Featured Client – Sweet Aloha Food Truck

Featured Client – Sweet Aloha Food Truck

Each month, Insure My Food shines the spotlight on a featured client doing big things in the mobile food industry.  For June, we introduce Sweet Aloha, LLC based in Royersford, PA. Janeen and Bryan Algeo brought a whole new cuisine to the Philly burbs! 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.

Back in the winter of 15/16, we took a trip to to the Hawaiian Islands and fell in love with the culture and cuisine. The whole Aloha lifestyle, a way of living and treating each other with love and respect was so intriguing to us and we wanted to bring a piece of it back east with us to share with others. We tried to build our brand on just that, giving people the Hawaiian feel in Pennsylvania, and what better way to do that than through the Hawaiian cuisine! We also saw a need to give people a healthy, nutritious, but tasty alternative on the run to promote a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating. These two things paired great together and that is how we came up with the name “Sweet Aloha.”
To develop our menu we visited every Acai/ Smoothie bar we could find from Hawaii to Southern Cali to New York City! We looked at how they made their bowls and developed our recipes with the best taste in mind. We decided to start our adventure in April of 2017 and we operate in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in and around the Limerick/Collegeville/Pottstown/King of Prussia areas.

How did you first go about finding spaces and events to sell around? Do you have any tips for first timers?

We basically started by going to some of our friends gyms and selling there. From there it spread by word of mouth, Facebook and Instagram. Social Media is a great way to get your name out there but ultimately it came down to great family and friends (which is our “Ohana” Hawaiian for family) to help us get it out there.

Describe one of the major successes or memorable moments you’ve had since opening your trailer.

We have memorable moments every day we are out. When we here the responses and see everyone enjoying what they are tasting (most for the first time) it means so much to us that we are able to give people a great product at a great price.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve either been given or can give to people looking to start in this industry?

Make sure you are thorough when exploring the guidelines for the Health Department and County.

What are some challenges you have as a food truck owner in your area?

The biggest challenge for us we educating the public on our product. Acai and Pitaya are new to the area although they have been around forever in Hawaii and So Cal. They are starting to catch on now in the shore points in the east.

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?

Facebook and Instagram are are great resources to reach people in any area!

Let’s talk about social media presence – where can we find you online?

We are on Instagram and Facebook. Our website has menu and other information. Facebook and Instagram work best for us.

How To Start A Food Truck Business in San Antonio, Texas

How To Start A Food Truck Business in San Antonio, Texas

So you’ve decided that you are going to open up a food trailer or food truck in San Antonio.  Congratulations! We have created a basic outline to help you with the necessary steps needed to open up your business. Although the outline is intended specifically for mobile food vendors in San Antonio, TX, the process and regulations are often similar in different cities and states.  You can use this outline for starting either a food truck or food trailer.

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Step 1: Filing a Limited Liability Company For Your Food Trailer

It is very common for food service businesses to form an LLC. You can find out more info here.

Step 2: Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit

Before you can receive your Mobile Food Vendor Permit you will need to have a Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit. You can find out more information here.

Step 3: Do Your Research and Join the SAFTA

The San Antonio Food Truck Association is a coalition of trucks working together for the betterment of the mobile food community.  Look into joining and also look for owners who may be willing to mentor you or share their experience working within city limits.

Also, the City of San Antonio has a helpful page on gathering the items you’ll need for your mobile vending business by category.  Current regulations for the city are also listed here.

Step 4: Buying a Food Trailer or Food Truck

Although you may be able to find good deals on Craigslist for used food trailers or food trucks, there are also many great food trailer and food truck builders in Texas! One benefit of buying a newly manufactured food trailer is that the builders are usually knowledgeable about requirements to pass a City of San Antonio Health and Fire Inspection. You will also have the peace of mind knowing that all of your equipment is new and not damaged or aging.

Here are a few Texas builders to consider:

Smokin Joe’s Trailers

Sanchez Trailers

Custom Made Trailers

Step 5: Buying Insurance for Your Food Trailer or Food Truck

We recommend purchasing $1,000,000 worth of liability insurance and property coverage on your food trailer or food truck as soon as you purchase so that you are immediately protected from accidents or theft.  We have two helpful blogs that dive deeper into your coverage options:

What type of insurance does my food trailer need?

All you need to know about food truck insurance coverage

With a food truck, you will also need commercial auto insurance before you drive the truck on public roads.We can help here! Get a quote for your food trailer or truck

TIP: Many landlords require you to have $1,000,000 worth of general liability insurance before they will let you sell food on their property.

