

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Interior kitchen view.

 

Interior view.

Special Events

The conference concludes tomorrow (October 13th, 2017), but there’s still plenty of valuable sessions we look forward to attending. The presentations for this event are broken into different tracks that are critical to any growth-minded restauranteur like operational excellence, hot trends, building a winning team, and increasing customer loyalty. Below is a small sample of the sessions we’re looking forward to seeing including tracks and times:

Menu Design Jedi Mind Tricks 10/13/2017 12:00 PM 12:45 PM Operational Excellence
“It’s All on Me” 10/13/2017 2:00 PM 2:45 PM Build a Winning Team
Culinary Demonstration by Chef DeJuan Roy 10/13/2017 1:00 PM 1:45 PM Culinary Demo

We’ve enjoyed all the people we’ve met at the event so far and look forward to hopefully meeting you at the final day of the event.

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Food Trucks Continue Serving Communities After Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Texas coastline from Corpus Christi to Houston while uprooting thousands of families in between the two cities. For many residents, their businesses and homes have been completely destroyed. Some areas were hit hard by the hurricane winds. Others had walls torn down by rising and rushing water. According to this article from Fortune.com, the financial impact of Hurricane Harvey could top $180 billion.

While there has been a level of destruction and damage the likes we haven’t seen in the United States since Hurricane Katrina there are always examples of the resilience of the human spirit that go on display when events like this happen. Times like these remind us everyone is in this thing together and that we share more similarities than differences.

Hurricane Harvey & Food Trucks

One such example that’s come out of Hurricane Harvey is the story of local food Texas trucks that have donated their time and equipment to serve the residents of their community. Instead of closing up shop these small business owners have mobilized their eateries to deliver much needed meals to areas that have been impacted the most. It’s important to point out as well that these are not Fortune 500 funded companies, but sole proprietors that are operating without the help of multi-million dollar advertising budgets. Their contributions are literally coming out of their own pockets. More often than not they are already donating their time, money, and equipment without any compensation or media attention for their important work.

Texas resident Joel Paprocki of InsureMyFood.com saw first-hand how local food trucks were helping their communities and mobilized a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to help local food trucks serve even more people impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Below is a description of this initiative published on the You Caring page:

As we all know, Hurricane Harvey struck the coast of Texas earlier this week leaving many without food and water.  Several Texas based food trucks and trailers have graciously volunteered to donate their time and vehicles to provide food for those desperately in need in the small coastal towns that are still in the process of being evacuated. 

Monies raised will go directly to the cost of food and drinks that will be served to evacuees and first responders from the trucks and trailers that have volunteered their time.  These individuals need our help and this is a great, tangible way to contribute from all parts of the country.  The trucks will deploy to several different smaller cities along the coast that may not be receiving the national attention but are still in need of help. Thank you so much for your support, a donation as small as $5 will feed someone and make a difference!

In addition to the crowd funding campaign organizations like InsureMyFood.com, 5000 Burnett, and Cincinnati Food Truck Association, and U.S. Food Truck Fest have all made significant financial contributions to the cause. As the crowdfunding campaign states, it only takes a contribution of $5 to feed someone and any additional shares on social media makes an impact as well.

Could Negative Yelp Reviews Be Hurting Your Food Truck Business?

online reviewsWe live in a world where customers read reviews and view food photos well before they ever step foot into a restaurant or dine at your food truck. That means that for many prospective customers, if you’re online reputation isn’t pristine you probably won’t get their business.

There was recently published article of MarketPlace.org that says negative Yelp reviews could actually be helping to put some restaurants out of business. The punch line of the article is that a restaurant with only two or three stars will be 14% more likely to go out of business in the event of minimum wage hikes. Restaurants on the other end of the spectrum and receiving mostly four or five star reviews, you are not likely to be impacted by wage increases. Although this article didn’t reference mobile food businesses specifically, it’s easy to see how food trucks could be impacted in a similar way by wages or reviews.

The thought process behind this report is that lower ranked restaurants are less profitable and operating on the edge already. Anything that increases the restaurants costs, like an increase in wages could put them out of business. You can listen to the full story below:

What Can You Even Do About Yelp Reviews?

Even if you are a concession vendor with a stellar online reputation, monitoring your reviews on popular review sites like Yelp.com, Facebook, or Google is a smart idea. Even if you don’t have any negative reviews at the moment, one bad customer experience or misunderstanding could completely change that. The goal of this article is to provide you with some concrete action steps you can take to improve your reviews online.

