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Want To Own A Food Truck? We Tell You How

by Steven Doyle

This week we spent an afternoon mulling over food trucks in the Arts District of Dallas.  The many trucks lined up to sell their tacos, sliders and baked potatoes, and with the unseasonably beautiful weather hoards of people crept from the towers of downtown to enjoy a leisurely stroll and a fond repast.

We were joined by Natalie Roffino of US Food Trucks who has played a great role in the Dallas culinary scene for some time now. She has been the junior director for the Texas Chef’s Association for the past three years.    

US Food Trucks is a one stop shop for anyone wishing to be in the business. They offer financing on the trucks and assist with the requisite commissary necessary to obtain the proper credentials with the city of Dallas. Purchasing an outfitted truck can cost as much as $80,000, where as leases can be less than $2000 per month. With US Food Trucks, they also have a sliding fee based on the time of year, making it easier to pay the lease in incliment weather.

In addition to the trucks the organization offers buying power for all the necessary supplies and have developed relationships with a host of vendors. Roffino also assists with finding routs and venues, plus she has plans to work with local charities to offer the trucks at their fund raising events.

Think of Roffino as the new ambassador for the food truck industry in North Texas. She says that there are still many people that are unaware that we have these trucks rolling through the city. Her job is to stir awareness.

We ask Roffino what the new trend in trucks might be and she said whoopee pies. “Rockstar Baking is getting their truck wrapped and ready. They started by offering the trucks their product for resell and soon realized they had a following. Their truck will be a bit smaller since they won’t be needing a grill inside. Look for them the first week in March,” said Roffino.

We wanted to know if all this new found competition would hurt the business and Roffino said absolutely not.  She thinks variety brings in more people.

Once approved through US Food Trucks they can have you on the streets selling your favorite cuisine in a matter of eight weeks. In that time they will walk you through all the hurdles of acquisitions and licensing. They also recommend that if you have a desire to operate your own truck that you may want to actually work in one for a while to see if this culture is a proper fit for your lifestyle.

We continued our conversation while waiting in line to sample a few tacos from a new truck working with US Food Trucks, Tin Star. We spoke with Angie Taylor of Tin Star, the director of operations for the company, who was busy making tacos as fast as they were ordered. We thought it was curious that an executive for the company was working inside the truck, but she said it was her job to make sure the business was successful and would continue to operate that part of the business with this hands on approach.

Eventually there will be additional Tin Star trucks in the DFW area.

This side of the restaurant industry is on a fast paced growth and will continue to gain momentum in North Texas.

You may contact Natalie Roffino at 214.420.5997.

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