Practical Tips

How do you pick a good employee to work in your food truck?

The owner of Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in Manhattan recently told Nation’s Restaurant News that not only do his employees have to be “able to steam fresh dumplings, prep all the fresh sides like the green salads and sesame noodle salad, and be able to drive in New York City,” but they also must know how to “handle hot weather days, cold weather days and being harassed by other vendors. Basically, they set up the entire store in the morning and tear it down at night. They also have to be good at not getting tickets. They have to feel very confident in troubleshooting when the truck goes down because so many things can go wrong that we don’t have checklists like we do in the restaurant. Instead, we just tell them to leave the truck how they’d like to pick it up.”

How do you select a lucrative location?

In a three-part article entitled “Behind the scenes with an L.A. Food Truck,” posted on Serious Eats, the owner of the Manila Machine reveals that it is sometimes necessary to send a “staging car” to hold a good spot and that revealing your secrets on Twitter may put you at a disadvantage. “Are there other restaurants in the area? Can you assume that the people in this area will want try your food for the first time? Are there any cops around that may shoo you away even though you are following the letter of the law? Are there other food trucks in the area that may not welcome your presence?” vendors must ask themselves.

Urban Desert or Food Court of the Future?

Empty lot

“It’s an interesting, fun idea to activate some space that’s underused. That’s what makes a city,” says Simon Pastucha at the L.A. Planning Department’s Urban Design Studio.

Read more here and see how cities pockmarked with empty parking lots and dead car dealerships can transform bleak spots into profitable hubs.

Hopefully, “before” and “after” pictures will convince the powers that be and the owners of potentially profitable properties that they need to get behind the concept of semi-permanent open-air food courts.