But before you can take action to improve something, you need to know what your working with. We recommend checking online reviews monthly and building this process into your regular routine. Most months, you will likely discover that you don’t need to do much assuming your business already receives mostly positive reviews.

  • Encourage Feedback: If you’ve been operating successfully a few years, you’ve probably formed relationships with your customers. Maybe you have some regulars that you see every week or every couple of weeks that you know by name and continue to return to your business. If the opportunity presents itself, mention that you would appreciate if they shared their opinion of your restaurant online and how their feedback can really help your business. Most customers that you’ve built a rapport with will be more than happy to help you out. According to this article 70% of customers will leave a review when asked making this a very effective way to generate more reviews.
  • Make Providing an Online Review Easier: Believe it or not, most of your customers will not be publishing reviews of your food online even if they had the best experience ever. While a lot of individuals like to read reviews, many people don’t think to leave their own. Part of the reason is that there can be technology challenges. Some of your customers may not know how to log into Yelp and then find out how to leave a review. A website called Grade.us can make it easier for your customers to leave reviews online. Another benefit using Grade.us is that it can help you filter out negative reviews by having any negative feedback emailed to you instead of published online for the world to see.
  • Be Consistent With Responses: It’s natural to want to have a slight freak out when you see a bad review. It’s also normal for a lot of business owners to focus on and respond only to negative reviews. If you do decide to respond to reviews directly, make sure you respond to both negative and positive reviews of your food. This will demonstrate that you value everyone’s opinions and make the negative ones stand out less.
  • Take control of your profiles: While you can’t control reviews on your website there are a lot of things you can control on websites like Yelp.com and others. Typically the owner of the restaurant can upload their own food photos, make sure the telephone number and hours of operate are all accurate. While these updates don’t impact the reviews, they will help improve the overall perception to prospective customers.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that a single bad review isn’t the end of the world. An occasional poor or average review will happen to even the best rated restaurants in your city. If you are already a restaurant or food truck that receives positive reviews on a regular basis continue providing excellent food and service to your customer base.

Will Automation Technology Replace Food Truck Employees by 2025?

According to this study from McKinsey & Company, a whopping 73% of foodservice activities have the potential to be automated. This report comes at the same time automation efforts in the transportation sector are in full-swing as well. Ten years ago, the average person may have felt driverless cars was something only dreamed up for sci-fi movies. Today, driverless cars are actively being tested by companies like Google and Tesla on real city streets. Some analysts have predicted that you will be able to buy a driverless car as soon as 2025.

Even the pizza business is encountering further automation from a partnership between Ford and Domino’s. This partnership will allow Domino’s to deliver pipping hot pizza pie in a driverless car. When your pizza arrives at your home, you receive a text to you cell phone alerting you that the car is just outside. Then you simply go outside, grab your pizza, and enjoy. Best of all for budget minded customers, you won’t need to tip! Even though you won’t need to tip there will likely be some added fee for delivery.

Van D’s Dutch Delights Desert Trailer. Built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks.

Due to all these major automation developments in the food and transportation space, it is inevitable that the food truck industry will also face opportunities and challenges depending on how you look at it. In this post, we offer our thoughts on how mobile food industry could be impacted by these changes.

What Will Food Trucks Look Like in 2025?

Let’s tackle the big one first. Are food truck jobs safe or will you be placing your order with a cyborg five years from now? First of all, the majority of food truck businesses are owner operated. As a result this is going to be a decision on whether or not a machine makes sense for their particular business. Some machines could help business owners cut out routine tasks, but the investment also needs to make sense from a business perspective. If it’s more cost effective to hire a part-time employee that’s the path most food truck owners will stick to the status quo.

Here’s an example of restaurant automation in action from the Pasadena based burger joint CaliBurger. The robot shown below is able to work side-by-side with a human and cook burgers that are made to order. According to reports, the robot named “Flippy” can cook well done, medium, toast buns and remove food from the grill when ready. As you can see though the machine still needs assistance of living, breathing employee to assemble a burger.

It’s easy to see how this type of technology could help reduce the amount of labor and make the job of running a food truck easier for employees, but we are still very far away from a employee-less food truck.

The part of food truck automation that is likely much closer is driving from point A to point B. If the operator of a food truck didn’t need to drive, they could potentially be doing other administrative and sales type work with this downtime. Operating a food truck requires a lot of coordination to make the business work. Most vendors are regularly staying in contact with catering customers or ordering supplies for weekend service.

