The food truck industry has been booming in Phoenix for some time now. These trucks are majestic vehicles that carry some of the most delicious food in town. What we are unaware of is the maintenance and upkeep it takes to keep these food trucks truckin’.
College Times spoke to local food truck owner of Liberty’s Biscuits, Rachel Millard, to answer some food truckin’ questions.
Like any car, it can be expected that eventually, the driver will have to take care of a flat tire. Millard says that she hasn’t had to deal with that yet, but her truck is equipped to handle it with a spare on board at all times. She says Liberty’s Biscuits regularly checks the maintenance to avoid any issues that may occur while out on the road.
Liberty’s Biscuits regularly works to keep the truck maintained. They built the truck from scratch so the truck would be fully equipped with the best possible parts. Millard explained that owners have two choices when they start a food truck business.
“One option when starting a food truck is to buy a truck pre-made or to buy a base truck, then buy the equipment you need. There are professional installers who can then set it up. They set up the water heater; stuff like that. We bought all the equipment and then had professionals set it up for us.”
Millard says that what is typically a normal trip to the gas station, often results in people running up to the truck to see where it will be next.
“We fill up at just a normal gas station…It’s cool, people recognize the truck and want food. We get some pretty great reactions.”
Though it may be beautiful outside right now, this is not typical weather for Phoenix, which is a major issue to consider when thinking about keeping business booming in the heat of the summer with no indoor AC to cool off customers.
Millard says that that is one of the advantages of owning a food trucks is being able to operate at night, and at locations where they are expecting people to be; it’s a huge help. Three things really help to keep people coming back for more are consistency, quality food and good customer service, she says.
The food may be served out of a truck, but the health codes are always up to par (or should be anyway). How do you inspect a rolling restaurant? Millard says for food trucks, they go down to the office to be inspected. The certification lasts for one year; however, the trucks need to keep the health department up to date about where they are going and their schedules. Millard says the health department can show up at anytime to do an inspection because they can make up their own schedules.
Not just keeping up to date with the health department, most restaurants only need to meet the regulations and requirements of the city they are in, but food trucks need to meet the requirements of all cities they operate in.
“You also need to keep the numbers to pay taxes because it varies. Some cities have different regulations like Chandler or Mesa, and in some cities, food trucks are still an uncharted territory. If we hear of a new code or something, we work to share it with [other owners]so [all the food trucks]can stay up to date.”
Running a food truck isn’t like a reality TV show.
“The biggest thing for me was just that it’s not what people see on TV. You really do have to work hard; you don’t just set up and people come there. You have to respect your customers, and keep them up to date. If you say you’re going to do something, you have to follow through. [The customers] are your livelihood.” Some people who run food trucks have found that with the use of food truck POS systems, the management of their business has become a lot more manageable, especially when it comes to big events.
People can find out where Millard and the rest of Liberty’s Biscuits are by checking out their regularly updated pages on Facebook or Twitter
Truck on over to some of the Valley’s most popular food trucks
Mojo Bowl, A health food truck may sound like an oxymoron, but this truck features fruit bowls, vegetarian food, and smoothies. mojobowl.com
Emerson Fry Bread, The State Fair may be over, but that doesn’t mean the food has to be. Emerson Fry Bread is a frequent visitor at the State Fair, and now the delicious bread can be bought all year round. Fried bread is never healthy, but it’s always worth it. emersonfrybreadphx.com
BuzznBeez Good Food, A family owned and operated business. The owner and chef is related to the founder of Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles, so you know this will be some of the best soul food in the southwest, and it’s probably the only truck where it would be safe to order the catfish. buzznbees.com
Q UP!, This truck is really steppin’ up their game serving some of the best barbecue, including grilled onions and great brisket. You can’t wrong with a visit to this truck. If you’re a true Arizonan, you’re up for barbecue all of the time. qup-bbq.com
LuLu’s Italian Water Ice, Although not exactly a truck, this cart is a must for the list because in the hot Arizona sunshine, one cannot know too many Italian Ice locations. With no dairy included, the sweet treat is flavored with natural fruit juice and cane sugar. lulusitalianwaterice.com
Uprooted Kitchen, Not many trucks out there offer strictly vegetarian and vegan options, but Uprooted Kitchen does. The truck also offers gluten-free choices, and they serve breakfast. It may feel weird having breakfast without bacon, but this unique truck finds a way to make it right with great food. theuprootedkitchen.com
The Grilled Cheese Truck, Celebrating all things cheesy, this truck originally started in LA and found its way out to Phoenix. Not just sandwiches, they also offer melts, mac and cheese and ribs. Who doesn’t like a s’more with their grilled cheese? thegrilledcheesetruck.com