The Best Cities in America to Start a Food Truck

So many chefs have had the idea of starting a food truck business at some point. While we stress that it is far from easy, there are some cities in America we’ve selected as being the best for food truck startups for various reasons.

Atlanta
Just a few years ago Atlanta food trucks weren’t really on the map. Food trucks have become such a popular choice for Atlanta chefs that it is difficult to find a used food truck for sale anywhere nearby. Expect to see a lot more new food truck brands in the next year or so but if you’re open to traveling out of state to buy your food truck you can get in before the rush and establish yourself early.

San Francisco
Even more of a challenge is finding a food truck for rent or a food truck for sale in San Francisco. The industry is well-developed and San Fran food truck patrons are loyal to their favorite brands. It can be a tricky city to start a food truck with the lack of used trucks and permitting rules, but if your food truck wins the heart of the people you will have it forever.

Portland
If you want to start a crazy comfort food truck with an artistic flair, you’ve come to the right place. One thing you can usually count on with Portland trucks is great food that is likely also organic and sustainable. If that’s your thing you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Speaking of which, Portland is also one of the friendliest cities to register a food truck. They even offer rush service for a nominal fee if you’re eager to get started.

Seattle
Another city that has expanded the food truck scene lately is Seattle. It’s no wonder that a city known for an outdoor market would be a great place to find food truck fare. Since new legislation was introduced in 2011, the process for starting a food truck business has been streamlined to encourage street vendors to set up shop. New food truck festivals pop up every year, including the recent Food Trucks For A Cause, which supports world hunger initiatives.

New York City

Despite having an extremely difficult permitting process (think taxi medallions), New York’s food trucks serve some of the best street food in the country and New Yorkers have embraced food trucks in recent years. These days nearly every cuisine is represented by NYC food trucks and you can sample the world on foot and without a reservation. It’s also one of the most popular cities for corporate food truck promotions.

Austin
This city was born to be a food truck hotspot. With a great music and art scene, good climate and an appreciation for both good barbecue and fine dining, the stars aligned for gourmet food trucks. SXSW is one of the best ways for new trucks to introduce themselves to the scene and many startup food trucks in the city rush to get up and running in time for their music festival debut.

Los Angeles
Where it all began. Not only did the City of Angels invent the gourmet food truck trend, it’s also home to more food trucks than any other city in America. Some of the most well-known food truck brands started here, including Kogi, Baby’s Badass Burgers and the Lobsta Truck. Even though there are a lot of trucks already on the streets there is a lot of love for street food in LA. Summer festivals like Abbot Kinney’s First Friday’s and Street Food Cinema attract record crowds. It’s even possible to lease a truck and get your own business started in a matter of weeks.

8 Things to Consider When You Lease or Rent Your Food Truck

foodtrucklawimageIf you’re not ready to get rid of your food truck but are no longer running your business, you’ll likely be considering renting your truck. Whether you are renting your truck for short or long term periods, there are quite a few things to think about:

1. Maintenance Schedule

It is typically the responsibility of the truck owner to handle the regular maintenance of the truck. Prior to renting we strongly suggest you work out a plan for the upkeep of the truck and where the work will be done. If you are drafting a lease agreement, be sure to separate the responsibility of the repairs due to wear and tear (i.e. oil changes) vs. damage caused by the lessee.

2. Insurance

It is up to you if you want to include the insurance on the food truck you are leasing. Renters often provide basic auto insurance and leave it to the lessee to obtain supplementary insurance if they wish to do so. Be sure to clearly define what you will and will not offer in the lease agreement.

3. Security Deposits

Even if insurance will cover any major damage to the truck, a security deposit can come in handy. It can be used to cover any unpaid traffic or parking violations, unpaid claim deductibles, or small repairs that may not warrant an insurance claim. It also helps to ensure renters take good care of your truck.

4. Mileage Limits

Including limits for mileage in your lease agreement helps ensure the truck will be kept local. Due to the weight of the kitchen, food trucks don’t usually do well with long haul travel. It’s up to you if you want to make exceptions for lessees who want to attend festivals and events out of town. If it is more than 50 miles we recommend shipping the truck via flatbed.

5. Alterations / Modifications

In most cases your renter will have chosen your truck because it has all the equipment he/she requires to operate. If you agree to allow modifications to the interior of the truck, be sure to check with your local health department. Changing the equipment may cause your current permits to be voided. Exterior modifications, like the installation of a graphic wrap, do not affect the permits of the truck but they can cause underlying paint damage. It’s a good idea to get a small deposit for paint touch-up if a wrap is to be installed. You can refund the money if the truck is returned with no external damage.

