5 Best Wedding Venues in Portland, ME

Wedding Venues in Portland ME

Planning a wedding will likely be the most fun and the most stressful time of your life. You will want to make sure every aspect is perfect and as you had envisioned it. One of the critical steps in planning your dream wedding is finding the ideal venue.

Finding the right venue

Modern times have brought back the outdoor wedding, and Maine is home to many amazing views. The scenery is beautiful, but you might have trouble narrowing down the top wedding venues in Portland, ME.

You want to consider the size of the venue, the ambiance, and the meal options. To see the size and ambiance, touring the space and seeing photos of past receptions will help you find suitable options.

When it comes to food, you want to ask about options for those with dietary restrictions. If a space doesn’t offer vegetarian or vegan options, don’t worry! You can always turn to Portland food trucks for help. There are plenty of vegan food trucks available in Portland, and they can help save your day.

Our top 5 wedding venues in Portland, ME

Diamond’s Edge Restaurant and Marina

Diamond’s Edge Restaurant and Marina is a classic favorite for hosting a reception. This waterfront wedding venue overlooks the crystal waters of Diamond’s Cove. Get together with up to 250 of your friends and family at this beautiful location. The location actually offers three wedding venues.

When it’s warm outside, ask about the McKinley Grove Event Site. It comes with a Sperry tent with retractable slides and a dance floor to add to the fun.

If you want a more intimate feel, The Art Gallery is another option. This building can seat up to 80 guests, and it’s well known for its high ceilings and rustic atmosphere.

For 20 to 50 guests, The Patio is your best option. This large lawn is perfect for watching the boats ride by.

There are additional services you can add to your wedding. Some of these include on-site catering, coffee service, bar service, a wedding specialist, champagne toasts, and cake cutting. Diamond’s Edge gives you everything you need to throw an amazing wedding.

The Barn at Smith Farm

Another breathtaking outdoor venue in Portland is the Barn at Smith Farm. This venue is perfect for a smaller setting; the maximum number of guests it can hold is 150. It is an affordable barn on a ranch with fantastic photo opportunities.

Although small, the wedding venue comes with a lot of options. You have access to catering services, a fully equipped kitchen, a full bar, and lounge, as well as wireless internet and a waterfront experience.

Brick South at Thompson’s Point

There is no better place for a big wedding than Brick South at Thompson’s Point. This property consists of 25,000 square feet and has many noteworthy features. You get a nice blend of elegance and rustic features, as well as an industrial feel.

Brick South has rough-hewn wood and steel beams, polished concrete floors, and open ceilings to make your day perfect. There are wooden panel room dividers you can use to create a secluded setting and bistro string lighting to set the mood.

Rising Tide Brewing Company

The Rising Tide Brewing Company is one of the most lively wedding venues in Portland, ME. If you are looking to visit a newly renovated space in East Bayside, Rising Tide is for you.

There are three separate areas available to rent, ranging from semi-private to entirely private rooms. When renting the private East Room, you pay hourly, and the tables, chairs, AV/PA system, private bar, and outside patio space are all included.

Rising Tide’s rooms come in various sizes, with some holding 40 guests and others seating up to 150 people.

The Press Hotel

The Press Hotel rounds out our list of the five best wedding venues in Portland, ME. The space is built to accommodate an intimate to a medium-sized wedding. It can hold up to 100 guests for a reception or 70 guests for a banquet.

The Composing Room has expansive windows to feature natural lighting as well as handcrafted paneling inside. Their Editorial Room is smaller, holding up to 45 guests, but it is still as intricate and beautiful as the others.

If you are hosting a rehearsal dinner, the News Room holds up to 15 guests.

The Press Hotel also provides parking, valet, wireless internet, and in-house catering.

Why Do Food Trucks Fail?

Failing Food Trucks

Opening a business involves talent, hard work, and a bit of luck. According to Investopedia, 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years of opening. That number jumps to 45% within the first five years and 65% for the first decade.

Operating a successful food truck is hard but not impossible. If you’re asking yourself why food trucks fail, you’re on the right track to running a profitable business. Here are the four most common ways food truck owners fall short and how you can fix them.

Excess Cost of Operations

Most food trucks fail because they don’t get the cost of operation under control. Some owners enter the industry expecting food, labor, and the vehicle to be their initial costs. However, other expenses can slowly add up, especially if you do not have an established budget.