Step 6: Registering Your Food Trailer or Food Truck with the DMV

Before you can apply for a Mobile Food Vendor Permit, you will need to register your trailer with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles here.

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Step 7: Get Your Food Managers Certification For Your Food Truck

In order to pass your health inspection, you will need your Food Managers Certification displayed inside of your food trailer. You can find out more information and testing options here.

TIP: We suggest paying a bit extra to have your Food Managers Certification stay valid for 5 years because the class takes a full workday day to complete.

Step 8: Get Your Background Check

Request your background check at SAPD Records Unit at 214 W. Nueva (8 am – 4 pm.) The fees for local, state and national background checks are $59.25, only cash or money orders are accepted as payment. You will receive a response BY MAIL after the local and DPS background checks are completed (4 – 6 weeks.) This statement will remain valid for 90 days from the issue date.

Step 9: Set Your Appointment for Inspection

This is the packet that you will need to submit to the Health Department before they will inspect your food trailer or food truck and issue you a Mobile Food Vendor Permit. Mobile Vending inspections are done on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.  Appointments may be made by calling 210-207-8853. Inspections will be conducted at a site designated by the vendor (must be in City of San Antonio limits and not residential property).

The city breaks down specific requirements by operation, which is helpful when preparing for your inspection.

For a complete list of all mobile vending regulations, refer to City of San Antonio Ordinance Chapter 13.

Finding A Central Prep Facility

In order to pass inspection, you must find a Central Prep Facility to use. Many food trailers and food trucks use their CPF strictly to dump grey water, get fresh water, and dump grease.

There are currently seven approved commissaries in San Antonio that can issue Notarized Commissary Letters that will be honored by San Antonio Metro Health. Those facilities are listed:

  • B & S Mobile Catering and Vending Supplies · 2805 Commercial Ave 78221 · 210.924.5323
  • Best Foods of San Antonio · 5312 Rittiman Road 78218 · 210.662.7204
  • Pinky’s Shaved Ice · 1301 E. Elmira St. 78212· 210.385.6209
  • Myrna’s Catering · 161 Ward Ave. 78223 · 210.609.8585
  • TBS Foods · 1910 Arvie 78253 · 210.767.2222
  • Potranco Commissary · 12135 FM 1957 / 78253 · 210.858.8124
  • Cheesy Jane’s · 4200 Broadway @Hildebrand 78209 · 210.826.0800
  • Mission Trail Mobile Vendor, Waste Management & Services · 3500 Orkney Ave 78223 · 210.928.8285

Step 10: Get Ready to Hit The Road

Congratulations on passing your inspection and getting your clearances!  You are now ready to roll.  Be sure to check out the City of San Antonio’s website for all regulations that need to be followed.

TIP: Mobile vendors in residential areas can only operate from 7 am to one half-hour after sunset. In the months of June, July, and August, those units may extend their hours of operation to 10 pm.

Helpful Links

Propane Delivery Companies:

Absolute Propane

Garnett’s Propane

Grey Water and Grease Removal Companies:

Texas Disposal To have grey water removed from your trailer OR portable restroom servicing

Diesel Green Fuels To recycle used cooking oil

Kitchen Towel/Laundry Delivery Companies:

Admiral Linen

Linen Service

 

Insure My Food was designed by an insurance agency that gets food trailers and food trucks

We understand the challenges and needs of your business and are committed to supporting the mobile food community.

Not only do we offer food trailer and food truck insurance in almost every state, we insure many types of mobile food vendors including concession trailers, food carts, pop-up vendors, street vendors, food stands, and catering trailers.

Contact Us for a free, no obligation quote or if you have any further questions.  From our small business to yours, we’re here to help you succeed!

How to protect your Food Trailer, Food Truck and Equipment

How to protect your Food Trailer, Food Truck and Equipment

No doubt, you have poured countless hours, and what seems like an endless amount of money to create your food trailer, concession trailer, or food truck business. It makes sense to protect those investments with a good loss prevention plan to prevent all those efforts from being ruined in an instant!

Loss prevention:

An often overlooked first step by many mobile food vendors…how do you prevent a loss from ever occurring?

This is a smart first step for savvy business owners.  Insurance policies will have deductibles to encourage loss prevention and being shut down due to a loss is a huge burden worth avoiding.

1) Inventory your items. This can help recover stolen items and provide a guide to insuring for the proper amount. In the event a claim does occur, your preparedness will speed up the process.

2) Good lighting at night and visibility go a long way in protecting from vandalism and theft.  Think solar lights, motion detecting lights, etc.  There are also a plethora of inexpensive cameras/monitoring devices that are well worth the investment.

