I’ll be the first to admit, I never wanted to own a food truck. My dreams consisted of brick and mortar, a store on the corner, a plot of land, not a mobile masterpiece. However, as a young entrepreneur, I quickly realized I had a giant problem: unlike Randy Moss, I didn’t have “straight cash homey.”
Building a restaurant is expensive. You need grease traps, a hood, fans, exhaust systems, make-up air units... etc. etc. etc. You get the point. I began to estimate that it would take at least $250,000, and likely substantially more, to build from the ground up. At the age of 24, and as the proud owner of nothing, not a single investor dared to finance my unproven dream. As I sit here today, I thank God everyday that I never received that loan.
To continue with the timeline from the previous post, after Christmas I arrived back to Denver to pick up where I left off. Undeterred, I began to search Craigslist for trucks. To my surprise, you literally can find anything there. Where there is a buyer, Craigslist has a seller. Through Craigslist I discovered Larry Perez and Denver Restaurant Equipment. As I sat down with Larry I began envisioning the perfect truck. Larry then built the interior of the beast now known as the “Cheese Mobile.”
As with all progress though, there’s room for improvement. Looking back, I now realize that I should have had some help in the design. When I sat there with Larry, I was like a young kid in a candy shop. First I wanted the chocolates, then the licorice, and then the sprinkled candy. My eyes lit up looking at the different parts and pieces that would become the greatest macaroni and cheese production this world has ever seen. Nevertheless, while the parts and pieces Larry put together make exquisite food, the workflow could certainly be improved. I missed opportunities to place the frying pans, sinks, cutting boards etc., in different places that would improve the food making economy. Lesson learned. What’s the good part of making these mistakes in a food truck? It won’t cost thousands to tear out and rearrange the interior like it would with a store.
That said, the exterior of the truck was a home run. I took my truck to PGI Wraps after designing the inside with Larry. I tried to explain to PGI my vision for the exterior. I think it went something like this: “YO! It’s the cheese machine, gonna rock the town and make Mac’n seen.” From that, and probably other far more helpful comments I made, PGI was able to design a masterpiece. Today as I look at the truck I am still blown away with how the exterior turned out!
It seems as though all things happen for a reason. I wasn’t prepared for a brick and mortar. Even more though, without being buried in debt, I am able to invest profits into improving the business. I constantly search to improve my recipe and the varieties of Mac’n I offer. I’ve also been able to invest in high quality employees who share my dream.
Stay tuned. Next week: “Where the Rubber Meets the Road. The Alzheimer’s Walk.”