Some easy-to-overlook costs include:

  • Auto insurance
  • City, county, and state permits
  • Fuel
  • Legal fees
  • Liability insurance
  • Marketing
  • Storage
  • Vehicle maintenance

A budget is your best friend when keeping costs under control. Noting all your monthly operating expenditures keeps you aware of how much money you’re spending versus earning. You don’t have to be an accountant to start a budget, either. Just open an Excel document and start listing expenses.

Poor Location

Food trucks succeed when they go where the people are. The more people there are in a given area, the more likely a vendor is to have a customer. As a rule of thumb, food trucks sell to 5% of people during a festival or large event.

A poor location doesn’t attract enough customers or the right customers. Consider your target demographic when choosing a location. If you’re parking outside a college bar, sophisticated dishes like sushi or beef Wellington shouldn’t be on the menu.

Some of the best places to set up shop include:

  • Bars
  • College campuses
  • Designated food truck parks
  • Farmers markets
  • Festivals
  • Nightclubs
  • Office buildings or business districts
  • Parks
  • Sporting events

Doing Too Much

The mantra of every food truck should be KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Too many owners want to show off their creative flair with extensive menus and intricate dishes. If you’re going to serve complicated items that you’d find on a tasting menu, you’re better off opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Successful food trucks require a streamlined menu with straightforward dishes. Create flavorful items without going overboard on preparation, cooking, or costs. Keep your list to 6 to 12 dishes, and you’ll save yourself time and money.

Lack of Social Media Presence

Social media and food trucks go hand in hand. You need to actively tell patrons where you’re going to be and when. The planning lets them build their schedules around you and even make advanced purchases with mobile ordering.

Many failed food trucks neglect social media or do not understand how to leverage the platform. Establishing a presence on major apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter provides a centralized point of contact between you and customers. Social media is where your target audience hangs out, so get on it if you want to attract new and loyal customers.

Are You Up For the Challenge?

Roughly half of food truck operators fail in the first five years, in large part because of poor planning. They fail to consider all the operating expenses and the importance of marketing and finding reliable locations. When you take all these factors together, it’s challenging to turn a profit.

Strategic planning goes a long way in making a food truck successful. Truckster offers a free mobile app that helps you take care of all the little things from accepting mobile orders to creating a menu. Download it today from the Apple or Android stores.

Fun Fairs and Festivals in Portland, Maine

Fairs And Festivals In Portland Me

Whether you are visiting or if you have just moved to the area, there are tons of fun fairs and festivals in Portland, Maine, that you can check out. The city has events for the holidays and a few fairs that have become local traditions.

Whether you prefer a fair over a festival or vice versa, all of the events we listed below are worth checking out at least once. The breathtaking sights and unforgettable adventures will keep everyone in your family entertained.

Below are 5 of the best fun fairs and festivals in Portland, Maine.

1. Bug Light Kite Festival

The Bug Light Kite Festival is one of the most whimsical sights you will see. It comes around annually and is always held on the third weekend in May.

People fill the sky above Bug Light Park with every kite you can think of for this magical event. You will see pink, blue, yellow, green, sparkly, light up, and any other kites you can imagine.

Admission to the event is free, but many guests purchase hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, fries, and more available from the local barbeque. All proceeds are donated to a local organization, so you get to eat while giving back to the community.

2. Cumberland Fair

For the more adventurous crew, as well as kids, the Cumberland Fair may be an attractive choice. This is a traditional fair that has been going on since the 1800s.

There are so many things to do when you visit the Cumberland Fair. You can enjoy yourself on the wide variety of carnival rides and then stop by the petting zoo. As your day winds down, you can grab some of the famous fair foods. Satisfy your craving with some cotton candy and enjoy the lights and laughter.

3. Street Eats and Beats

One of the most popular food truck events in Portland Maine, and nationwide, is the Street Eats and Beats. This event has come to Portland, every summer for the last six years. You can find food for everyone at this food truck meet up.

This event is great for food lovers who want to try meals from other states, but it also for anyone who loves live music. Gather together to listen to some up and coming artists perform live while eating and drinking top of the line beer and wine.

4. Freeport Fall Festival

Get into the spooky season with the Freeport Fall Festival. This festival promises a fun day filled with art and music. It goes on every year in October, just in time for Halloween and the change of seasons.