3) Take extra precaution in securing high theft items such as generators, cash, and computers. Keep them out of sight and secured when not operating.

We created a helpful printable checklist to cover these items and additional Loss Prevention topics here.

Property Insurance:

Even the most cautious food trailer, food concession trailer, and food truck owners can suffer a loss. Unless you’re prepared to replace your truck, trailer, or equipment out of your own pocket, insurance is a smart way to transfer that risk to an insurance company.

1) Determining the proper value for your truck and trailer is step one. The amount you should insure your truck or trailer for is the actual cash value. In other words at the current value, not the value it would cost to buy a brand new truck or trailer. This total should include any equipment attached by bolt, pluming, or gas line. To read more check out our other blog post, What is the value of your food truck or trailer?

2) Your contents not attached to your food truck or food trailer are NOT covered by the coverage on your truck or trailer. These items can be listed under contents separately. If there are any items over 2500 in value, they will need to be reported to the insurance company.

3) Since insurance companies typically insure property at a specific location this can cause gaps in coverage for mobile food vendors. You want coverage for property that regardless if you are heading to an event or at your main location. The term used for property that moves locations is called inland marine insurance; it’s a must for a mobile food vendor.

4) If you upgrade or buy more equipment always notify your insurance carrier right away.

Common Mistakes:

1) Thinking your auto or home policy extends to your trailer for property coverage.

2) Having a policy that only covers you at the address listed on your policy.

3) Assuming contents not attached are covered with your coverage on the truck or trailer.

Insure My Food offers affordable insurance, made easy!  We cover insurance for food trailers, food trucks, and mobile food vendors. We offer a one-page quick quote form.  In addition, we created helpful blogs and resources just for you.  Joel brings over a decade of insurance experience in helping you determine your proper food trailer insurance coverage.

 

What type of insurance does a food trailer need? – Infographic

What type of insurance does a food trailer need? – Infographic

We get the question asked every day…What level of food trailer insurance coverage do I need?

Listen, we know food trailer insurance can sometimes be confusing, this is such a unique industry! You want to find a great price, but also make sure you are covered! We created this to help you visually understand what food trailer insurance you need in order to protect your business. Nobody has ever regretted reviewing their coverage levels when preparing for a possible claim. It is important to put the time into learning about food trailer insurance before it’s too late!

 

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General Liability Insurance

General liability protects you from lawsuits brought against you for injury or property damage to third parties. It does not cover auto related or employee injuries, those coverages are discussed below.

GL food trailer insurance coverage includes your products (food), your premise (slip and fall), personal injury/advertising injury (libel and slander), and property damage to others.

The best part about this insurance is it also covers the legal fees to defend such claims, even if it’s found you were not at fault!

It is smart to have this coverage since we live in a sue crazed world.  Also, it is often required to do business with most landlords, vendors, and commissary kitchens.

Common coverage limits in the industry are 1 million per occurrence, 2 million aggregate (total claims per year).

To read more about general liability for food trailers and food trucks see our blog post:

General Liability Insurance 101 for mobile food vendors

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Food Trailer and contents Property coverage (Inland Marine)

You pour countless hours and money into your food trailer, so you want to make sure your investment is protected!

Property coverage is otherwise known as inland marine (property that moves over land) coverage for your food trailer or other business equipment.

A common mistake we see is owners assuming your auto insurance policy automatically extends coverage to the vehicle pulling it.  Sadly, it doesn’t.

To read more about property insurance check out our other blogs:

What is the Value of My Food Truck or Food Trailer?

How to Protect Your Food Trailer or Food Truck Equipment

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Auto Liability

For vendors such as food trailers, concession trailers, food carts, pop-up vendors, street vendors, food stands, and catering trailers you will need to speak with your personal auto carrier on if you can keep that policy or if you will need a commercial auto policy.

Either way, you want to make sure you are covered for injury or property damage to others if you cause an accident while driving.

The auto liability applies once you attach the trailer and start moving. Once you park, detach and start operating your mobile food business, the general liability takes over.

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Workers Comp

Workers Compensation Insurance or worker’s comp as it is commonly known pays wage replacement and medical benefits to employees if they are injured. In many states, it’s required by law to carry workers comp and others optional.

To read more on workers comp insurance, check out our blog post:

The Disadvantages for Food Trailers that Don’t Have Workers Comp Insurance

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Additional Coverages

Other coverages are also available as add-ons.

