As some of you may know I’m currently in a program at Algonquin College. Culinary Skills: Chef Training. For Food Theory I have to write a certain amount of blog entries that are culinary related. Here is one of the entries for said blog…..
When I came up with the brilliant idea of opening my own food truck I had/have a heck of a lot to learn and when I mentioned my idea to my wonderful fiancé she said she had an old friend who is currently in the food truck industry. Her name is Jade Racicot. She owns Golden Fries and the Grilled Cheeserie food trucks. She also grew up with my fiancé and has been so helpful with answering questions based on my goal of becoming a food truck owner. She also says that come March/April she will be able to help me out with a job in her food trucks which will help me gain experience in the field that I will be going into.
Here are eight questions and answers on her experience/experiences in the Ottawa food truck industry.
A.T: How, when and why did you decide to open your own food truck?
J.R: In May 2008 I tried to buy one on a whim. The deal fell through… I was pretty disappointed and let it go until April 2009. A regular at a bar I was working at asked me what ever happened to me opening up a chip truck? It sparked something in me again, I bought one and was open May 2nd 2009.
A.T: What is the biggest misconception people have about opening their own food truck?
J.R: A lot of people think they’re going to make a lot of money. It takes a lot of time and effort to make money. I was at a loss the first few years. You have to be able to afford to make $0 or even come out of it -$5000 at the end of the first year.
A.T: What advice would you give someone who wants to open their own food truck?
J.R: Plan it all out before you act on it. Don’t do anything in impulse.
A.T: What are some of the challenges to running a food truck?
J.R: Challenges: staffing is difficult, as hours are erratic and inconsistent. Some weeks are 60 hours, the next may be 10. It’s difficult to find people who are okay with this type of schedule. Money: No one wants to finance a food truck, you basically need to have the money upfront or have someone close to you that’s willing to lend you the money to get started, knowing that you won’t be able to pay it back for a few years.
A.T: What are some of the disadvantages of running a food truck?
J.R: Inconsistent income. It’s very seasonal, so you won’t be making money 4-6 months a year. You have to budget whatever you happen to make during the summer to last you throughout the winter. There are also ridiculous amounts of regulations that sometimes seem like their only purpose to stop you from succeeding.
A.T: What do you think of the Food Truck industry in Ottawa?
J.R: The food truck industry in Ottawa is, for the most part, “new”. The City of Ottawa was not issuing street permits from 2008-2012 at all. And then they began issuing limited permits after the big food truck fad started. The spots that were available were not good, save a few in the downtown core. It’s difficult for concepts to succeed with the locations available to them.
A.T: If you could start your food truck business over what would you do differently?
J.R: I would have taken things slower and put more thought into the business plan. I didn’t start with a business plan at all. The plan has evolved over time, but I could have saved myself a whole lot of time and money if I’d known what I was trying to do from the start. If only I had put the numbers on paper I would have realized that my initial plan didn’t make sense.
A.T: Do you enjoy working in the industry?
J.R: Yes and no. It’s difficult both physically and mentally. It is a very physical job and it has taken a toll on me in the past year or two. I’ve developed new ailments that cause me pain daily. It’s mentally taxing because you never know what is going to be thrown at you next. Not everything goes as planned… There have been times when I’ve worked three weeks straight and come out having lost three thousand dollars. That’s hard to deal with mentally, but it’s not all bad! I enjoy what I do. I don’t have a boss. I get to be creative with the menu and I’ve learned so much… from culinary skills to accounting. It’s given me the foundation to basically run any business from an administrative perspective.
I want to take a second and thank Jade for answering my numerous questions and for putting up with my constant barrage of inquires. I would also like for you to take a second and check out all her social media accounts and website.
Golden Fries Website: http://goldenfries.ca/
Golden Fries Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoldenFries
Golden Fries Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goldenfries?fref=ts
Golden Fries Instagram: https://instagram.com/goldenfriesot/
Look for her other accounts too…..