Over 100 artist exhibits feature oil and watercolor paintings, fine crafts, jewelry, mixed media, and photographs. After you get a good look at all the fantastic artwork, you can shop at local stores, get something to eat, or enjoy the live music.

Don’t forget to participate in the Chowdah Challenge, one of the most fun aspects of the Freeport Fall Festival. People from across the city prepare their best chowder, and the public can sample each dish and vote for their favorite.

5. Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

The Christmas Boat Parade of Lights is one of the most beautiful festivals in Portland, Maine. This event is also known as the Portland Harbor Christmas Boat Parade.

Every year around Christmas time, the Portland Harbor is filled with a surplus of lit-up boats. You can watch from the waterfront as the boats twinkle under the stars. Keep your eyes open, and you might see Santa hitching a ride. To cap off the night, the sky is lit up with fireworks to celebrate the ending of a great year.

Food Trucks: The Safe Option During a Pandemic

COVID 19 Safe Food Truck

We’re all tired of hearing about COVID-19, but the reality is that we are very much still in it. On Friday, October 30, the US reported the highest number of daily new cases for any country, reaching 100,000. Many bars and restaurants nationwide have been required to close or operate at limited capacity. Meanwhile, we’ve all been eating at home for months and are tired of coming up with exhaustive grocery lists and cooking day in and day out. What can be done?

Food Trucks are a Safe Alternative

Already being an outdoor, takeout option, food trucks are seen by many as a safe alternative right now. While restaurants have closed, been restricted to limited occupancy, or offer takeout and delivery only, food trucks are still safely operating. They are naturally built to be a takeout option, and meals can be taken back home or eaten outdoors, while safely spread out from others.

Compared to delivery or dining at a restaurant, your meal is less likely to pass through multiple sets of hands. Your food travels from the chef’s hands, to your takeout box, to you. Our trucks are asked to wear their masks and are taking the health and safety of you and their staff seriously. It is critical to the viability of their business to keep their staff healthy in order to stay open and operating.

Food Trucks Pandemic Min

Online & Mobile Ordering

Many of the Truckster trucks are offering online and mobile ordering through the Truckster app and website. With Truckster ordering, you can place your order on the go or from the comfort of your home, and you’ll receive a text when your food is ready to be picked up. This is a great contactless ordering option, and eliminates the need for exchanging money, waiting in lines, and congregating by the trucks while waiting on your order. You also avoid the costly delivery fees which can really add up over time.

All that being said, some trucks are offering delivery options as well. Be sure to check with your favorite truck to see what options they have. And if you want to see Truckster ordering available, ask the trucks to join! It’s easy and cost effective for the trucks to setup.

Booking a Food Truck

You can still book a food truck to come to your office or neighborhood, or hire a truck to cater a private event. Trucks are accommodating unique scenarios, such as feeding guests in shifts, individually packaging to go meals, and other similar requirements. If you are interested in catering services or booking a truck, get started here or contact us with questions.

Finally keep in mind that restaurants are still a viable option to consider. However even with lower than normal occupancy, indoor or outdoor dining at a restaurant makes it difficult to spread out and some people feel uncomfortable sitting a table without a mask, even if they are 6 feet away from their neighboring table. If you fall into this category, consider takeout or delivery. Many restaurants are depending on takeout business to stay afloat right now.

Since we all want to see our favorite local spots still open once we’re able to safely return to full occupancy, let’s try to support our food trucks and restauranteurs as much as we can!

5 Best Places to Eat in Boise, Idaho

Best Places to Eat in Boise Idaho

As Idaho’s cultural capital, Boise has no shortage of culinary choices, from tacos featuring Idaho spuds and chorizo to quinoa burgers and Nutella panna cotta. The Treasure Valley also has a thriving food truck community that offers alternatives to sit-down and take-out fare, as well as a Food Truck Rally in Boise (check out our Boise Food Trucks page for all events).
But even though we at Truckster love the food truck movement, we’re also foodies at heart who can’t resist cluing others in on a great meal. Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Boise, Idaho.

Richard’s Restaurant & Bar

Chef and owner Richard Langston has been feeding Boise residents and visitors for more than 25 years, showcasing locally sourced ingredients and natural flavors. His specialties are Italian-style Northwestern fare such as grilled octopus with pork belly, parchment-cooked black cod with broccolini, grilled quail, and potato gnocchi with beets, gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts. Wines on the award-winning wine list include those from Idaho’s burgeoning wine industry, as well as selections from Italy, Spain, France, California, Oregon, and Washington. Save room for desserts such as tiramisu cheesecake or the gluten-free orange cardamom chocolate flourless cake with pistachio crumble. (500 S. Capitol Blvd.)

