Food Trucks: The Ultimate Flexibility for a Skilled Chef

The opportunities for food trucks are infinite. A quality chef, a creative menu, and a fun marketing strategy are keys to a successful food truck business.

The first requirement for a great food truck is becoming a properly trained chef. At Northwest Culinary Institute, for example, our 9-month training program is focused on technique, flavor pairings, presentation, sanitation, culinary math, and professionally guided practice. These skills are a huge asset for high-end restaurants, cruises, or tourist hot spots. The success of these businesses depends on the quality of work put forth by their respective teams.

At Northwest Culinary, we work closely with companies these like Aramark or Cool Works. These employers trust us to suggest highly qualified graduates for their businesses. YOUR Skills = THIER Value. These jobs are a fantastic option for many chefs who want to enjoy exciting destination jobs or gain experience in a bigger kitchen. But with a food truck, YOUR Skills = YOUR Value. That means you get to decide how to use your unique culinary passions and you get to keep the profit. You make the menu, you make the rules, you decide the location and the hours. And best of all your overhead is low and your options are extremely flexible. If you want to try something new with your location, menu or brand, it would be a fairly easy and inexpensive change compared to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Food trucks give you flexible service offerings. It is a low-cost way to use the same asset (food truck) for different revenue options like catering, food delivery, to-go items, or even a dine-near experience. For example, using portable tables, chairs, lighting and heaters. You can get as innovative as you want. You get to dream up the experience you want to provide for your customers.

Food trucks also provide flexible location options.  Because they are mobile, you can easily set up shop anywhere depending on the season or needs of your community. You can test and grow depending on what works for your area. It may be best if you keep your truck in one location most of the time and keep consistent hours.  Or it may suit you better to hop around popular sites.

One of the most important strategies to remember is to go where the people are. Parties, weddings, concerts, hospitals, shopping centers, farmer’s markets, colleges, oil fields, pools, beaches, parks, gyms, schools, office buildings, etc.

People often get tired of the same old restaurant options. To have a truck show up outside of the office just in time for lunch or before heading home to feed the family dinner would be welcomed. Can you imagine the simple joy and excitement “food truck day” would bring? Some communities in Nashville, TN and Washington State have gotten their food truck businesses together to support one another. They have even created national database-like websites and apps where truck owners can post their menu, location, and schedule. Customers can easily use the app to find their favorite trucks and even order right from the app. This would make it easy to do something like a community tour with a “guest food truck of the week,” stopping at local hospitals, college campus’ or job sites.

Food trucks could also easily provide a fund raising opportunity for clubs and organizations. Or a be fun place for high school students to grab a snack after school with their friends. Some trucks even set up just outside of neighborhoods. In Washington, they have a website dedicated to food trucks in specific neighborhoods. This makes it convenient for the food truck operators as well as the customer and of course, keeps spending local. Which is always a good thing.

The flexibility food trucks have in the culinary industry is unmatched and can be extremely fun and rewarding for creatives.