Who doesn’t love a food truck? (Photo: David Mello/Flickr)
Behind the raised windows of the latest trendy food trucks are 16-hour workdays, uncooperative customers, street wars, and occasional run-ins with the law. Yahoo Travel got the real dish from three food truck vendors. Here’s what they said they wish they could tell the customers.
“Read the menu!”
Step 1: Read menu. Step 2: Order food. (Photo: Gary Stevens/Flickr)
It’s a simple process but people always order items that are nowhere on the menu. Or they’ll point to a picture and say, “I want that.” Big, bright menus are directly in front of our truck. Why do you have to ask what’s on the Cuban? Meanwhile, my line is growing. I can’t go through every item. Step aside and read.
“Stop f*#75ing knocking on my truck.”
When my truck is open, you’ll know. Nothing’s worse than when I’ve just pulled up, and customers are banging at the back, asking if I’m open. It’s like there’s a common sense deficit.
“No, I don’t sell ice cream.”
This guy’s truck is the one you want if you’re looking for a frozen treat. (Photo: Gregory Adams/Getty Images)
Please stop asking if I sell ice cream. I’m not the Good Humor man. Everything I sell is listed beside my window, yet I’m asked daily what flavors I serve. My favorite follow-up question is if I sell Italian ice. I guess I wouldn’t have thought to mention that the first time you asked.
“Stop multitasking while ordering.”
An order of our nachos has five ingredients. One customer ordered them as she was talking away on the phone. I know how this goes, so I asked three times if she was sure. When she got them, she said, “Oh. I only wanted nachos and cheese.” Sorry, that’s not what you asked for. Then she got upset and tried to file a complaint. Good luck because I’m my own boss.
“If you want more sauce, eat at a restaurant.”
With such tasty homemade sauces, some customers will go to extremes for the sake of an extra serving. (Photo: MookieLuv/Flickr)
I’m happy to accommodate customers’ requests but some people take it to a new level. One ordered a dish that already comes with sauce. He came back three times to ask for more. It turned into harassment. I almost had him thrown out of the festival. Food trucks are not restaurants. We can’t run to the next room to restock. If one item runs out, that’s it.
“Don’t be cheap.”
How many times do I have to hear, “$2.50 for THAT?” Go to a sports stadium and see how much they charge. Instead of paying a premium to be in major venues, we put our resources into ingredients. As our customer, you’re winning. Be happy.
“Samples are not meal replacements.”
Try it. Like it? Buy it. (Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
When we give out samples, I’ve seen executives come through our line three times…in the rain. They’ll sacrifice their expensive shoes for a freebie. Then they come back with five of their coworkers and repeat. Some days, we travel to various locations in the city. There will be at least a dozen people that follow us to all four spots. They think we don’t notice but I know exactly what they’re doing: waiting around for more and more. And no matter how big or small a sample is, people ask, “That’s all I’m getting?” No gratitude.
“Restaurant owners, stop trying to ruin our business.”
Some restaurateurs try to intimidate food trucks. They lie about us leaving trash and find any excuse to call the cops. A few restaurants complained that my muffler was too loud. I replaced it. The complaints continued. One day, the police, fire department and lieutenant all came to investigate. They determined that I was safe. Less than 24 hours later, the lieutenant returned and told us we had to move. Some businesses feel threatened by food trucks, so they’ll do anything to get in our way. There’s no need. They can have a food truck, too!
“Meter readers, be more considerate.”
When you’re busy cranking out delicious food for the hungry masses, sometimes the meter goes unfed. (Photo: Marc Levin/Flickr)
When I’m wearing gloves, in the middle of making a meal, or taking care of my customers, I can’t stop to put 25 cents in the meter. We’d really appreciate a two-minute courtesy. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but when I’m paying $3,000 in fines, that’s almost my property taxes. We understand everyone has a job to do, but understand that in the time it takes us to take a break, we might be late. In general, if everyone were a little nicer, we’d be a much happier world.
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Video: Gourmet on the Go