Each month, Insure My Food shines the spotlight on a featured client doing big things in the mobile food industry. For October, we introduce The 13th Taco from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. Along with his wife Marilyn, Chef David Peraza creates outside of the box, delicious taco creations! 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…
My husband, Chef David, and I (Marilyn) have been in the food business for over 30 years combined. Having had brick and mortar restaurants in the past, we both decided we wanted to look into a food truck for their next restaurant venture. Three years ago, we started looking for a truck. Finally, by accident, we found the truck we would use for our mobile food unit (MFU). We purchased the truck and began the build out process. Chef David, originally from Mexico, specializes in world class Mexican Cuisine, but wanted something more suitable for street venues – simple, but upscaled slightly – made more with the American palette in mind, The 13th Taco was born. Our motto: Everything Fits in a Tortilla! We have had our truck on the road since Friday, May 13th of this year and operate in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.
How did you first go about finding spaces and events to sell around? Any tips for first timers?
Researching the venues where other trucks were going to sell their food. Many postcards were sent out introducing The 13th Taco, and phone calls were made to begin booking dinner services and then lunch services to larger businesses. Tip: Open a facebook page and start marketing your truck early, before it is completely ready to hit the street so people get familiar with your name.
Describe one of the major successes or memorable moments you’ve had since opening your truck.
Our very first event was at a local brewery. Unknown to us, a major food critic came to dine “curb side” with us and loved the food so much that after only two weeks of being open, we had our first “major” review in the News & Observer (Raleigh’s largest newspaper). You can read the review here. Most food establishments (truck or brick and mortar) don’t see a review within the first six month or so of being open. This was major for us. We also just learned that we are going to be featured on the local news. Another huge success for us. The most “memorable” moments are when people receive their plate of either 3 tacos, chips and salsa, or Nachos – take a look at it and say: “Oh Wow” then come back and tell us how much they love the food – That’s what we’re here for!
What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve either been given or can give to people looking to start in this industry?
Don’t run out of food! That’s our advice to you. It’s very difficult to judge how many people you will feed at any given event, so do some research and be as prepared as you can.
What are some challenges you have as a food truck owner in your area?
The biggest challenges have more to do with the permits and ordinances within each city. They are all so different, and unfortunately, although we are really no threat to any of the brick and mortar restaurants, many of them don’t want us around and fight via the city councils and other local offices to keep us away. Sad, because they should realize that we actually help bring more people to areas some people may never go to – thereby introducing them to the surrounding businesses and restaurants as well. Everyone could benefit from the food trucks coming into their areas.
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?
Luckily for us, we have a couple associations specifically for food truck owners/operators in our area. We all support each other and help each other however we can.
Let’s talk about social media presence – where can we find you online?