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Thursday, December 12, 2013

"The Food truck revolution.. 'James "Kimo" Rosen'

Food trucks converted from old step vans have become the fad...
James “Kimo” Rosen is a retired professional photographer living in Kapa'a
with his best friend Obama Da Dog, Rosen also blogs as a hobby

www.dakinetalk.blogspot.com


The Food truck revolution

Imagine wanting to open a business and share your culinary art only to find rents for commercial restaurants on Kaua'i are a hard nut to crack and in many cases cost prohibited without already being wealthy.

The last few years on Kaua'i have brought us an array of all wakes of ethnicity concerning food trucks.There are Mexican, Greek, Italian, Thai, Chinese, American style steak and burgers, crepes,and the all  popular Hawaiian style plate lunch, lau lau,shaved ice and malasadas.

The food trucks have taken over the conventional restaurant  as the number one way to open a restaurant on Kaua'i. Kapa'a town is starting to like a ghetto with all these old step-vans converted to food trucks.. There is a food truck revolution. 

Food trucks originally  were known and famous for large portions of ono grindz (delicious food) at very reasonable prices.  Food trucks do not have all the expenses of traditional restaurants, while some pay a nominal rent, others set up on the side of the highways and roads and pay nothing. Food trucks  plain and simple do not have the overhead of a conventional restaurant.

The food trucks I have witnessed do not even have porta potties or  a place to wash your hands? It makes me wonder where the owners and employees relieve themselves during a shift of work. How can a restaurant pass a board of health inspection without restrooms for their patrons and employees?

Therefore one would think the savings in overhead would be passed onto the consumer, as I have witnessed on O‘ahu and many other places.   But they are not. I often visit a local Mexican restaurant  that has excellent wait staff, awesome food, large portions and restrooms, plus their menu prices are less than the Mexican food trucks I have seen on island.

Every food truck I have visited on Kaua‘i is priced way too high with tiny  humble portions of food.Food Trucks in many instances are charging more than a full fledged sit-down restaurant serving similar food items.

 There’s a relatively new food truck I cruise by every day. However, after looking at the menu, it was the same old story, expensive prices.
The only thing that looked reasonable was the kid’s menu; however, you must be 12 or under. Isn’t that discrimination? 

 I understand being an entrepreneur and wanting to live your dream, and that dream may be to open a restaurant. You may not have the funds to open a  restaurant in a shopping mall, or you may just like the concept of food-trucks. However when a burger plate is $12-15 plus tax served on a paper plate with no waiter or restrooms and with  the audacity to have a  rusted lid mayonnaise jar on the counter in sloppy handwriting that  says “TIPS.” This is just insanity.

 I want these food trucks to stay in business and make money and would like to offer  some solid advise. Here's my tip,please  lower your prices, serve larger portions and think volume and you just might crack the nut. 

Believe it or not the next fad in business is fashion trucks, they are gaining popularity in mainland markets. Who knows before long there will be no need for shopping centers or strip malls in Hawai'i since  every business will be operating form a recycled step van.  Welcome to paradise!

Hana Hou, (Encore) Shared from Facebook...




22 comments:

Thomas LaVenture said...

says a lot about storefront leases.

KimoRosen said...

Yes, storefront leases are very costly, food trucks are a way to get in the restaurant business at a reasonable price, however the price of the menu should be appropriately priced... it's ludicrous that so many of these trucks are charging more than a sit down restaurant with restrooms.

Thomas LaVenture said...

Some of the best one's want to have the gourmet menu and then have to charge so much because they are paying so much per month just to part there.

KimoRosen said...

it's ludicrous, they don't even have restrooms, don't see how the board of health even lets them operate? On Oahu I remember the food trucks had huge portions and cheap prices. The whole concept of a food truck is to save money. Why pay more at a food truck than a traditional restaurant? Then they have the audacity to ask for tips in rusted mayonnaise jars on the counter? I'll give them a tip, lower your prices and larger portions, go for volume. better to sell 100 plates at 6.00 each, then 10 plates at 10.00 each. These food trucks on Kauai all need to ;lower their prices and think volume.

Thomas LaVenture said...

they set up near park rest rooms - but you bring up a good point about lease rates. Why pay as much as a building to park with half the amenities?

KimoRosen said...

Tom, these food truck are mainly converted old step vans, without restrooms, how can they expect to charge more than a restaurant at Kukui Grove shopping mall? The whole concept originally was cheap grinds, large portions at reasonable prices. Not secretarial dainty portions of food with gourmet pricing in a fast food atmosphere. Have you seen the menu prices at most of these food trucks? I can still get a two entree p[late of delicious Chinese food for $5.99 at number one Chinese. and they have tables and restrooms and the food is always fresh, since they turn over hundreds of plates a day.

Thomas LaVenture said...

Ya, I see the point. that is the main reason I don't stop a them. But look at how many restaurants that seemed to be doing all right are suddenly closed. Latest one I see with newspaper in the window is the Mexican place at the mall.

KimoRosen said...

Labamba at Kukui grove closed because the mall did not renew their lease because a national Mexican chain restaurant is moving in called Taco DelMar and Labamaba was excellent food beautiful restaurant and cheaper than food trucks... These food trucks need to think volume and not on how much they can charge. They might get it from the visitor industry but are scaring locals away.

Deborah Anne said...

They should park in Walmart...

KimoRosen said...

Deborah, don't believe zoning would allow that on Kauai Island?

Deborah Anne said...

lol, probably not..was being facetious..lot of people do camp out in Walmart parking lots though hehe

KimoRosen said...

Deborah however your point is well taken, there are places to park for free...

Rick Comstock said...

I love the trailer parked between buildings in Kapaa town with the tables and chairs....I bet they even open at night. I personally never step up to one. I did notice the abandoned building between McD and TGI has new outdoor features added Tom....Maybe some journalistic investigation is due....I bet the owners have franchised into Kauai from Oahu....With the local culinary taste and the many arrested for "discharge of sureties" I find it just the next social issue our planning/ zoning department forces on us. I'm building a traveling hot dog cart to use on the walking path. Need small investor to finish for spring...

KimoRosen said...

Are you serious Rick, I actually think a traveling hot dog cart is a great idea, if it can be legally operated?

Rick Comstock said...

Maybe a mobil ice creme / shave ice ..... Obama Girl could ride for free! Jimbo, PM me if your motivated, open for discussion.

KimoRosen said...

I think it's a money maker if the county doesn't over tax or overcharge?

KimoRosen said...

I like the bicycle pedal type of hot-dog and ice cream carts, no gas, no registration and some exercise...

Rick Comstock said...

In my younger days traveling on our Harleys we could get a beer or three almost anywhere...Their trick was the beer and food was free with donation and tips....only by bicycle, then it could be on walking path.....

KimoRosen said...

Great idea, free, then you guilt people into paying more than what you would had charged! Freud would like dat!

KimoRosen said...

https://www.google.com/search?q=bicycle+hot+dog+carts&newwindow=1&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Cl6rUvDmB9iGoQSCt4CACw&ved=0CGUQsAQ&biw=1152&bih=705

KimoRosen said...

Linda, this would be a great business for you!

Facebook Likes said...

You, Deborah Morel, Thomas LaVenture and Harmony Bentosino like this.