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How to Start a Mobile Food Business

Today, a new generation of street-food lovers is lining up at food trucks and food carts like never before. Little do they know that neither food trucks nor food carts are new to the streets of American cities. Like so many other popular trends, they are the latest version of a long-standing part of American and world culture. Yet the street-food industry has never enjoyed so much publicity or notoriety.

According to Los Angeles-based industry-research firm IBISWorld, the street-food business -- including mobile food trucks and nonmechanized carts -- is a $1 billion industry that has seen an 8.4 percent growth rate from 2007 to 2012. It's very entrepreneurial: 78 percent of operators have four or fewer employees. The true number of these businesses is difficult to count, since the mobile food industry is comprised of food trucks, food carts and kiosks, which have appeared in malls as well as at train and bus stations, airports, stadiums, conference centers, resorts, and other locations in recent years.

Food-industry observers claim that the food-truck business is increasing largely in response to the slow-growing economy. People are seeking inexpensive breakfasts and lunches. Also, employees today are often pressed for time, with more work and shorter lunch hours. These factors make the mobile-food concept more appealing than ever.

From an entrepreneurial standpoint, kiosks, carts, trailers, and food trucks have a lower overhead than restaurants and can be moved if one location does not generate enough business. Rather than having to determine where to open a restaurant and worry about the old real-estate adage "location, location, location," the owner can actually drive to a new location, location, location if business is poor.

For customers, you add the convenience of having food favorites right outside a particular location -- or inside with a kiosk -- and meet several needs by serving mobile food. First, you offer food that is cost friendly because you need not pay wait staff or bussers. You also offer the convenience of quick service. In many cases you provide food choices that can save those on a busy schedule from the need to sit down. Typically customers can eat street foods while en route to their next destination. Finally, mobile food is often fun to eat and (if it's good) great to talk about.

Goin' Mobile: Your Options Even before you decide what foods to sell, you'll want to consider how you want to sell them.

Clearly, your decision on how to sell your foods will depend on:

Your startup money, budget and potential for returns Your commitment to the business: part time, full time, etc. Your creative ideas and what it will take to fulfill them Your experience at running a business The size of the business you want to start Your ideal demographic

These are a few of the considerations you will consider as you proceed, but for now, let's take a look at the common mobile-food entities.

Food Kiosks

Food kiosks are essentially booths or food stands that are temporary or mobile facilities used to prepare and sell food. Malls and stadiums are popular locations for food kiosks, which sell anything from pretzels and ice cream to more elaborate fare.

Although kiosks may have wheels, they are not mobile under their own power and in most cases need to be assembled. Most kiosks are rectangular and have room for two people to work within or stand behind, preparing and serving the food. They also have counter space and overhead signs.

The low overhead, flexibility and ease by which a kiosk can be opened and closed are among the reasons they're so popular. They are also an excellent choice in areas where your outdoor selling season would be limited by cold or nasty weather. Of course, the size of the kiosk limits the inventory, so it's important for a kiosk owner to carry as much as possible and price accordingly so that she can make money on what is on hand each day. Because they are usually operating indoors, kiosk owners typically sign licensing agreements at malls, stadiums, movie theaters, or other locations. Many major food businesses such as Ben & Jerry's and Baskin-Robbins franchise express kiosks.

Food Carts and Concession Trailers

The food cart and the concession trailer have been around for decades and combined are a multibillion-dollar industry today. The best known have always been hot-dog and ice-cream carts. They are among the most cost-effective ways to start a mobile food business because the carts are typically pulled by your car, truck or van, or pushed by hand. Food is either prepared in advance or purchased ready to sell -- like ice-cream pops or cups of Italian ices -- and stored, and then either heated up or pulled from the freezer. Carts are also fairly easy to maintain, and in many counties and communities, require less licensing than the full-size food trucks. It is also cost-effective if you choose to own several carts and hire friends, family or other employees to help run them for you.

There are two basic types of food carts. One has room for the vendor to sit or stand inside and serve food through a window. The other uses all the space in the cart for food storage and cooking equipment, which is typically a grill. The precise type of cart you'll want should be determined largely by the food being offered.