Fork

Located in the landmark Boise City National Bank Building, Fork pledges to be “Loyal to Local,” sourcing key ingredients from ranchers, farmers, distillers, brewers, bakers, producers, and cheese makers around Boise and the Northwest. That commitment extends to the comfortable yet relaxed dining room, which uses recycled materials and reclaimed Idaho barn wood for the glasses and tables. Menu favorites include asparagus “fries,” cast-iron seared lamb lollipops with green chimichurri sauce, grilled Mahi Mahi tacos, Idaho rainbow trout, a slow-smoked brisket sandwich, and buttermilk fried chicken with balsamic-infused maple syrup and a cheddar waffle. (199 N. 8th St.)

Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery

America’s first restaurant distillery, Bardenay is located on the Basque Block, part of the Old Boise Historic District. It specializes in producing amber rum and ginger rum and has a menu bursting with variety, such as the panzanella bruschetta salad with champagne vinaigrette, flash-fried Pacific cod and chips, and a cider-brined pork chop. Cap off a meal with carrot cake featuring Bardenay Ginger Rum raisins or molten chocolate Bundt cake, then raise a toast with a local pale ale or a signature cocktail like the Huckleberry Lemon Drop pouch made with Bardenay Lemon Vodka and Idaho huckleberry puree. (610 W. Grove St.)

Bar Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery

Another Basque Block staple, the Bar Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery has combined authentic Basque cuisine with sandwiches, Basque wines, and desserts for roughly 20 years. Choices include solomo (marinated pork tenderloin with pimientos on a French baguette), chorizo (Basque pork sausage), slices of roasted lamb leg with grilled onions and mushrooms, and lamb stew complete with potatoes, onions, and green peppers. Don’t forget the croquettas, house-cut fries, Basque peppers, or rice pudding on the side. (202 S. Capitol Blvd.)

Saint Lawrence Gridiron

A few steps from the Idaho State Capitol Building, Saint Lawrence Gridiron is a former food truck that’s settled into a brick-and-mortar location, delivering bold Southern flavors and humor from a giant smoker on the front patio. Don’t miss the brisket platter with buttermilk biscuit and “various picklery;” the “Requisite Veggie Dish” of rotating grains, herbs, and seasonal vegetables; or shrimp served with stone-ground grits, sausage, and tomato gravy. Want a smaller bite? Opt for the “Dirty Bird,” a fried chicken sandwich with Louisiana spices, chili oil, white BBQ sauce, and house slaw. Also serves brunch. (705 W. Bannock St.)

How Much Does It Cost for a Food Truck to Cater?

Preparing Food For Catered Event Min

Food trucks provide fast, flavorful, and affordable meals. They’re an ideal way to feed hundreds of people at once, whether you’re hosting a birthday party or planning a corporate retreat. You may be wondering, “How much does it cost for a food truck to cater?” Here are the answers you need to make the most of your next event.

Establish a Minimum Price

Before we delve into prices, remember that every food truck charges different rates, so costs will vary. Living in a city like Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., will inherently cost you more because each has a high price of living. Our numbers serve as a rough estimate.

Many food trucks charge a minimum price of $500, including tax. That covers a predetermined number of people and servings. The vendor will also incorporate labor, preparation time, and travel expenses into the billing.

Billing prices may vary based on the date. Vendors are busier during the summer, so minimum bids may increase. The same goes for holidays and other special events. Food trucks set these minimums because producing and transporting large quantities of food gets expensive quickly, especially without a guaranteed number of people.

Factor in Cuisine Type

All cuisines aren’t equal, at least when it comes to price. Serving burgers and fries present a more cost-effective option than farm-to-table salads. The salad ingredients are more expensive to grow and purchase, and food trucks pass those expenses on to the customer in the form of pricing.

Ice cream trucks are one of the most affordable catering options. The average meal costs $5 to $10 per person, with rental minimums ranging from $400 to $800 and up. Here are some of the other catering prices you can expect:

  • Tacos and burritos – $10 to $18 per person with a minimum cost of $900+
  • Barbecue – $10 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
  • Burgers – $12 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
  • Pizza – $12 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
  • Lobster – $18 to $25 per person with a minimum cost of $1,200+

The cost per person typically includes side dishes, such as refried beans, grilled corn, and coleslaw. It may not include dessert or drinks, which cost an extra $1 to $5 per person. Note that the more people you have attending an event, the lower the price per person.

