Follow the progress of the building of a food truck.
We started with the question: Do we 1) Buy a brand new food truck, 2) Buy a used, fully loaded truck, or 3) Buy a food truck-like type of truck and build the kitchen?
We went with option 3) Buying a food truck-like type of truck and upfitting it with the right kitchen equipment. Option 1 did not meet our budget (anywhere near it!). Option 2 was difficult to locate (through internet searches) and the type of equipment was not always matching what we heard from conversations with potential renters.
Then the next big question: Do we do the upfitting ourselves or contract it out. I had romantic visions of welding (thanks to the KCC Miami Education Barge project!) but just couldn’t quite wrap my head around the time, tools and – least importantly – the skills needed. KCC encourages risk and even failing at certain tasks but this one seemed just a bit too much of a stretch.
So, . . .
We’ve contracted with Food Truck Builders-Extraordinaire, Chameleon Concessions, to plan and complete the actual build out of what will be NEW FLAVORS FOOD TRUCK! (We can’t say enough about Chameleon and DNTBLNK. Check out the blog for more about the professionalism, customer service and expertise. And they are really, really nice folks.)
As mentioned, we did a lot of research on the type of equipment needed in the kitchen.
We talked with potential renters from our Somali community, to businesses that had mobile food service and with the local health inspectors.
Here’s a preliminary sketch based on the equipment we thought we needed: pete-haga-sketch-09062016
We thought we located a suitable truck right away. It was the right size, budget and was at a car lot nearby but . . . it had a bad inspection and our folks just weren’t comfortable with its long-term potential. So, we kept looking.
Then we found truck number 2: A 2009 Chevy Workhorse. Boy is she pretty!!!
It turned out it needed a new floor. It was full of holes and with the new coating, it not only looks great but is much more functional. pete-haga-sketch-09062016
This is her after the new awning door.
And here are the first couple of shots of where the magic will happen. It is outfitted with a brand new hood, refrigerator, water system, propane system, back door, awning, floor (as mentioned), and serving area. We agreed to ‘scratch and dent’ on some of the equipment like the fryer, stove/oven, grill and sandwich prep area as it helped us to meet budget. Mark from Chameleon did a great job knowing when to go with new or otherwise and helping us meet the budget.
And here it is after the 320 mile drive (55 mph – 6.5 hours total) in below-zero temps, and seeing my breath but not feeling my toes. It’s pictured in the driveway because my lovely, smart, and understanding wife has a sense of humor. She said under no circumstances would it go in the driveway. So I parked it in the driveway. Just for one night.
It now sits on a storage lot, awaiting temps to raise to at least above freezing (it was -12 without windchill when I parked it.)
The next steps will be the final branding/painting of the truck.
We have had few conversations about this already, particularly about getting rid of the yellow paint. But, honestly, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Big Ugly Yellow Truck is making us think it may be a significant aspect of “our brand.”
This whole process is simply wondrous.
More to come.