Modern-day food-cart owners have cleaned up the somewhat greasy reputation of street-food vendors. They have also expanded their menus. Kebobs and gyros came on the cart scene awhile ago, and vegetarian and Mediterranean salads have also caught on, as well as fish and chips. The Euro Trash food cart in Portland, Ore., for example, offers items like a prawn baguette with Portuguese curry prawns. And then there's Portland's Pie Lab, with slices of pie -- extra for ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Trailers, like carts, do not move under their own power, limiting their potential locations. Food trailers are often found at fairs, carnivals, sporting events, or other places where they can be unhitched and sit for awhile. Unlike most carts, trailers allow for cooking and have room for two or three people inside. Skillet Street Food in Seattle operates from an Airstream trailer with a full kitchen within. In short, a trailer can provide more options than a cart but is still less expensive than a truck.

Food Trucks

The food truck can carry any number of foods, and in some cases, more sophisticated equipment for storing, serving, cooking and preparing foods. Traditional food trucks were known for providing lunches, typically stocking sandwiches, kebobs, tacos, burgers and other standard fare for the lunch crowd. Many have expanded to include healthier vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as not-so-healthy barbeque ribs. They do big business in corporate parks and places that have limited access to restaurants. Most food trucks are stocked from concessionaires, but there is a growing number that are associated with fast-food and midlevel restaurants. Sizzler and California Pizza Kitchen, for example, are putting together their own food trucks, as are other chains.

Larger than carts, trucks can carry more food and handle more business. However, food trucks need more space to park both when doing business and when off-duty. Essentially, there are two types of food trucks. One is the mobile food preparation vehicle (MFPV) where food is prepared as customers wait, hopefully not very long. The other is the industrial catering vehicle (ICV), which sells only prepackaged foods. An MFPV costs more than an ICV, and both cost more than a food cart. For example, a used hotdog cart may cost under $2,500, while a retrofitted used food truck would typically cost $30,000 or more. A newly designed food truck retrofitted MFPV with new all equipment could cost you upward of $100,000.

Complying with health-department rules and regulations can also drive up food-truck costs. Clearly, a smaller truck, a used truck, or a truck with limited equipment costs less. Therefore, it is up to you to determine whether you'll be cooking in the truck, preparing food somewhere else and serving from the vehicle, or selling prepared and prepackaged foods.

Gourmet Food Trucks

Basically the same as a food truck, the gourmet food truck takes food quality to a higher level. They are run by ambitious young chefs who offer cuisine not typically found in food trucks, such as specialty crepes, kimchi pork-fries, osso bucco, velvet cupcakes, or the chicken marsala meatballs with cilantro chutney found in the Great Balls on Tires gourmet food truck. Like Great Balls on Tires, many gourmet trucks have specialties and themes. In addition, they let their clientele know where they'll be parked through their websites and social media sites like Twitter. While food trucks need not have kitchens, gourmet trucks are more likely to have food prepared on the spot -- and high-end food at that. At the start of the new gourmet food-truck craze, Los Angeles was clearly the place to find such high-end dining. Now, however, New York has gained its share of such fancy food vehicles, such as the Rickshaw Dumpling Bar and The Dessert Truck founded by a former Le Cirque pastry chef. And as the concept of serving fine food rolls along, other cities from Portland, Ore., to St Louis and on down to Miami's South Beach are jumping on the foodie bandwagon with their own regional favorites. Food Network chef Ingrid Hoffmann's black and pink Latin Burger and Taco Truck, for example, has become quite the rage in Miami.

The Mobile-Catering Business

Mobile-catering trucks can be defined in a variety of ways and can overlap with mobile food trucks. Here are three differences: First, a catering truck is hired for a specific event such as a picnic, party or fair. Secondly, the person hiring the catering vehicle can select from a catering menu. Third, a catering vehicle can be used to transport the foods, which are then handed out from inside the truck or set up at the event or gathering, typically on trays or buffet style. This can mean providing the food to be served outdoors or parking and serving from the truck as the food trucks do. The differences are primarily in the manner of doing business. Nonetheless, the need for a reliable vehicle, licensing, permits, sanitary conditions, a business plan, and startup money are quite similar to the requirements of a mobile-food business.