Price Hikes for Weddings

Weddings are expensive, with the average couple paying $33,900 to tie the knot, according to TheKnot.com. Part of the reason weddings are pricey is the “wedding tax” phenomenon. Photographers, caterers, wedding planners, and other service providers charge more at wedding events since couples typically spend with less discretion.

Food trucks tend to be more expensive at weddings than at regular events because of the logistical complexity. Catering with a food truck can save money, though. The average food truck charges $25 to $35 per guest, while traditional caterers charge around $70 per person for weddings.

Evaluate the Location

Your event’s location can result in additional charges. Food trucks may have to pay for permitting, zoning, or parking if they’re using public space. If you plan to host your event on private property, the operators may need a tent or pop-up to accommodate patrons.

Most food trucks charge a minimum fee, starting at $500, for catering. You should have at least 50 attendees to disperse the costs evenly and potentially lower the overall price per dish per person. If you’re ready to book a food truck to cater an event, choose from the many listed on our site!

How Many Items Should Be on a Food Truck Menu?

How Many Items Should Be On A Food Truck Menu

You have a dream of opening a food truck. Getting that dream off the ground requires a one-of-a-kind menu. It serves as the central component of your restaurant on wheels, setting the tone and taste for your culinary identity.

While it’s tempting to flex your creativity with a lengthy menu, most food truck owners only serve 6 to 12 items. How many items should be on your food truck menu based on your business model? Here are the answers you need to make an exciting and economically viable menu.

Determine the Central Menu Items

The first step to create the perfect menu involves picking out a few central items. These dishes should be the staples of your food truck and inspire people to come back again. If you haven’t done so already, do some market research to ensure your food truck idea differentiates your business from other vendors.

The central dishes should revolve around a single concept. Serve items with a unified theme, like sandwiches or French food. For instance, your truck may combine both ideas and create a menu with raclette grilled cheese, croque madame, jambon-beurre, and pan bagnat.

Consider Preparation Time

You can have all the delectable dishes you want, but a successful food truck menu demands practicality. Your best-selling raclette grilled cheese may earn $12 per transaction, but it also takes 20 minutes to make. A more straightforward item, like jambon-beurre, containing a baguette, ham, and butter, earns $8 but takes a fraction of the time.

Increased preparation time doesn’t mean you should forsake a raclette grilled cheese. It requires a highly efficient kitchen environment for it to be feasible. Unless you’re trying to compete with established fine-dining restaurants, you should err on the side of caution and keep dishes simple. Shorter preparation and cooking times will save you time and money during a lunch rush.

Be Realistic

A healthy dose of realism will give your food truck its best chance at success. If you only operate during lunchtime, serving 20 items doesn’t make sense. Even if you’re serving something as simple as hotdogs and brats, making things less complicated remains in your best interest.

You and your associates should streamline your menu to make service faster. If you’re serving hotdogs and brats, keep the sides to only two options, like French fries and grilled corn. The economic approach allows you to reduce waste and turnaround times.

Creating a Menu

Creating a physical menu is an art form. Subtle psychological tricks can ensure you get attention from passersby. Here are a couple of ways to make the most of your display space:

  • Remove dollar signs from the price.
  • Use prices that end in .95 instead of .99.
  • Be descriptive with your food. Don’t write “French fries.” Write “Freshly sliced Idaho potatoes, double-fried in duck fat and seasoned with chives and sea salt.”
  • Avoid creating columns.
  • Put the central menu items toward the top.
  • Create brackets around the same dish in two different sizes.

Find Out What Works Best for You

No hard and fast rules exist for picking the number of items for your menu. While many food trucks serve 6 to 12 dishes, you should find a number that ensures quality over quantity. Keep preparation times and logistical considerations in mind as you create your menu.

Don’t reinvent the wheel when deciding how many items should be on a food truck menu. Check out our Food Trucks tab for mobile restaurants across the country. You can see complete menus from other vendors and how many dishes they’re offering.

What Is the Target Market for Food Trucks?

Target Market For Food Trucks

Before you park your food truck and serve your first meal, you need a business plan. The blueprint tells you where, when, and how you’ll serve food. The business plan should also include your biggest ally: a target audience.

