My name is Brett Lindenberg. I run a blog / iTunes podcast called FoodTruckEmpire.com where I interview a new food truck owner every Friday morning and pick their brain on what it takes to run a successful business. Some of the more notable interviews include Runners-up from Season 4 of The Great Food Truck Race, Tikka Tikka Taco and The Grilled Cheese Truck, but majority of episodes feature smaller vendors you’ve probably never heard of.
As you would expect I’ve learned a lot about the food truck industry by gaining access to so many different entrepreneurs through the blog, but these are two of the big themes I find most interesting in these interviews: 1.) The Journey 2.) Business Approach
One of the coolest things about running this podcast is hearing the different paths entrepreneurs have taken prior to becoming a food truck owner and why they were drawn to this type of business. Although everyone’s story is different, the path usually begins with some deep rooted desire to be your own boss or do something meaningful.
One major surprise that I’ve come to realize along the way is that many food truck owners don’t have any food industry experience prior to starting their own businesses. To date I’ve interviewed food truck owners that include former lawyers, sales managers, IT professionals, bankers, and professors that decided to embark on the road less traveled. Ask any food truck what they’ve done in their past life and you might be surprised by the answer you get.
Every food truck owner that I’ve spoke with approaches their business a little differently. Everyone has unique strengths that theybring to the table and usually a philosophy on how to run a profitable business. One example that comes to mind is an interview (http://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/marks-grill/) I did with Mark Hamilton from Mark’s Quick Stop out of Memphis, Tennessee. Hamilton is a former IT professional that is all about developing processes that allow his business to get product out of the window as fast as possible while maintaining a high-quality deliverable.
Hamilton explains there are a lot of food truck owners that try to make food that’s too complex, which cuts down on the sales you’re able to make during a lunch or dinner rush. My thought’s on his perspective is that the reason many food trucks fail is partially due to their inability to capitalize on these short bursts of high demand.
Literally every successful food truck owner has unique insight just like this into some aspect of operating a business whether it’s marketing to customer service to raising capital to start a truck. I believe that even the grizzled food truck veteran can take something meaningful away from these interviews.
Why I’m Doing This.
There are a couple reasons I started this blog / podcast initially. The first is that I want to own a food truck in the future. This is a story for a different blog post, but part of the reason for starting a podcast was because I’d have an “excuse” to ask the most successful entrepreneurs about how they were running their businesses and learn from them.
The second reason I decided to start the podcast is because I’m a huge fan of business podcasts like TropicalMBA.com and wanted to do something similar. I find these both inspiring and helpful so I’m hoping to fill that spot for food truck entrepreneurs.
Finally, a more recent goal that has evolved over the past 3-months is to help food truck owners raise capital for crowdfunding campaigns. As you’re well aware it takes a lot of money to start a food truck business and there are many of folks that could use a hand-up to get started. In an effort to help out with this for the past 3-months I’ve been donating to the crowdfunding campaigns of a different food truck each month. Not a huge amount, but between $20 – $50 each time. These campaigns are also featured monthly on my podcast so if you know of any deserving entrepreneurs that could use a little help and exposure please send them my way. I would love to get to the point where I’m able to make larger donations through a variety of supporters, but for right now this is a small way I’m trying to help out.
-Brett Lindenberg // The Food Truck Empire
Greg Gless, Roaming Hunger’s Catering Director did an interview with Brett on Food Truck Empire podcast a few weeks back. Check it out HERE