Once the vehicle arrives at it’s destination, however, there are still tasks that will be more complex to automate at the food truck level. For example, supplies and ingredients must be loaded onto the truck daily. This could be a complex task to instruct the machine on how much product is needed to place on the vehicle, where certain ingredients should be stored, and of course all the prep work that goes into preparing a truck for service.

How Close Is This Reality?

At the end of the day, automation will impact the food truck industry employment in some ways. But any major staffing reductions are likely more than 10 years away. Further, the cost of automating a food truck is unclear at this time. Automating foodservice work with machines only makes sense as long as it is economically beneficial for the owner of the business. Similar to the personal computer industry in the 80s these machines will likely be costly and potentially become obsolete quickly. Many small business owners will want to sit on the sidelines for the first few years the technology is available.

For the time being, jobs in the food truck industry are safe and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Still, it will be fascinating to see how the food truck industry changes in the future due to it’s position sitting in the middle of two sectors that are becoming more automated: transportation and foodservice.

Take The Food Truck Operators Survey from the U.S. Chamber Foundation

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

Are you a food truck operator with concerns about regulations or industry challenges? The U.S. Chamber Foundation wants to hear from you. You can respond to their 10-minute online survey by clicking the green take survey button on this page.

The goal of this survey is for the organization to better understand the regulatory challenges that operators face. These understand challenges are often unique to each city, which makes blanket legal food truck recommendations more difficult. What may be a huge issue in Chicago, may not be the same issues faced in Washington D.C. due to local code.

These are a couple examples of issues the survey wants to identify and address:

Operations Restrictions – Within the city of Boston, food trucks can only legally operate between the hours of 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. This leaves out a lot of potentially valuable vending hours that mobile food units do not have the opportunity to capture. In some cities, vendors rely on the bar closing rush as their primary means of sales. This is not possible in Boston and stymies growth for operators.

Strange Size Restrictions –   The city of Madison, Wisconsin, is well known for their unique size restrictions with a maximum foot print of 10 feet by 12 feet for all food cart vendors. This had led to a style of food cart builds makes Downtown Madison one of a kind. On the flip side, the size restrictions have also limited the types of food that can be served from these units. Some food concepts require more space too cook and these restrictions can limit entrepreneurial endeavors.

Taste of Jamaica Trailer in Madison, WI. Photo Credit: PublicHealthMDC.com

Survey Says….   

This survey has just over 20 total questions to respond to. The survey kicks off with straight-forward questions about your business that will not require much time or research on your end to complete.  What’s the name of your business? How many employees do you have? How long have you been in business and basic contact information including your email address is requested. These mostly fill-in-the-blank questions make up the initial 25% of the survey.

After the first section is complete, you will be prompted to respond to queries about regulations on a scale between one and five. One means that the regulations in question are “Very Unreasonable.” With a five being assigned to anything you feel is “Very Reasonable” as a vendor. Below is a sample of the questions you will be prompted to answer in this section:

  • How reasonable are local vehicle safety and hazard prevention requirements for food trucks?
  • How reasonable are local employment requirements for food trucks?
  • How reasonable are local zoning requirements for food trucks?
  • How reasonable are local proximity restrictions for food trucks?
  • How reasonable are local insurance requirements for food trucks?

If you have experienced pain points as an operator in any of the areas listed above, please take the survey now and share your feedback. One of the nice aspects of this survey is that you can also request that your business name not be shared so that you can feel free to respond truthfully and without worry about local regulators identifying you as the respondent.

In 2015, food trucks brought in $1.2 billion in sales. This number is expected to top $2 billion before the end of 2017. With these growth projections it’s clear food truck laws need to be reevaluated in many areas to ensure this industry continues to thrive.

Is it Possible to Serve Beer and Alcohol from a Food Truck?

Is it possible to start a bar food truck that serves beer, wine, or hard alcohol? The simple answer is that in most situations you won’t be able to. Liquor licenses are determined on both the state and city level. As a result, you will need to look into your state and city laws to determine if this is an option for you. With that being said here are some things to consider if you’re in the planning stages of starting a food truck that serves alcohol and the reasons why accomplishing this goal will be difficult.

