NaanStop Food Truck’s Grand Opening Announced!

safoodfestThis is part of an ongoing series about the start up of a food truck called NaanStop. We will be launching in the first quarter of 2011. You can follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, or email me at neal.idnani@gmail.com with any feedback. Check back here for weekly updates!

 

Announcing: NaanStop’s Grand Opening!

When: January 29th 11:30am – 4pm

Where: Santa Anita Park

 

Since our last update, we booked our grand opening event for January 29th at Santa Anita Park, where NaanStop will be on the infield of the track during the Sunshine Millions horse races. Santa Anita is expecting 15k-20k people  and we are PUMPED to make it our first event!

 

Now we have some real deadlines though. At a busy festival, trucks can do 100-300 orders. While not all are that busy, you can’t always tell beforehand and need to be prepped for more than the 50-100 orders of a lunch service. More importantly, I’m worrying about getting my staff trained to be able to execute well at such high volume. I’d like for us to hit the road with a soft launch about 2 weeks before so we can work out any kinks in our process. With our opening fast approaching much is left to be done. And, as expected, it was difficult to get much work done between Christmas and New Year’s day.

 

For weeks Samir and I had been trying to finalize the lease on our food truck and were having little success. Phone tag, insurance squabbles, and getting the run-around over repairs that needed to be made to the truck left us frustrated and exploring the option of a last minute change to another commissary. Eventually, we were able to work out the details though and avoided a last minute headache.

 

After being told that we would no longer be covered under the commissary’s insurance plan, I scrambled to get some information on how much a policy would cost. Workers’ compensation we already knew we needed and now we needed to add general liability as well. After doing some research and asking around, I got in touch with Matt Carlson with www.cateringtruckinsurance.com. As someone who specializes in insurance for food trucks, he was very willing and able to explain the different levels and types of coverage. He also understood the nature of a start-up and the need to keep costs down and was able to provide some good advice to do so.

 

I was also worried about staffing. I thought that with food trucks being such a strange place of employment – different locations, different schedules, and cramped spaces – that I might have trouble finding people who were flexible enough to be up to the task. Fortunately, that didn’t seem to be the case. Within a few days of posting an ad on Craigslist, I had received about 100 applications…for 3 spots.

 

The last major item that we needed to do was coordinate the design of our truck and get it wrapped with that design. I knew we couldn’t start serving until we had the truck wrapped – it would be like opening a McDonald’s without golden arches. It is essential to our brand image and is a part of what will help us make Indian food feel more accessible. Wrapping a truck, however, takes 3-5 days plus another 3-5 days for designing it – putting us at 7-10 days. This seems to be the last major obstacle to hitting the streets on schedule.