6. Licensing

Every city, county, and state have their own rules for licensing food truck businesses. Typically both a business license and a food truck-specific permit are required to operate. As the county operating permit is usually linked to the truck, truck owners usually take care of permits for the main county where the truck is used. Additional permits (for nearby counties or special zones) are left to the renter to secure.

7. Commissary / Parking

Some counties require that food trucks be registered with a licensed commissary. It’s a good idea to use a commissary even if it is not required by law. Commissaries are usually secured parking areas, you’ll have access to proper cleaning facilities and you typically have easy access to propane and ice to restock. This type of parking does have a cost and it may be one that your renter tries to avoid. It’s a good idea to discuss what you require for truck storage when it is not in use.

8. Lease Agreements

We always recommend you have any renter sign an agreement so that both parties can be protected and have a clear understanding of what is expected. If you’re serious about renting or leasing your food truck you can purchase a sample food truck lease and checklist for $99. This package is specific to the food truck industry and includes options for all the above categories.

If you’re looking for a place to list your truck for rent, check out foodtruckrental.com

For personal legal counsel and legal help relating to your food truck business, we recommend Hiller Counsel

Featured Food Truck Promotion: Shutterstock Premier #BrilliantBites Truck

Corporate Food Truck Promo Roadstoves Shutterstock    Corporate Food Truck Promo Roadstoves Shutterstock There were quite a few great corporate food truck promos in the summer of 2014 but there was one clear winner, in our humble opinion. Shutterstock Premier went all out with their #brilliantbites campaign, giving out tons of cool swag, including: notebooks, usbs, decals, magnets, and so much more, in addition to serving an array of authentic Los Angeles style street tacos. The two week campaign was a clear winner, with a well-planned route targeting production companies large and small to introduce their new high-end video library. The tacos were simple but delicious and guests regularly came back for seconds and thirds, allowing extra time for Corporate Food Truck Promo Roadstoves Shutterstocksocializing with the dynamic brand ambassadors from Shutterstock.

The campaign was tied-in to social media with the #brilliantbites hashtag, allowing anyone who posted an opportunity to win a GoPro.

The truck was provided and run by industry leader, Roadstoves.

Well done to everyone involved.

Jon Favreau’s Chef Movie May Be Coming To Your City This Weekend!

#ChefMovie rolls into ADDITIONAL CITIES THIS WEEKEND!

Find your theater here: http://openroadfil.ms/seechef

Buy tickets NOW: http://www.buycheftickets.com/

chef movie

U.S. Gov’t Supports Food Trucks

Milan-Expo-Food-Truck-300x178President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have announced their support for the U.S. Food Truck Industry at Expo Milan 2015, an international food exposition. 98 Countries so far are participating, and the U.S. has committed to creating a “Food Truck Nation” expo showcasing this new wave of homegrown creativity.

“Our program will showcase the uniquely American food truck experience taking hold across the United States as a representation of American diversity, innovation and entrepreneurship,” say the Friends of the U.S. Pavilion Milano 2015 (the Non-Profit charged with funding the project).

“Food truck experiences in the U.S. will lead up to Expo Milano, where ‘trucks’ will operate at the USA Pavilion and in the streets of Milan.”

The food trucks will be on equal footing with the U.S. pavilion’s other dining facility, the James Beard American Restaurant. This operation will be a “100-seat restaurant that will showcase top American culinary talent, beverages and other products, as well as a burger bar and beverage program to give Expo Milano visitor and VIPs a true taste of American Food 2.0.”

Read the complete Press Release here

Kogi Food Truck Makes List of Top LA Restaurants

KogiTruck2Kogi Food Truck Makes List of Top LA Restaurants

Pretty impressive for a food truck to be considered one of LA’s best restaurants. Congrats, Kogi BBQ

http://www.laweekly.com/squidink/2014/04/15/20-best-restaurants-in-los-angeles

Google Glass Explorer Story: Roy Choi

Jon Favreau’s Food Truck Themed Chef Movie Premieres at SXSW

We are so excited to see this much anticipated food truck movie. Congrats to Roy Choi for teaching filmmaker Jon Favreau how food trucks are done! #authentic

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“Jon Favreau’s wonderfully entertaining return to independent filmmaking works beautifully as our 2014 opening-night film, with his sharp and funny take on the world of food, artistry, and family in the age of social media,” said head of SXSW Film, Janet Pierson.

Read the rest of the article here

Food Truck Reading List

As the food truck culture further expands into the world of books, we will endeavour to bring to you some of our picks for the best in food truck literature. Found your own favorite food truck book? Send us a note and we may feature it next time! Happy reading everyone.

