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?catering trucks/mobile kitchens?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, all - seems like forever since I've been on site here! We're all moved in - mostly at least!

I'm thinking of getting a catering/mobile kitchen truck as a business here, and wondered if others had experience or suggestions?

-To revamp my kitchen to meet standards, it would involve more money than I"m willing to invest at this time! A truck that could be parked in the back yard and be 'health dept. approved' would solve that problem!

-The area i'm in is absolutely booming with new business buildings and hospital/medical center complexes - great money for breakfasts and lunch!

-I'd have (again) an 'approved' kitchen from which to work small catering gigs - note- big gatherings have never been my 'thing'; I like smaller parties and gatherings.

Negatives

- I'd be married to the truck!

-Can't get food deliveries to the house, a la the 'Homeowner's Association' rules.

Again, thoughts are much appreciated, as I'm still in the very, very early stages of planning this.

It's good to be back - I missed you all!:)
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. M. F. K. Fisher
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Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. M. F. K. Fisher
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post #2 of 10
Check out some of the film catering operations for tips & advice.
One things for sure ..no evening work.
If you get a good pitch you will do well.
Weather & climate are big factors though.
Licenses & location are important.
Fairs,trade shows,industrial,office etc.
Speed of service important too.

what food do you have in mind.
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Check out some of the film catering operations for tips & advice.

--------Charleston's getting to be a big film town, so could be fun!


One things for sure ..no evening work.


--------------Yay!

If you get a good pitch you will do well.

-------------Hubbie's a writer, will help with flyers, etc.

Weather & climate are big factors though.

-----------Charleston, SC - can you ask for anything better?!!

Licenses & location are important.

--------Groan - seems there's a city AND county licence and taxes.

Locations -

--------New office complexes and medical complexes. Plus the chance to do small at -home type parties out of the truck.

Speed of service important too.

-------------Mostly pre-prepped stuff; I don't want to be slinging burgers and handling change!!! I'd need to hire someone to help out right away, and want to keep $$$ down at first.

what food do you have in mind

----------Breakfasts - wraps, the usual muffins and such; maybe a grits cup (it IS the south!).

Coffeebreak - some healthy snacks, yogurt parfaits, granola, fruit cups, with the usual.

Lunch - Salads, wraps, sandwichs; I'd like to do both some 'low fat' stuff and some vegetarian stuff, along with some different sandwich ideas; and a soup or two every day.

Thanks for the feedback - it's great to have someone to bounce ideas around with!
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. M. F. K. Fisher
Reply
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. M. F. K. Fisher
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post #4 of 10
Mon plaisir mon petit poussin, bon chance,
Anytime

ps MFK Fisher ...discovered her recently, she is great
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #5 of 10
Hi there marmalade,
Welcome back and good luck with your new venture.
Let us know how it goes...
Danielle
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a a trail.
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Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a a trail.
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post #6 of 10
You are so lucky! I love Charleston! I don't work out of a truck, but my business is delivery. At night (I'm sooo tired of nights!) we mostly serve college students. But in the day, it's hospitals, hospitals, hospitals!! If you could get in on that where you are, I think that would be great for you. The medical field isn't getting any smaller, only growing. I can tell you from experience where I am at, they order the heck out of big salads. That seems ideal for the kind of set up you are considering. The food cost ain't bad either:)

As far as suggestions, I don't know SC's particular regulations as far as Health Department. I guess they are similar pretty much everywhere. I'm sure you know what you need to do there to comply. I would check into Charleston's zoning regulations. I don't know how it is there, but where I am, they make it kind of difficult to run a food related business from home. But then your kitchen wouldn't really be at home would it? In my town, catering vehicles are regulated by saying that the vehicle has to have a health dept. approved kitchen as a base. In other words, I can do a catering job out of my truck on the other side of town as long as I have a 3 comp. sink, etc. somewhere. But you are talking about having it all health dept. approved within the vehicle, right? Interesting. It seems to me you should be able to make something like that work. One thing I might worry about is that if you find an unconventional way to do things that the business license/ health dept. people haven't thought of before - even if your way of doing it complies with the letter of the law - they might still say "no you can't do that" because there is no physical address for the business (or some other silly reason). I hope they don't do that for you. It sounds like a good idea.

Surely there is a local distributor in the area where you could pick up necessary items rather than having them delivered. That could solve the homeowner's assoc. rules. It seems to me that would fit well into your idea - since you are on the road anyway.

I'd like to see this work for you! Keep updating your progress, okay?

RF
"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
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"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
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post #7 of 10

Another Idea

I was talking to my roommate about this just now. He thought your topic was interesting, too. His suggestion- If the city/county/health dept. gives you flack about a physical address, perhaps you could look into renting some inexpensive industrial property- a small warehouse or something- to work out of.

Just brainstorming,
RF
"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
Reply
"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
Reply
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
HI, Rita - Thanks for the support and ideas!

Yes, I know the hospitals are a gold mine! And, there are two new huge medical office complexes right in my area which I plan to 'mine'!

Hadn't thought of an 'address', but I don't see why the home address wouldn't work for tax/billing purposes; after all, the truck would be 'parked' on our property, in the back. (Where the previous owners parked their boat, so I don't think I'll get flack from the HOA:D ).

We're waiting right now for the closing on our house in Jersey, to see how much we have to invest in this; right now, closing is set for Dec. 15. I have to admit, I haven't been doing too much solid research til I know exactly what I'm going to have cashwise; I'd love to start this venture without a loan! I've seen used mobile kitchen trucks (not just the 'hot dog' trucks, but the complete kitchen w/fridge/freezer/oven/grill) on the net anywhere from $23,000 to $75,000 new. Equipment wise, I have a lot of my own that I could use to start out with, and replace when I start to turn over some profit.

For produce suppliers, I plan on using as many local farmers as I can - there are wonderful farmer's markets here, open from April through November. And at least in the beginning, I'll probably use Costco for paper goods, and dry good supplies.

I'm in the mind set now, that I'm excited about the idea, but need to see that check in my hand before I start doing the 'real' planning! If we're able to pull this off, I figure it'll be a great Christmas present!
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. M. F. K. Fisher
Reply
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. M. F. K. Fisher
Reply
post #9 of 10
Hey honey! Ya know where Fred used to park his boat before he sold his house? Well the new neighbors have a shinny thing out there and they seem to sneak into it in the early morning and that thing is rocking back and forth with the lights on inside.
I tell you, I can't figure people out! BTW did you take cooking lessons? If that's breakfast, it smells great!:D

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #10 of 10
Hi Marmalade,
Good luck with the closing of your Jersey place. Real estate is such fun, isn't it, right up until the end! :( :confused: :rolleyes:

Once you get your check and start your planning, I doubt if you'll get many problems with city or county tax as far as getting a business license. I still worry if the Health Department might be ornery, though - not because what you are proposing to do would be unsanitary, but because health departments have a way of being ornery sometimes seemingly just because they can. I know an environmental scientist in my state who is a health inspector. If you want, I could pose the question to him just to see what he says about it. Even though the laws vary from state to state, he might be able to provide some info you could use as a starting point. Let me know if you want me to do that.

RF
"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
Reply
"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
Reply
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