Mary Shown: With South Bend’s friendlier rules, local food truck market is revving up [South Bend Tribune, Ind.]
The trucks, often having business names and personas plastered across the sides, have parked along city streets primarily during lunch hours the past few weeks. Most are returning vendors with some new, but familiar faces, peppered in along the way.
The surge in activity isn’t by accident. In 2017,
“I like doing the food truck and seeing people’s happy faces,” Miller said. “But every time we go out there, it’s a different situation. It’s a lot of work to load (the truck) up and clean it up. But we just try to give the same service and try to be better every time.”
The food truck has been so successful in
“We are desperately looking for a space to go into,” Miller said. “We want to start out with something small that we can grow into.”
For local Mexican restaurant-chain Hacienda, it’s the opposite. Last fall, Hacienda launched its truck, Tattoo Taco, as executives there recognized a few years earlier the need to squeeze into the mobile food service market. They invested $15,000 into the truck that once served as a prison transport vehicle. This year will be the first full year customers can take advantage of its offerings.
Generally, the truck sells three different tacos — blackened avocado, chicken club and apricot pork — along with Hacienda’s locally famous chips and salsa. But Hacienda officials envision the truck will eventually offer more.
“We are working on different tacos options, but also stick to what is working,” said
Tweaking menus with a blend of old and new options has been a tactic for many food trucks.
“If we got rid of the fried chicken, I think there were would a riot,” said catering and food truck manager
Szczechowski said the the truck has been primarily used for catering and special events, so it’s unlikely you will see the truck parked in downtown
Catering to special events and businesses is something most food truck owners are trying to do.
“The goal is to do large orders of pizza,” Rulli said. “Our truck is going to be up for booking and catering.”
“We are getting a lot of requests by businesses,” said food truck chef
The 20-foot food truck takes up two parking spaces in downtown
Weather plays a large part in food truck business. Hacienda’s Jackson said dealing with weather has been the biggest learning curve for the food truck business.
“Weather and location are the key things,” Jackson said. “I think we did one thing where it was rainy and we did half the sales we could have. But when the weather is nice, that is our busier time. One day we were outside on a beautiful day and we underestimated how busy we would be and we could’ve sold so much more. Now we know when it’s a nice day to stock up.”
Only adding to what seems to be a plethora of food trucks, other options available in our area include The Wiener Shack, SmoqTruq, Four Winds Food Truck and On The Money BBQ If you have a favorite food truck that was not mentioned here, feel free to reach out and let me know!
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Mary Shown’s column runs every Wednesday and Sunday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 574-235-6244. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/marketbasketsbt and at Twitter.com/marketbasketSBT. Sign up for the weekly Market Basket newsletter at www.southbendtribune.com/newsletters.
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