There are a couple reasons getting a mobile liquor license will be a challenge. First, most counties have a limited number of licenses that they can grant each year. If you live in California for example, after successfully completing your application, you will be placed into a lottery to receive your license. According to this report, there were 25,000 applicants for a liquor license and a total of just 25 new licenses would be approved. Depending on the municipality you plan to operate the wait time may not be as long as with this example.

The second challenge unique to mobile food units is that a liquor license must be submitted for a specific location. Each location has its own set of unique zoning requirements. As a mobile drink vending unit, you would probably like to be able to take advantage of your mobility right? With the existing laws, you would need to have a different license for each location you planned to serve. With liquor licenses starting at $12,000 it won’t make financial sense to operate your business this way.

beer truck

Example of a beer serving truck in Germany. Photo Credit: Pinterest

How this Concept Could Work in Your Area

You will still need to confirm your operations are on the up-and-up with the local municipalities with each of these examples, but in some situations you may be able to acquire a food truck with the intent of serving alcohol. Here are a few scenarios where a food truck that serves alcohol could work:

  • If you currently own or manage a golf course, you may be able to use a mobile food unit to serve alcohol on the course.
  • If you already own an establishment such as a brewery, you may be able to serve food and beverages from the vehicle while on your property.
  • Special event or temporary licences: Events like rock-and-roll concerts often have temporary permits that can be acquired to serve at a specific event.
  • Want the look of a food truck, but don’t actually plan to move it? If you have a permanent location it will make the process of obtaining a license much easier.

Basic Steps to Getting a Liquor License

Step 1: Determine type of liquor license you need: Beer and wine VS liquor licensee. Many areas have less stringent rules for businesses that only plan to serve beer and wine versus hard alcohol or mixed drinks. Depending on the concept your planning to launch.

On-sale or off-sale: If you plan to serve drinks at your location an on-site license will be needed. If you would like to sell 6-packs of beer for enjoyment at home you will need an off-sale license.

Step 2: Contact Information for State Liquor Licensing Authority. These are the entities that will understand the specifics of registering for a license in your area.

Step 3: Complete License Applications. In some situations, it may make sense to review this license with a legal professional to ensure you understand everything that is being required.

Step 4: Completed Business Plan. You will need to complete a business plan that demonstrates how you plan to use the liquor licenses and what type of sales volume you expect to generate with the business.

Step 5: Money for fees. In many scenarios you will need to pay in excess of $10,000 to get started so make sure this expense is accounted for within your business plan.

How to Get a Liquor License Video

Do the Cottage Food Laws Apply to Food Trucks?

In 2013, a bill passed called the cottage food laws. These laws made it legal to sell small amounts of food using a home-based kitchen. While not all types of food businesses can be opened with the help of a cottage food law, the new law could create opportunities for you as a food truck vendor as well.

canned-foods

The cottage food industry is continuing to grow.

In a nutshell the cottage food laws were created to make it easier for micro-food businesses to get started. At the time of writing the maximum gross revenue a cottage food business can generate is $50,000 during any one calendar year. If you’re an established vendor this restriction will make the entity not worth pursuing. However, if you’re just getting started in the mobile food business or only want to operate the business part-time during the summer months for extra cash this could be a viable way to start the business even if you don’t plan to operate this way permanently. This could also work well if you have a BBQ trailer that you plan to use on weekends only or a hotdog cart. When the business gets to the point of surpassing the $50,000 threshold you can always change the business entity to something like an LLC when the time is right.

One important point is that these cottage food laws vary depending on the state you live. Jennifer Lewis of SmallFoodBiz.com has created a helpful resource that can point you in the right direction for figuring out the laws in your state. If you happen to reside in California, FoodStarter.com offers the most straight forward explanation of the laws. Forrager.com also does a nice job laying out all the requirements in California.

Key Limitations

From a food truck operator perspective there are two key limitations that you should keep in mind before considering this type of a license.

Revenue Restrictions: Most states will limit the amount of gross revenue you can make per year to $50,000. This makes it difficult to turn this into a full-time business. It is designed more as a way to supplement income or start a food business with less financial barriers to entry. If your goal is to grow a big business this entity is not appropriate.

County: In many areas the law states that you must sell food only in the county it was produced. This could be a major restriction if you operate a concession trailer since you’ll be limited further on where you can vend.

Cottage Food Law: Licensing Requirements

Although one of the goals of cottage food laws is to make it easier for artisan vendors to sell their food there are some common sense requirements that these business owners must have to operate legally.