One of the advantages of a mobile-catering business is that you are not risking as much in inventory because you are cooking and bringing food as ordered for the party. Therefore, you are covered for your food costs. You also have a specific destination, so you need not worry whether your favorite destinations will be busy. Typically, you are less dependent on good weather because many catered functions will be indoors. As long as you can get there with the food, you are usually OK. Of course, you do need to line up enough work to support your business. The difference between a mobile-catering business and other catering businesses is that you are using the mobility of the truck to show up rather than having a catering hall or venue.

Can You Handle the Heat?

While it may look easy, the food-truck industry takes a lot of hard work. For Scott Baitinger and partner Steve Mai who run the famous Streetza pizza truck in Milwaukee, Wis., a typical day starts three or four hours before taking the truck out on the road. "First we'll stop at Sam's Club or Restaurant Depot and pick up fresh ingredients. Then we go to our off-site commissary kitchen where we do all the prep work, which includes rolling the dough, making sauces, cutting the vegetables, and all of the things you really can't do in a 10-by-10 truck," explains Baitinger, who still works a day job in advertising but handles the truck on nights and weekends. Mai runs the weekday shifts except at times in the winter when no one in Milwaukee wants to trek outside in three feet of snow -- not even for pizza.

Then the Streetza team, which also includes a small staff on various shifts, parks at well-selected locations and prepare and sell food. At the end of a day, which is typically when they run out of food or the crowds have dissipated, comes the cleanup. "It's a lot like a restaurant cleanup with stainless steel cleaners, scrubbing, mopping, and making sure everything is in perfect shape to start again tomorrow," adds Baitinger.

Most mobile food business owners follow a similar set routine, whether it includes running the kiosk, cart or truck themselves or having employees run it. The routine, as is the case with Streetza, may include very early morning food shopping a few days a week, if not every day. Then there is stocking the kiosk or vehicle and heading to your destination(s). There is also a need to take some time during the day for marketing, usually via Twitter or another social media. Most mobile food vendors work roughly 10 hours a day. There are also days in which a business owner needs to sit down in a quiet office space, preferably at home with his feet up, and do all of the bookkeeping: paying taxes and bills, renewing licenses, and handling other fun paperwork responsibilities. The work is tiring and the day is long.

Can you handle such a day on a regular basis?

Full article http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220060

Driver Regulations In The Uk For Hgv Vehicles

There are regulations for drivers of heavy good vehicles (HGV) which are often used for same day delivery, are not the same as those of the normal vehicles. In the UK a driver who does not abide by such rules and regulations can be penalised or the company he or she is working for can be made to pay that penalty. Some of those regulations include:

The Driver Must Have A HGV Licence

Just because you have a normal licence does not mean that you are licensed to drive HGV vehicles. You have to go for an official HGV licence so that you can drive such a vehicle. The licences come in two forms depending on the maximum weight the vehicle can carry. Those licences include the N2 and the N3, where the N2 is for those vehicles that can carry a maximum of 12 tonnes and a minimum of 3.5 tonnes. For the latter, the maximum allowed mass is beyond 12 tonnes.

Keep Up To Date With The Road Regulations

Different road rules and regulations will change now and then. Also, the road signs are subject to change which means that you have to refresh what you already know. A good driver should ensure that they have this in check as it will help you to carry out your operations with ease. You thus have to keep updating yourself on the rules and signs on the road to stay abreast with what is happening on the road.

Annual Vehicle Testing For Roadworthy

You have to take the trucks for check-up and testing to see if they are roadworthy. It is an annual testing process that aims to make sure that roadworthy vehicles are on the road and those which do not pass the test do not make their way on the road. As a driver, you have to provide proof of this when the need arises.

You Should Only Drive For Up To 10 Hours Daily

It is the maximum number of hours which you are allowed to drive. Driving such heavy vehicles for long distance can take a toll on your body. Your body needs to rest and thus you should not drive for too long beyond the set limit. Driving for a long time can lead to accidents and violation of such a regulation can lead to hefty penalties or failure for the insurance company to compensate for the risks if they occur.