This week’s picks come to you from Los Angeles food truck company, Roadstoves.

truck food cookbookThe Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels

It’s the best of street food: bold, delicious, surprising, over-the-top goodness to eat on the run. And the best part is now you can make it at home. Obsessively researched by food authority John T. Edge, The Truck Food Cookbook delivers 150 recipes from America’s best restaurants on wheels, from L.A. and New York to the truck food scenes in Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, and more.

Roy Choi BookL.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food

Los Angeles: A patchwork megalopolis defined by its unlikely cultural collisions; the city that raised and shaped Roy Choi, the boundary-breaking chef who decided to leave behind fine dining to feed the city he loved—and, with the creation of the Korean taco, reinvented street food along the way.

Abounding with both the food and the stories that gave rise to Choi’s inspired cooking, L.A. Son takes us through the neighborhoods and streets most tourists never see, from the hidden casinos where gamblers slurp fragrant bowls of pho to Downtown’s Jewelry District, where a ten-year-old Choi wolfed down Jewish deli classics between diamond deliveries; from the kitchen of his parents’ Korean restaurant and his mother’s pungent kimchi to the boulevards of East L.A. and the best taquerias in the country, to, at last, the curbside view from one of his emblematic Kogi taco trucks, where people from all walks of life line up for a revolutionary meal.

Coolhaus BookCoolhaus Ice Cream Book: Custom-Built Sandwiches with Crazy-Good Combos of Cookies, Ice Creams, Gelatos, and Sorbets

From a beat-up postal van turned food truck, Coolhaus has rocketed to a national brand. Yahoo! called it “the best ice cream in America.” The inventive sandwiches, named after famous architects, are sold in supermarkets across the country, as well as from trucks in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and Dallas. Coolhaus has drawn accolades from the New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Time, and Good Morning America, to name a few, and from such celebrities as Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmel, and Alex Guarnaschelli.

Now the owners part with the recipes for their coolest creations, like the BuckMINTster Fuller (Dirty Mint Chip Ice Cream with Chocolate Chip Cookies) and the Frank Behry (Strawberry Gelato with Snickerdoodles). Daring flavors range from classic (Cookies and Sweet Cream), to boozy (Bourbon Manhattan), to vegan (Lychee Martini), and even savory (Fried Chicken and Waffle).

cart for a cause bookCart For A Cause Cookbook

Containing amazing recipes from L.A.’s Top Chefs. Proceeds Benefiting St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.

On-going charitable food truck raises money to provide meals to homebound seniors and below poverty families. We provide the turn-key solution and facilitate guest chefs from premier Los Angeles restaurants to donate food and staff each week. Participants include Nobu, Comme Ca, The Little Door, Animal, The Foundry, Dominick’s, along with corporate sponsors Lexis, Fiji, and POM. Its overwhelming success led to a COOK BOOK

This article is brought to you by RoadStoves.com, providing food trucks for sale and rent, as well as sales support, consultation, and advertising solutions to food truck owners and operators.

For food truck rentals in your area, check out FoodTruckRental.com.

What’s the best way to campaign for Emmy nominations? Themed Food Truck Promotions, of course!

House of cards food truckJust ask Netflix. The company recently promoted their acclaimed show “House of Cards” for Emmy consideration with a free lunch from a gourmet food truck for any eligible voter. As a clever tie-in to the show, the truck masqueraded as Freddy’s BBQ, a fictional barbeque restaurant frequented by the character Frank Underwood, played by Kevin House of cards food truckSpacey. The House of Cards food truck was not only a great success it is also an example of food truck advertising done right.

While not the first show to use a food truck promotion (HBO’s “Dexter” once used an ice cream truck and Netflix also previously set up frozen banana stands to promote Arrested Development), this particular food truck went the extra mile to impress. “I appreciate your vote,” adorned the rented food truck, custom designed by food truck industry leaders, Roadstoves, along with menacing images of Underwood and his wife, played by Robin Wright. They didn’t skimp on the fare, either, offering ribs from the Rollin’ Rib BBQ food truck and were said to have even made the occasional home delivery to certain voters.

Most importantly, the promotional food truck, along with other marketing House of cards food truckefforts, resulted in nine nominations overall. “House of Cards” also made Emmy Award history, for being the first digitally distributed series to earn a major nomination. Not bad for a 10 day food truck rental and a little bit of marketing know-how.

But did Netflix’ campaigning go too far with their food truck promo stunt? The TV academy currently has no rules or limitations in place. And even if it did, it is probably best answered by Robin Wright’s character on the show, Claire Underwood, “my husband doesn’t apologize, not even to me.”

Be sure to catch The 65th Primetime Emmy® Awards this Sunday and see how they fare.

Update:
Congratulations to “House of Cards” and David Fincher for the Best Directing win at the Emmys! “House of Cards” also won for Casting and Cinematography at the Creative Arts Emmys.