Each month, Insure My Food shines the spotlight on a featured client doing big things in the mobile food industry. For November, we introduce Raw Chef Renee based in Katy, Texas but also ships throughout the entire state! Are you a current client interested in contributing to our blog? Send an email and let us know!
Tell us a little about your truck and how you began…
I discovered the raw lifestyle in 2007 (searching for a way to provide healthy meals for myself and my family) through Alissa Cohen and fell in love with the food. It was my kids who suggested that I photograph my meals that I made for them, which led me to try different raw vegan recipes. I developed a passion for making raw food through Alissa Cohen. I began teaching classes through her certified program in 2010.
I was a flight attendant for Continental (United) Airlines for 20 years at that time. Starting as a Personal Chef helped me to develop a love for making meals for others. My early menus consisted of meals I made for my family. Soon, I began working my gourmet raw business through Tru Meals in Houston, TX. When Tru Meals closed, I was still interested in continuing my professional business. At that point, my Darling Hubby saw an article on food trucks and the idea to have a completely raw, vegan, living food trailer was born! After 6 months of juggling both careers, I prayerfully decided to work my certified food trailer full time because it became something I really loved to do. I stay mostly in the Katy area (close to home), but I do move around the city and do events in Houston.
How did you first go about finding spaces and events to sell around? Any tips for first timers?
Finding a good spot is a challenge for food trucks! Most places want to charge you a space rental fee, but there ARE places that will let you park for free….you just have to search them out. I started by asking myself what part of town I’d like to be in. Then, visit businesses (taking samples of my food and showing them the menu is always a good thing!) and ask permission to park there. You will hear “No’s” before you hear “Yes'”, but don’t give up! 🙂
Describe one of the major successes or memorable moments you’ve had since opening your trailer.
Since opening my food trailer, a major success for me is when I see my regular customers come back each week!!! I love it when people stand outside of my window and talk about how much they love my food!!! People really open up to me about the struggles they have to live a healthier lifestyle and it warms my heart to be able to share my passion with them. 🙂 I also love doing Demos for groups and teaching classes!
What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve either been given or can give to people looking to start in this industry?
I read the greatest piece of advise from the Bible at Matthew 6:22 where it encourages me to “Keep a focused (or simple) eye”. With that in mind, I pay more attention to my family and spiritual needs while keeping my business in the proper place in my life. I do certain things on certain days for the business which helps me to maintain and balance all of my responsibilities.
Another valuable piece of advise I was given came from my mentor, Alissa Cohen. She told me to “Circle my wagons” which means to have people around you who encourage you, build you up and want to see you succeed. Running a food truck business is hard work and sometimes, when business is slow, you can get very discouraged. So, positivity energy keeps me going and helps me to weather the storm when times are hard!!!!
What are some challenges you have as a food truck owner in your area?
Weather is definitely a challenge for me because people don’t seem to come out when the weather is bad, or I am not able to bring the trailer out to serve in rainy or cold weather. I have set up an online order system for those days, which includes delivery, pickup, or shipping (within Texas) options, so that helps!
Networking within your territory can sometimes be a challenge – what are some of the best ways you’ve found to connect with people in your area?
My regular customers allow me to text them when I’m in the area. Also I post my schedule on my website: www.RawVeganChefRenee.com.
I have also found that connecting with vegan meet-up groups or vegan social media groups helps to spread the word!
Let’s talk about social media presence – where can we find you online?
I enjoy taking photos and video testimonies from customers at my trailer and posting them. People love seeing their photo and will share it on their social media page or invite friends to look at it on my pages. Word of mouth or page to page referrals work very well!!!