You Should Take Breaks Within Driving Hours

The regulations for drivers of HGV vehicles do not specify when or after how long you should take the breaks. In that case, it can be cumulative. However, if you are driving 9 hours a day, then you should take about 45 minutes break in that day. For example, after driving for 4 or 5 hours, you can take 45 minutes break before you proceed to drive for another 4 or 5 hours. Also, you can choose to drive for 2 hours and rest for 15 minutes, take over again and drive for 3 hours, take a 20-minute break and 10 minutes break in 2 hours' drive. Provided that all these breaks add up to 45 minutes for a 9-hour drive, you will be in line with the driver regulations for HGV.

How To Save Money On Your Tow Truck Insurance

Saving money on commercial auto insurance should be a priority, yet it is important not to decrease the amount of coverage you already have. If one of your trucks is involved in an accident and your business does not have the right coverage it can cost you financially. Not only will you have to pay to get the truck repaired you are going to lose out on business while it is in the shop. There are much better ways to save on insurance rather than cutting your coverage. Let's take a quick look at a few options.

Raising the deductible might be a very good option for your business. It is going to help save you money in the here and now. If your truck is stolen or damaged in the future, you will just have to pay a little more out of your pocket.

Having the best drivers possible is as good of way as any as lowering your costs. Make sure that a motor vehicle report is run on every new hire. You can ask your insurance company to help you with this process, just be sure to notify your drivers in a timely manner. Keep in mind that businesses that require larger vehicles and drivers with a CDK often qualify for special discounts, so be sure to ask.

It is also important to choose your payment plan carefully. Many insurance agencies charge a much higher finance charge with some of their payment plans, while others offer no flexibility. Your goal is to find an insurer who offers low initial payments with no finance charges and has the ability to be flexible.

Without a doubt you never want to jump on the first insurance policy you see, take the time and shop around. You can save a substantial amount of money by ensuring that you choose the best plan for your business. Take the time to research and understand coverage, available services, and carriers to help you make the most informed decision possible.

There are services that are designed specifically for tow companies such as garage keepers legal liability and on-hook legal liability. On-hook legal liability simply covers towed property. Just recently a large insurer expanded this coverage to take into account more than just the vehicle in tow. Personal items, raw material, and equipment are now covered. In addition, any transaxle or transmission damage is now included in coverage as well. The limits for this insurance coverage have increased to $100,000.

Whereas garage keepers legal liability covers any vehicle that is being stored, repaired, or serviced at up to three business locations. The same amount of $100,000 coverage is in effect.

Be sure to always ask if you are eligible for any discounts. There are many insurance carriers who offer discounts for payments in full or those who have been in business for several years. By taking the time to review your insurance at regular intervals can help save money and allow your business to prosper. Take the time to contact an agent today and ask them what options are available for your business. Click here buriedcar.com/tow-truck-insurance-cost to read more about tow truck insurance costs.

Purchasing The Right Tyres For Your Vehicle

Purchasing the right tyres for your vehicle depends on several factors like cost, safety, appearance, brand, and comfort. There are crucial steps involved to make sure that you obtain the right set of wheels for your vehicle.

When it comes to price, you have a choice between a premium and a budget type of tyre. The premium ones are for high performing vehicles, such as Formula One and luxury cars. If you own this type of vehicle, you can even fit it with custom wheels. The budget ones are for everyday cars and for those who are watching the expenses for maintaining their cars and looking for the cheapest tyre available.

Fitting Your Car with the Right Type of Tyre

A specialist from a tyre shop can recommend the right kind of tyre that is suitable for your vehicle. Prices vary depending on the tyre and vehicle type. A good quality tyre can endure any type of weather. If you cannot decide on your own, you can talk to an expert regarding the best type of tyre that your car needs.

Used Car

If you purchased a used car, it is important that you inspect the tyres to make sure they are the right ones. If you are uncertain about it, check the handbook that goes with it. However, if it does not go with a handbook, you may be able to find the information online. Better yet, you can also consult a specialist, so you can replace your set of wheels in case you have the wrong ones.

Different Types for the Same Vehicle

There are vehicles that can be fitted with different tyre types. In this case, one set could be cheaper than the other. This is the reason why cost is a huge factor in deciding on the type of tyre. Many people prefer the budget type of tyre if they are suitable for their vehicle. An advantage of this type is that it is easy to replace because there are more of them in demand.

Conclusion

The price is such an important factor when purchasing tyres for your vehicle. This has become even more crucial because of the increasing costs of maintaining a car. A specialist from a tyre shop would have a good idea of the type of tyre that you need for your car. You must also do a research because some of them may just want to have a quick sale.

