Here’s a great article by Kirsten Reneau from The Telegram on why food trucks offer a unique way to do business….
“Once just a staple for carnivals and fairs, more and more food trucks are driving their way into the fabric of everyday life in West Virginia.
Bruce Manning is the owner and operator of Let’s Taco Bout It, a food truck that has been active in Morgantown for about two years.
“Since 2008, I have wanted a food truck / trailer or cart, but I never had enough funds to pull the trigger. In March of 2016, I had a little savings and thought it’s worth a shot,” he said.
He bought the truck after seeing an ad on Craigslist, and transformed it over a time frame of several months, adding serving windows, a triple sink, a hand-washing sink water system, ran electric, installed equipment and hand-painted the vehicle.
The food truck began showing up around Morgantown in 2016. While the business mainly operates late at night, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. on High Street, Manning and his food truck have also been seen at West Virginia University’s Fall Fest and other events.
However, it hasn’t always been easy. Manning has dealt with engine problems, bad transmissions and must work around employees’ regular job schedules and cold weather, which can make it “pretty frustrating sometimes.”
However, there are also several benefits to having a food truck rather than a regular restaurant, he said.
“I think food trucks have increased in popularity because you can start a restaurant for a fraction of the cost of a brick and mortar,” Manning said.
“It also gives you the freedom to change locations if you’re not making money at your current spot,” he said.
There are certain rules food trucks must follow, depending on the city: In Morgantown, they can only set up in designated parking spots during certain times, or on private property.
“It’s a fun business, but it has its ups and downs and there are many hurdles to jump along the way,” Manning said.
Jason Burnside, a Harrison County resident, said he enjoys the creativity of food trucks.
“I think it’s a great small business opportunity, and if they offer something different, I think everyone should try it,” he said. “I love the idea of being able to catch lunch at a food truck.”
Brian Coleman started his food truck, Heavenly Hoagies, after feeling called by God to bring food to oil and gas workers in 2011.
“I took all my retirement and vacation (money), and pulled a cooker behind a truck and that’s how I started,” he said.
While working, people would watch him, which soon grew into a local following. Soon enough, he was able to obtain a truck, and then a second.
“We got our first sit-down place, and I had to hire and place people, but I still felt like God called me to be out with people,” he said. “I don’t like being inside four walls, so my wife and I continued to do the food truck. One sit-down place became two, which became three.”
However, after dealing with some personal issues in 2014, Coleman decided to close down his sit-down restaurants and refocus on the food truck, as well as catering.
“I feel like I need to be out among people,” he said. “When I’m in the trailer, I can take the order, interact, cook, do everything through a window, rather than being in a kitchen in the back. So we’re a food truck and catering only from this point forward.”
He said that since 2011, he’s seen growth in the industry.
“When I started, I was in Marion, Harrison, Wetzel, Taylor, and Mon Counties. There may have been one or two small trucks in Mon, but there weren’t any in this area,” he said. “Maybe because they say things on TV, and people already are doing it and being successful. There’s a need. They think, ‘We don’t have anything like that here, so maybe we’ll start something.’”
The executive director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Dr. John Deskins, said that one reason food trucks are unique is because they transcend typical issues that can come up in retail.
“In certain types of retail, especially food, you hear location, location, location. It’s everything. So a food truck can break that chain,” he said. “It can move to where people are. It can be at the best location as it evolves from season to season or morning to night, and that gives them one pretty cool advantage.”
While he’s not sure how the food truck trend will do in the future, he’s excited to see the business change.
“My mantra for the past few years has been about the importance of supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, and it’s cool to see them trying new things and figuring out what customers like and what works,” he said.
Food trucks have become so popular in the state that there is a festival dedicated to them in Putnam County.”
To read more please visit the site – follow the link above.
Have a great day!