Tag Archives: Hershey

Year 1 week 3: Down the Rabbit Hole

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
― Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland

I put the headphones on my skull and turned the volume up to 8. “If it’s too loud you’re too old.”, I thought as I eased my weary hide into the plush confines of my leather recliner.  Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”  swirled in my brain as I reflected on the days events.

Dave and I did it. With the help of Michelle my beautiful wife, we completed our first successful event. We made a  profit. It wasn’t perfect, but it was satisfying.

Grace Slick warbled the psychedelic hippy anthem in my ear, “…one pill makes you larger…”

All the fear, all the doubt, all the insecurities and B.S. that haunted my mind were gone. All the frustration, all the questions and all the fear associated with running a successful food truck melted away. I felt at peace.

Dave, with his Cheshire grin, was masterful in the truck. Focused, driven, and calm he produced meals effortlessly; selflessly. The guy looked like he was working in a kitchen his entire life. Dave has soul and I love him for that.

Michelle worked the window with that gorgeous southern drawl that I fell in love with the first day I heard her voice. Burgers and empanadas  flew out the window with ease.

And I, the Mad Hatter, joyously flipped burgers on the grill, flambe’d bananas Foster on the saute station, and ladled out bacon jam carefully, lovingly in a single-minded desire to feed the masses something unique.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was at a dead-end job, unfulfilled and punching the clock like millions of other blue-collar  zombies trying to make a difference inside the big machine. I felt free for the first time in many years and it was all due to Dave and my diligence, sweat, money and time and the support and love of our friends and family. Our dream had become reality.  Rarely are dreams are validated, legitimized and made concrete.

The Airplane droned on,”…and the white knight is talking backwards…”  I thought about the Hippies at Woodstock. I wondered if they would enjoy The Guerrilla Burger. I always had a special place in my heart for that generation. Some of them fought and died in Vietnam while others stayed stateside and protested. They stopped a war with music and art.

White Rabbit reached it’s  crescendo, ” FEED YOUR HEAD… FEED YOUR HEAD.”

I think the Hippies would have loved the Guerrilla Burger.

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Year 1,Week 2. Welcome to the Jungle

Besides  creating amazing food, the imagery on your food truck is probably the single most important marketing tool in your arsenal. A pink truck covered in poodles that serves cupcakes gives off a distinct vibe. An Army green,battle-scarred war wagon with tank tracks gives another.

Dave and I have been meeting with Jeff, our vinyl wrap specialist, at JK Signs in New Cumberland to hammer out some of our ideas and to get some visual cues on what Maybelline would actually look like. We believe our design is edgy, eye-catching and crystallizes Guerrilla Canteen’s military theme.

We got some roughs from Jeff earlier in the week that featured a Gorilla and it felt like something was missing.truck wrap 2

 

Dave summed it up in one sentence, “Maybelline should look like she drove out of the jungle after a battle.”

I looked at the monitor and spoke ” I love the color, Jeff. I like the grunge.”

“But one thing is missing…” I paused ,” Remove the monkey. ..It needs tank treads.”

After looking at photos of half tracks, Jeff chose a suitable image and quickly cropped and sized the treads to fit the rear wheel well of the step van.

Jeff sat back in his chair and said, “This is a rough idea just to see what it looks like.”

I looked over at Dave and He smiled from ear to ear.

Jeff took a breath and swiveled in his chair.” I’m really picky and hard to please.” His eyes widened,” When I’m done with this thing people are going to be touching the vinyl to see if the treads are real.”Truck rendering

I  felt really excited to finally see some progress on the wrap.  Silently I thought,

” Welcome to the Jungle.”

 

Year 1 week 2 Do the Hustle

Excited after having a successful soft opening, Dave and I looked through the comment cards to gauge our performance. ” This one is all 10’s.”, Dave laughed as he held up the Guerrilla Sauce stained paper. Glancing over his shoulder, I recognized my Mom’s handwriting and dismissed it without telling Dave my secret. ” Another one with all nines and tens”, Dave grinned.  As the pile got smaller and we read the results (Best burger ever! Loved the food. You guys rock) it dawned on me. Dave and I did a really good job on our first outing in the food truck. People enjoyed our food and had a great time and Dave and I felt the pride of having our dream come to fruition. That evening after the high-fives and the euphoria of accomplishing our goal, I felt satisfied and stared at the ceiling fan in bed and dreamed of thousand burger food festivals and hundreds of people buying our food.

Dave and I met on several occasions after the event and quickly got to work on securing permits and finding events for us to sell. Our first official calendar date is July 8 but we have a lot of things to accomplish before we are ready to sell. The truck is inspected by the Department of Agriculture of Pennsylvania,  our permits are secured to sell food in Hershey and everything is in place to hit the streets except for three details.

  1. Maybelline needs to get a vinyl wrap  complete with logos, bullet holes and tank treads.
  2. We need a second fridge installed so that we can do volume sales
  3. We need places to sell.

Owning a food truck is teaching us the value of what I like to call “Hustle”. No, it’s not the sleazy Times Square (ca. 1975) Three card Monte hustle designed to steal money from tourists. You hustle while serving food or prepping eM.P.anadas. You Hustle by sourcing quality ingredients at low prices. You hustle by fostering relationships. We are meeting with event organizers, fire hall chiefs, local businesses and anyone who will listen to us.

Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony had a hit in the summer 1975 entitled  “The Hustle”.  It went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts and won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song has two lyrics in its annoying 4 minutes and 10 seconds. The chorus is ” Do the Hustle” and during the intro they say “Do it”.  It’s a pretty good philosophy.  Nike stole the ” Do it” part. I’m stealing the “Do the Hustle” part. Hell, if you buy a Guerrilla Burger from us, I’ll sport a beige leisure suit and boogie down the Soul Train line. So will Dave. Sing along now!  Do the Hustle!  Doot-Doot-Doot-Do-Doot-Da-Doot-Doot….

Day 73: Sneak Peek Guerrilla Uniforms

An soldier’s uniform is a a source of pride. He painstakingly makes sure his creases are sharp. The medals that he has earned are shined and positioned properly. Even the angle that he wears his hat, the shine on his shoes and his personal hygiene are scrutinized by by military specifications. The name of the game is precision, A soldier must look sharp. It’s no different in a food truck so at Guerrilla Canteen we would like to uphold military uniform standards ( with tongue firmly planted in cheek.) Continue reading Day 73: Sneak Peek Guerrilla Uniforms

Day 31: The price of doing business.

moneyDave and I crunched numbers today on the truck build. We are still waiting for Maybelline to come back from the garage. Next week we are thinking of actually doing some frame out and building but that depends on some factors. More on that in a later post.

People say to me all the time, ” Yeah, I’ve always wanted to own a food truck too.”  So ya want to build a food truck? You better get your wallet out. Here’s a ballpark of what some items cost.

  • Upright Fridge         $ 2,000  Q: Why not pick one up at Sears? A: Because Kenmore isn’t NSF Certified
  • Charbroiler              $ 1,100  Q:  Why not just get a grill at Walmart? A:  I don’t like carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Sandwich Station     $2,500   Q:  Why so expensive? A: Because Dave can’t build one in the shed with 2×4’s
  • 4 Burner Range       $   900   Q:  Why do you need a range? A: Because I like to flambe’ stuff with Brandy.
  • Flattop   Griddle       $   900   Q: Are you guys serving Pancakes?  A: No, but you like your Brioche toasted,right?
  • Equipment table       $   500   Q: Five Franklins for a table?  A: Yup, reinforced stainless,NSF heavy duty.
  • Generator                $ 5,000  Q: That’s a lot of dough… A: Ever try to make a taco with no power?
  • Foie Gras Grade A  $      75  Q:  Are you some kind of gourmet snob? A: No. Are you anti-gourmet?
  • Bribe for parking      $    100  Q: Who are you bribing?  A: Cops, politicians, chain restaurateurs.
  • Flowers for my wife  $      30 Q: Why is that an operating cost? A: A thank you. She posts my bail for bribing the cop.
  • The look on your face when you eat our food… Priceless.

Day 29: Nuts and Bolts

Dave and I went and talked to a couple of gas specialists to get an estimate on running gas lines in Maybelline. Dave, Pam and I don’t know anything about running gas lines and setting this stuff up so we are leaving it to the professionals. To quote Dave,” It needs to be safe, done right …I don’t want to burn.”

We are still looking for a certified electrician to set up the electric in Maybelline.  For my feeble non-electrician mind, I would have a better chance of throwing a football to the moon than wiring a food truck. “It has to be safe, done right…I don’t want to fry.”

Munson
                      Kingpin

The price went up on Maybelline’s trip to the garage because she needs new sway bars and a Kingpin. It’s kind of important to have your truck drive straight and turn when you want it to. We don’t want to crash.

We are still working on PROJECT X, we need a good photographer to shoot food porn, a cinematographer to help shoot and edit a Kickstarter film. Still need a logo. Even something scribbled on a napkin would be cool. I set up an appointment with  a food distributor. Need a certified welder to build us a cage and platform for our tanks and generator. I’ve been looking at pricing for a service window. We need a solid back door and a partition built between the drivers compartment and the food service area. We got a lead on a business that will build a hood and fire suppression system.  This is a partial list…Impatient… Just wanna serve food…

I breathe deep. I am a Guerrilla. I am grateful. The Universe takes care of itself.

Day 28: Maybelline Gets New Sneakers

What is it with girls and shoes? My daughter loves shoes, my wife loves shoes and my mom loves them. The Wizard of Oz was all about the shoes. This isn’t a sexist rant where I’m drawing a hasty generalization about all women and their need to have sixteen pairs of pumps in the closet. I’ve read enough Sylvia Plath, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem to not go there. It is a phenomena I can’t figure out,  many girls love shoes. Boots, stilettos,sandals,wedges: It doesn’t matter. Some women are shoe CRAZY.

As a man, I view my shoes in a cro magnon sort of way.  The owning of footwear is a function of utility. Work boots, dress shoes, sneakers, and sandals. That’s it. That’s all the shoes I need. Maybe a pair of casual loafers but no more. If I could get away with wearing no shoes, I would. Continue reading Day 28: Maybelline Gets New Sneakers

Day 27: What color should we paint our food truck?

tank camo

Day 23: Maybelline

scrub 3
                 Dave hitting it hard.

I woke up this morning elated that we were owners of a big, white, diesel, step van.  It felt good to reach a goal in such a short time. Twenty two days into our journey and we have a great start. We have a brand, a menu and now a truck.

The fridge will go over there the fryer and grill here...
The fridge will go over there the fryer and                            grill here…

“Ninety per cent of a man’s success in business is perspiration.” Thomas Edison

Dave and Pam came over In the morning with buckets, soap, and rags to assault 15 years of grime on the interior of the truck and the three of us scrubbed away happily. We didn’t talk a lot and focused on our work. It felt good to prep the giant aluminium box that would soon house ranges, refrigeration, grills, griddles and the rest of the tools of our trade.  Continue reading Day 23: Maybelline