The Best Hovercraft Manufacturers

Deciding who are the best manufacturers and where to buy a hovercraft is a difficult question because the playing isn't level, as the English might say. For one thing, it depends on your budget and the purpose of you purchase. Someone looking for leisure hovercraft will have very different criteria when searching for hovercraft for sale than someone who wants an ACV for racing purposes. Another consideration quality. If your budget is a little tight, then you might forego some of the bells and whistles of the up-market models for a solid basic craft that just does what you want and is a bit spartan to the eye - more info leisure-hovercraft.com.

Not every manufacturer produce air cushioned craft specifically for racing, as it's quite a specialized field. The hull is normally very thin but lightweight and often fabricated from reinforced glass fiber. The downside is that this material splits, although it is very rigid, and is very light when compared to most plastics or an aluminium hull. Racing vehicles are stripped of all components that just aren't required to help the machine goes faster, for that is it's purpose! It will certainly hug the ground, and so the skirt may be less substantial than most other smaller craft.



Although safety is a consideration, speed is the first priority as sportsmen generally accept a certain level of danger as part and parcel of their particular sport. Leisure hovercraft, however, are a different kettle of fish. Although they can clip along at up to 40 kph, speed is not their prime function. These babies are designed for adults and kids to have fun by skipping very the surface of terra firma, lake or sea, but in total safety, which makes complete sense for a family man taking his kids out for an exciting ride in something completely different.

The answer is therefore 'it depends on what you want it for'! It's highly probable that the number of leisure type personal hovercraft on the market far outnumbers the racing variety, so there's an amazing amount of choice with wide options to suit your budget. There's even a company based in Brazil called Hovery who market an inflatable model that packs away in the trunk of a car and takes just 15 minutes to get up and running. Options include one or two engines, depending on the number of passengers, and you can even buy one with an electric motor which is the way to go for our planet.

A Look Into The Presidential Limousine

Limo One, arguably the worlds safest presidential limo, is no James Bond sci-fi fantasy. While its specs are not disclosed for security reasons, what can be said is how its got a pretty great deal of armor, equipment and prestige.

With Luxury Road Events, you get a little taste of how it is being driven around like the President of the United States. Their party buses may not be as armored as the presidential limo or equipped with the same gadgets, but they can provide complete safety and convenience for you, your family members and friends. Clients are treated with an unquestionable VIP service to events such as business meetings, corporate functions, formal events, wine tastings, brewery tours and more. It doesnt matter whether the need is for one person or a large group of guests. All requests can be accommodated.

American cars have been selected throughout history to transport the most important individual in the United States. A variety of them have been commissioned since the late 1930s, as implemented by the Federal Government. As for the current heavily armored vehicle, referred to by the Secret Service as The Beast, we know that it commenced service on January 20, 2009 in time for newly elected President Obama. General Motors handled the manufacturing, and its design was based on the previous limo during President Bushs time, the Cadillac DTS. Unlike its predecessor, however, this one doesnt carry a specific model name.

If you put a vehicle of standard production and The Beast side by side, theyre practically from two different planets. With regard to looks, its outward appearance does share a lot of current Cadillac styling themes, but its body displays a greatly modified version of the recent DTS-badged presidential cars. Its door handles, side mirrors and headlights all seem to have been sourced from the Escalade model, whereas its backup lights and taillights seem taken from the STS sedan.

A maximum of seven people can fit comfortably in Limo One, and at least three passengers are aboard at all times: Mr. President, the driver and the lead Secret Service protective agent. In the back, there are four additional seats, with one spot next to Mr. President and the other three being rearward-facing spots. The driver has to be a top selection, one whos undergone extensive training and can perform police-style maneuvers in the case of evading attacks.

The extent of protection on The Beast seems to be no joke. Its doors allegedly weigh the same as those of an aircraft like the Boeing 757, while the five-inch thick bulletproof windows are believed to comprise at least five layers. Regarding other rumored details, the armor plating has a thickness of eight inches and the vehicle, as a whole, weighs a total of 20,000 lbs.!

