So you’re thinking about starting a food truck and there, walking down the street in your direction, is none other than Tyler Florence, the famed Food Network chef and host of The Great Food Truck Race, which just started its sixth season on Food Network. Surprisingly, this is a scenario that Florence encounters fairly often, and when we recently spoke with him about the show, he filled us in on what he tells aspiring food truck owners.
“I’m honored when people reach out to me for food truck advice,” he told us. “When they do, the first thing I tell them is that they have to specialize in something, and that they need to have their category. Everyone loves tacos, but it needs a design, pop, and it needs to say what the truck does.
“People will give you about two seconds when they first see your truck to decide whether it looks good or not, so the overall concept has to be simple, and you can’t bury the lede,” he continued. “Also, the execution has to be phenomenal. You need to be obsessed with your product, and really have a passion for it.”
Being objective and studying the market inside and out is also crucial. “You need to be able to look at your truck and your product and form an objective opinion about whether your truck is going to be competitive or not,” he added. “You have to analyze what you’re selling and make comparisons in the marketplace, and if it’s not the best in your category figure out what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it. So all in all, you need to identify a particular concept, have a crystal-clear brand identity, do research and development on your product, your product needs to be of an exceptionally high quality — perfect, essentially — and you have to completely understand the marketplace before even thinking about opening a food truck.”
Sounds like a piece of cake!