If you’re wondering how to define your food truck’s target market, you’re not alone. Every food truck operator needs to find the right people for their menu. Here’s how Truckster suggests incorporating a target audience into your business plan.

Consider Your Menu

Your menu sets the tone for your food truck. It reflects your core competencies and culinary mission. If you establish a gourmet hotdog and brats operation, you’ll attract plenty of foodies and businesspeople. The menu may turn off everyday Americans who expect to pay $2 for a hotdog and vegetarians and vegans who want meat-free alternatives.

The composition of your menu says a lot about your audience. Some items, like pizza and pasta, have universal appeal, so your desired customers can span across all generations, income levels, and backgrounds. If you have a truck that serves niche food, like vegan or Venezuelan dishes, you’re homing in on a smaller but arguably more passionate crowd.

Determine the Target Demographic

Determining your target demographic involves coming up with a semblance of your average customer. That means gauging their tastes, spending habits, and the unique selling points that attract them. Some of the categories you’ll use to build your average customer include:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Income
  • Interests and lifestyle
  • Job status
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Size of household
  • Values

These factors can inform your business choices and even the food you serve. You may look at the information and find potential customers because no one is serving that food nearby. For instance, if there’s a sizeable Venezuelan population in your town but no Venezuelan vendors, you have a golden opportunity.

Don’t forget to factor your geographic location into business decisions. Selling hot cocoa won’t fare well in warm climates like Phoenix and Houston. Similarly, chilled gazpacho doesn’t have a great chance of success in northern cities like Minneapolis or Boston.

Some questions to ask yourself when identifying a target market include:

  • How many people are in your potential market?
  • How many competitors are in your local market? How many serve similar food?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to competitors?
  • What are your pricing and gross margin targets?
  • What’s your plan for attracting more customers after opening?
  • Have you done a soft open? What were the results?
  • What sources are you using to calculate your target market?

Leverage Social Media

Social media can make or break a food truck. Harnessing the connective power of Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms gives you intimate access to legions of loyal followers. If you haven’t already created accounts on all the major social media sites, you should.

Each platform comes with advertising resources that let you tailor your ads to your desired consumers. If your average customer is an affluent, college-educated man in his 40s, you can customize your content to people like that. The pinpoint accuracy lets you get the most out of your advertising dollars when targeting your ideal audience.

Have a Plan and a Target

A successful food truck understands its target market. It delivers one-of-a-kind food that people can’t find anywhere else. The key to bridging opportunities and getting results is a detailed business plan that outlines who you’ll target and how.

Do you want to connect with more customers? Do you want to expand your digital presence and develop more catering leads? Download the Truckster app and start building a better business today.

Top 5 Challenges Food Truck Owners Face

Challenges Food Truck Owners Face

It’s estimated that 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years, and food trucks are no exception. The increasingly competitive market means vendors have more hurdles than ever to operate a successful business. Here are the top five challenges food truck owners face and how to overcome them.

Location

The real estate adage is location, location, location, and it also applies to food trucks. Vendors have to find a spot that consistently attracts diners without too many existing trucks. Some experts argue that choosing a proper location outweighs the importance of the menu.

Location Is Important

Street parking presents the most straightforward and cost-effective option for food truck owners. You can park in a business district and find hordes of hungry business-people on their lunch break. Other ways to optimize location include attending festivals, breweries, farmer’s markets, bars, nightclubs, sporting events, college campuses, and food truck parks.

Red Tape

Having a unique idea for a food truck and selling meals sounds like fun. The legalese can present enough hurdles that many prospective vendors give up before they start. Here are some of the regulations you’ll need to accommodate when you open a food truck:

  • A seller’s permit
  • Head department certification
  • Food safety training
  • Liability insurance
  • Mobile vending laws
  • Vehicle permit and license

Obtaining these qualifications isn’t difficult by themselves. They take time, though, which takes away from other pressing matters, like building a menu or hiring staff. Each city, county, and state has distinct regulations, so you’ll face red tape regardless of where you live in the United States.

Kitchen Space or Lack Thereof

Kitchen space provides a natural constraint for food truck vendors. Every section of the kitchen layout needs to drive the operation toward complete efficiency; otherwise, it risks slowing down business. Combine multiple tasks into one to get more done with less.