Food Handler Training: To start a cottage food business you will need the right safety training. In many situations acquiring your food handler card will accomplish this goal. The requirements will differ by county, but this is a great opportunity to learn ways to make your food safer, prevent cross-contamination or food-borne illnesses. Some districts like Riverside County in California may even allow you to complete the course online from the comfort of your home.  The fee to get your license is usually reasonable and will run you between $25 – $50 on average.

You will also need to select the class of operation you plan to run. In most situations, a food truck or cart could operate under the “Class A” distinction since most sales will be done at events.

“Class A” Cottage Food Operation: This is what you will need to acquire if you have a truck. This allows you to sell directly to consumers at events like farmer’s markets.

“Class B” Cottage Food Operation: If you want to sell your food online or at a retail location this is the classification is what you will need to acquire.

Bottom line if your goal is to dip your toes into food entrepreneurship the cottage food industry can be a great way to accomplish the goal. You won’t get rich, but it will allow to supplement your income while perfecting your recipes.

More Reading on this Topic:

Cottage Food Laws: Bake and Sell From Home via MoneySideofLife.com

This article does not constitute legal advice. Please consult your county for up-to-date cottage food laws that are applicable to your situation / region. 

Should Your Food Truck Use UberEats for Meal Delivery?

The technology transportation company Uber has already disrupted the taxi and transportation industry. Previously, taxis could charge pretty much whatever they wanted, provide bad customer service, and still operate a profitable business. That was until companies like Uber and Lyft entered the space, bringing in not only price competition but usually faster and better service. Now, Uber has its sight set on disrupting home food delivery the same way they did transportation.

ubereats-burger

Have food delivered to your door with UberEats.

If you’re not familiar with the Uber, here’s how the platform works. An Uber customer will download and app to their phone and create a profile that is connected to the credit card. When the customer is in need of a ride, they are able to open the app and see a map of drivers operating in their area. Then they schedule a ride pickup though the app. Payments are made within the Uber-app to the drivers after they’ve successfully completed a trip. The food delivery service called UberEats works much the same way.

Uber users can select the EAT button located in the upper right hand part of their app to switch over to UberEats if they want food delivery instead of a ride. Although UberEats was technically rolled out in 2014 it is still a fairly new product and not yet available in all cities yet. Similar to the ride-sharing service Uber, it will likely become available across all major metro areas in the United States within the next 12 – 18 months. Click here to find out if UberEats is currently available in your city.

How Much Do UberEats Driver’s Make?

Drivers for UberEats get paid $3 per delivery and make between $10 – $20 per hour. This does not include cash tips that are offered to the drivers that could substantially increase the hourly wage. You must be at least 19-years of age to drive for Uber, have a valid drivers license, a clean driving record, and own a vehicle with the model year 1996 or newer. You’ll need a much newer car if you want to drive for other ride-sharing apps so this is a good opportunity to individuals that wanted to earn extra income, but weren’t able to due to the age of their vehicle. Learn more about the requirements for UberEats drivers here.

How Your Food Truck Can Be Eligible for UberEats Delivery

If you already own a food truck, right now could be a great time to enroll in UberEats for your food truck. If you’re interesting in getting registered for your food truck or restaurant you can complete the interest form. We believe the time is right to get enrolled in this food delivery service if it’s available in your area. Since this technology and service is so new you have the opportunity to be one of the first 10 food trucks within your city available on the app. Since it will take awhile for other food truck owners to get involved in the service, you could be developing a customer base through UberEats months or even years ahead of your competitors. Here are a few other smart reasons to join:

Increased Revenue: UberEats estimates that the average restaurant is able to generate an additional $6,400 in sales per month that use their app. That adds up to about $75,000 in additional sales per year. While there are a lot of unique factors that will go into how much money you’re food truck is able to generate through the app, the potential revenue number is not insignificant.

Advertising: Paying for traditional advertising in local newspapers or television is not only expensive, but it can be almost impossible to measure how well it’s working. By joining a platform like UberEats you are essentially getting free advertising in front of the local users of the app.

Not a Coupon:  One of the big complaints of technology based promotions for restaurants and food trucks in recent years is that it is all discount or coupon based like Groupon. Many restaurant owners have found that marketing on these websites or using coupons does not attract the type of customer they’re looking for. The nice thing about UberEats is that it is not designed to attract customers that are only looking for deals and not interested in paying full price for their meal. This offers restaurants a better marketing option than was previously available.

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