For example, umbrella insurance is excess coverage above and beyond your limits of general liability or auto liability insurance. This coverage is often required by large contracts.

Food spoilage is another optional coverage that can pay for your spoiled food. However, beware that deductibles are often 500 or more, and many food trailers will hold about equal to the deductible.

One of the best additional coverages in my experience is the loss of business income due to an insurance loss.

Often times, even when you suffer a covered claim from an insurance loss, the resulting loss of income while you repair or replace your trailer.  It will at best be a big hit to your income, or more likely put you out of business.

About Insure My Food

Insure My Food provides insurance coverage for many types of mobile food vendors such food trailers, concession trailers, pop-up vendors, concessionaires, snow cone stands, and more.

We are committed to providing our clients the highest quality insurance service combine with our industry knowledge and experience.

We have the knowledge and insurance carrier partnerships to help make the insurance process affordable and easy!

To request an insurance quote click here or call us at (800) 985-7859

Featured Client – M-N-M BBQ Tampa Pig Roast

Featured Client – M-N-M BBQ Tampa Pig Roast

Each month, Insure My Food shines the spotlight on a featured client doing big things in the mobile food industry.  For March, we introduce M-N-M BBQ/Tampa Pig Roast based in St. Petersburg, Florida.  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.

We have been operating in great Tampa Bay area since 2001! We got started as our owner had a love of slow smoked foods, and initially had a lot of success with fresh markets and some festivals. Since then our business has expanded to catering events including weddings, family reunions, and large corporate functions. Some of the best chef’s in the area trust us with their BBQ needs, and we are proud to partner up with them. After 15 years in business we are using our mobile success to open our first restaurant.

How did you first go about finding spaces and events to sell around? Do you have any tips for first timers?

Our area has experienced an explosion of mobile vendors in the past 5-6 years. We prefer fresh markets, catering, and a limited amount of corporate lunch time food truck events. Promoters also offer opportunities. We prefer to work with our food truck association Gulf To Bay Food Truck Association.

Describe one of the major successes or memorable moments you’ve had since opening your trailer.

Serving large events of over 1,000 guests. Truly a challenge, and one we have met well!

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve either been given or can give to people looking to start in this industry?

Do your homework, and pick something unique! When we first started there were some mobile BBQ outfits in our area, none that operated like we do. Since then we have added 12-15 licensed mobiles and dozens of bandits also doing BBQ. I followed my passion for the foods we do, and that shows in our longevity and success. BBQ might not be a viable choice today starting over again as someone new.

What are some challenges you have as a food truck owner in your area?

The industry has changed, we have a lot of trucks.

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?

Social media helps and is a relatively recent phenomenon. When we first stated that wasn’t available. Word of mouth is always a best bet, but that takes time to establish

Let’s talk about social media presence – where can we find you online?

We have a Facebook page at Tampa Pig Roast and M-N-M BBQ. People respond best to posts with pictures and interest stories. We also have a website www.tampapigroast.com.

Insure My Food 2017 Mobile Food Conference Schedule

Insure My Food 2017 Mobile Food Conference Schedule

2017 Mobile Food Conferences

**UPDATED 2/2/17**

2017 is shaping up to be a great year to attend a mobile food conference!  Three different states are hosting expos this year. Joel will be speaking at ROAM and the Columbus Mobile Food Conference.  He will also be on the panel for insurance, trademarks and employment law at the Capital City Convention.

Columbus Mobile Food Conference and Expo

Taking place February 25-26, The Columbus Mobile Food Truck Conference and Expo is back with new topics and more exhibitors. The conference will have over 20 workshops and seminars including an opportunity to attend a separate Food Manager certification course and exam.  The conference will also include some non-food related seminars covering topics such as “Mobile Boutiques”.

Capital City Food Truck Convention

Taking place June 3-4 (NEW DATE!), The Capital City Food Truck Convention is unlike any other conference and trade show in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. This conference gathers together under one roof the industry’s brightest chefs, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders for two days of education, professional development and networking. The convention features workshops for aspiring and current mobile entrepreneurs, event and meeting planners and local government agencies who license and permit food trucks.

ROAM Mobile Food Expo

Taking place October 6-7, Roam Mobile Food Conference is the premier industry event for all things mobile food vending. From food trucks to carts to kiosks, and beyond, ROAM is the first of its kind serving North America’s mobile vending professionals. The perfect event to attend if you own or want to start your own food truck! You will learn about best practices, innovations and trends in mobile vending technology and operations. Also, grow your network with fellow professionals. Suppliers are located in the conference exhibit area to support your growing business!