A robust food processor lets you perform multiple functions in a compact area. The small machine can make everything from salsas to soups and whipped cream to winter smoothies. Other ways to make your kitchen space more efficient include improving organization, building vertically instead of horizontally, and purchasing ingredient bins.

The Goldilocks Menu

Most people start food trucks because they have a new idea that no one else is doing. That could mean serving Korean-Italian cuisine or turning traditional upscale dining into fast, casual meals. Even if you have a novel and delicious idea, you need a consumer base willing to try your food.

A Goldilocks menu is neither too boring nor too adventurous. The food should sit in the middle ground between familiarity and novelty, making it just right for prospective customers. Striking a balance can be challenging for food truck owners, especially if you do not have a background in the restaurant industry or hospitality.

Inclement Weather

Some parts of food truck vending are out of your control, including the weather. While you can nail your food truck’s business plan, uncooperative weather can present a financial setback. No one wants to eat soggy sandwiches in a muddy park, even if they’re amazing. The same goes for eating ice cream during the winter or having spicy ramen during peak summer months.

Always Be Ready

Food truck owners face a myriad of challenges, from inclement weather to red tape. While some of these hurdles are beyond your control, some ingenuity and thoughtful planning can circumvent these common issues. If you’re ready to start conquering these hurdles, check out the About Us page to learn how Truckster can bolster your bottom line.

Our Favorite Things to Do in Austin

Our Favorite Things To Do In Austin

Austin, Texas, has something for everyone, including nature lovers, art fans, romantics, and even the foodies. If you plan on visiting the city anytime soon, here are Truckster’s favorite things in Austin that you should give a try.

Visit the State Capitol

The State Capitol is Texas’s legislative center and one of the most impressive state legislative buildings in the US.

It has been around since 1888 and is a rich representation of Austin’s political history. The building itself is an architectural marvel that’s 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in D.C. It has undergone a few renovations over the years, but still retains much of its original look.

Visiting the Capitol is a great opportunity to learn about Texas history and entry is free. But because the place can be a bit crowded at times, it’s best to plan and time your visit to avoid peak visit periods.

Sample the Food Trucks

In Austin, brick and mortar restaurants aren’t the only place to find fine dining. There are food trucks not far from most streets and they serve almost anything you want. Some serve Italian cuisine, while others offer Mexican, Middle Eastern, Asian, Tex-Mex, and their unique twists of traditional dishes.

The growing scene is an affordable way to get a tasty meal from anywhere in the world without having to travel. And if you have favorite food trucks, you can easily track them down when they move with the help of apps like Truckster’s Austin Food Trucks Map.

Watch Performers on Sixth Street

Fans of music can catch a live show at Sixth Street, which is celebrated as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Most of the performers are upcoming artists, but famous ones do show up from time to time.

You’ll find Sixth Street on the Dirty Sixth, which is between Congress Street and Interstate 35. Aside from music, the area also offers a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops, and, of course, bars.

Hike Mount Bonnell

Austin has a lot of scenic views to offer and you can find some of the best ones at Covert Park’s Mount Bonnell. From the top of Mount Bonnell’s 775-foot-high outcrop, you get a panoramic view of the city and Lake Austin. That might seem tall, but many visitors describe the hike as easy and the view worthwhile.

The area is one of Texas’ historic landmarks and it’s also in the National Register of Historic Places, so be sure to treat it with respect by not littering.

Catch a Show at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater

Another favorite among music lovers, the Moody Center has hosted several artists, including some of your favorites. The venue can seat thousands of people and has great acoustics. When you are in Austin next, be sure to check out who’s performing at the Moody Center, because it just might be an artist that you’ve been dying to see live.

Visit SoCo District

Have you ever heard the saying, “keep Austin weird?” If you haven’t, the residents of SoCo District have and are committed to the message.
SoCo District is in downtown Austin and it plays a big part in keeping Austin’s weirdness alive and well. After soaking up some of the weird, you can browse and shop the diverse boutiques and stores in the area to find treasures.

You can also grab a bite or refreshments at one of the many food joints in the area. Taco, ice cream, and coffee joints are in abundance. The Continental Club is a favorite for grabbing drinks and enjoying live country music.

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake

Here’s another favorite hiking spot in Austin. It has a scenic 10-mile hike-and-bike trail in the middle of the city that takes you past the lake and by places where you can grab a bite. Whether you are running, cycling, or power walking, the gorgeous, yet quiet, view of the trail makes for great company.