Regarding on-board equipment, youd be surprised if you thought those tools flaunted in action films couldnt all be in one ride in real life. The Beasts trunk comes fully prepared for any extremes with shotguns, oxygen tanks, firefighting equipment, tear gas canisters, grenade launchers (only speculated) and even a cache of blood type that matches the presidents! Indeed, this limo isnt just some royal carriage. Its ready to do everything it can to guard the most powerful man in the U.S., if not the free world.

The Marine Battery And It's Different Configurations Explained

Choosing the right battery for your boat can be very confusing, especially if most of your experience is involving cars. There are also a lot of helpful people that will give you wrong information about batteries, it's not their fault, this is a long-standing problem even among some battery sales people. Let's examine the difference between the regular marine battery, the deep cycle battery for marine use, and the AGM marine type battery now.

Automotive Batteries Will Start Your Engines Fine

The problem with using a car battery in your boat is that they're constructed differently inside. Boats tend to slam into the waves hundreds of times per hour and a car battery isn't made to take the hits.

If you were to open up the two types of batteries you would immediately see that the lead plates are laid out differently in each of them. The marine battery is built to take a constant pounding at wildly different angles as the boat goes vertical one minute and horizontal the next.

You'll also see that there are spacers and supports separating the plates in the marine style battery that helps keep them apart. Once they touch, that part of the cell is shorted out and dead. A car battery won't have the spacers or the extra support because it doesn't need them.

A Deep Cycle Marine Battery Is Different As Well

A deep cycle battery is made to run appliances like refrigerators, radios, and microwaves or run electric trolling motors. These uses draw low amounts of power over long periods of time. If you run a deep cycle battery all the way down, it will still take a charge and not be ruined like a regular battery would.

The difference between the "marine" deep cycle and a regular deep cycle is again, the supports for the plates inside so it can take the beating of being on the water and pounding the waves. Other deep cycle batteries are used in solar applications, golf carts and computer backup UPS devices.

An AGM Battery Is Built To Take Up Side Down Use

AGM stands for "absorption glass mat" and that's because there are mats, similar to fiberglass, built into the battery between the lead plates. These batteries are slightly more powerful that regular batteries and can also handle being completely turned upside down during usage without spilling or harming the battery.

These batteries are especially good when used in applications where the vehicle will be in many different positions, like boats, ATV's, 4 wheel drives, and airplanes. The military is especially fond of then because many military uses involve off-road driving and they need a dependable battery at all times. Regular batteries are prone to leaking and the battery acid is especially bad for electronic components that could be ruined by just one spill.

Now that you can see the differences between the different batteries you can understand why people get so confused. When you go into the battery store it's important to explain the exact uses that the battery will be used for in order to get the right one for your application.



#TheMarineBatteryAndItsDifferentConfigurationsExplained

Why Trucking Companies Need A Fleet Vehicle Tracking System



The trucking industry and delivery industry is a multi billion dollar giant. The problem is their is quite a bit of loss in the industry as well from the wrong trucks being dispatched to runs and the dispatcher providing people with the wrong routes. This is when people may want to know more about why their vehicles need a fleet tracking system. Once people know about this, it is going to be easy for people to know if the vehicles are going to be dispatched with the right vehicle being sent to the right location or not.

Cost savings is a major sticking point for a lot of companies. The companies will generally want to know the cheapest way possible to move the vehicles around and often when the drivers are relying on their own skill they can find the route to get where they need to be, but it may not be the fastest route. With that being said, people need to realize these tracking systems can start to route the vehicles around to the areas that are going to benefit them the most and allow them to get to the area they need to be at.

Dispatching issues will be resolved is going to be one of the other things that people are going to enjoy. While most of the time people never think about this, they need to realize their are going to be problems with the vehicles being dispatched improperly because their were closer vehicles or their were other vehicles that can handle the job. So this is going to be a great step in the right direction in the time savings on the driver and even the company because they will have a lower amount of waste being done because they will finally be able to get the proper drivers to the right area.

When people are looking at their trucking company they may not realize their are a variety of ways for them to save quite a bit of money. The problem is so many companies miss out on these opportunities that it is not funny. This is when people should know more about why they should be using a fleet tracking system. By knowing more about why they should be using these systems it is going to be easy for them to save quite a bit of money and make better business deals because of the savings.