Food Trucks Pave the Way of Serving Pizzas

The pizza industry proves to be a tough business to keep up. More than the quality of pizzas, other factors such as dine-in and delivery services, marketing and staff training needs to be in check to make a pizza business thriving.

Moving up a notch in reaching out to customers are mobile pizza kitchens that had roamed about throughout the country.

Lloyd Helber of Pizza Cottage in Ohio relates how food trucks are the future of restaurant concepts. Attracting customers by making pizzas available anytime at any place is the perfect marketing tool for pizza restaurants. His food truck which is 36-foot van fitted with an oven and griddle, is an upscale marketing tool. Aside from getting to different locations from time to time, the food truck is also being rented at corporate events and social gatherings. Although being pressed for challenges, Helber is more fascinated by a food truck’s advantages.

This has been seconded by Josh Holderness, co-owner of Gusto Pizza Company in Des Moines, Iowa. Reaching out to customers by way their mobile kitchen has paved the way for the restaurant opening on its second location. Starting out the business in 2011, Holderness immediately expanded reaching out to customers with his food truck booking corporate and social events, weddings and graduations among others.  The previous year had the truck earning around $60,000 from 70 events.

Choosing over a truck or a trailer, Mike Stenke of Klausie’s Pizza opts to have a trailer over a truck. His mobile kitchen is mostly booked for catering events. Despite having a truck, he prefers the trailer for convenience which lessens the problems of having to fix mechanical failures and towing a trailer can save a lot of money by just renting out a truck should the original truck breaks down.

However, operating a trailer truck possess problems on its own. Finding a driver is one. Another problem in general is the staff. Training them to take care of the mobile kitchen equipment and being able to troubleshoot basic mechanical problems entails a lot of skills as explained by Doug Coffin, owner of Big Green Truck Pizza.

Coffin added that deciding over a brand new unit, a used one or converting ones unit is critical in the mobile kitchen business. Coffin suggest on buying a built one already. The savings plus the sales generated would result to a better return of investment.  Spending around $30,000 on his trailer and equipment working with a local company to conceptualize and apply its design. Steven Cohn of Stony’s Pizza in Austin took both approaches with his two mobile kitchens.

Cohn bought his first truck from a mobile pizza kitchen company. Despite the $82,000 revenue, Cohn wasn’t impressed with the small two by two frame of his mobile kitchen which also has a scrawny exhaust fan. When problems with the plumbing occur, he had to cut to the side of the truck to fix the problem. He had this corrected with his customized step van truck doing mostly the modifications and cost him $35,000.

Planning on booked events takes a lot of hours to prepare. The menu has to be limited to best sellers and working hours are longer with only a few employees working with mobile pizza kitchen owners.

Mobile kitchens needs modifications to fit the equipments required in running a food truck. This and installation could cost as much as some trucks are not built commercially to fit kitchen equipment. One should consider getting a Commercial Driver’s License if the mobile kitchen weighs more than 24,000 pounds. But it is better not to exceed this limit to save on getting a CDL. Drawers, tools, items and equipments inside the food truck should always be secured as vibrations, sudden stops and frequent movement of the vehicle could damage the items inside the food truck. The design of the mobile kitchen should also be well thought off. It’s hard to make repairs off an equipment blocking the way.

 

Posted by Diane Araga, on September 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM