Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Mark Hamilton of Mark’s Grill out of Memphis, Tenn. Hamilton worked in computer programming and IT for over 30 years before aborting his corporate gig and operating a different kind of program entirely: Mark’s Grill. With no formal training or restaurant experience, simply a love of cooking Hamilton got to work building his truck during the evenings and weekends while still employed.
In this exclusive interview, Hamilton shares his methodology for serving fast, crave-able food and shares his secret on how to avoid the “wear out factor” that plaques so many food trucks. To solve this problem, Hamilton prescribes a mindset shift to a “more the merrier” philosophy. If you’ve got at least 3 – 4 food trucks parked around you, you can visit the same location multiple times while avoiding burnout from customers. By working as a group you can also attract more attention. You’ll find all this advice and specific tips on increasing the work flow of your kitchen in this episode of the Food Truck Empire Podcast.
What You’ll Learn
- How Hamilton worked with his city council in Memphis to negotiate and help educate local government about food trucks.
- Why Hamilton decided to create his own vehicle, purchased a Morgan Olson 18 foot cargo step van, gutted it, and put in a complete restaurant kitchen.
- Learn how the kitchen of Mark’s Grill was designed for speed and efficiency. It’s pretty intense.
- How Hamilton built a workflow for taking orders, gathering items, and getting product out the window as quickly as possible.
- Why the speed at which you can serve customers can literally make or break a food business
- How to identify a food niche in your area
- How Hamilton trains a team of four people to operate the truck
- Why you should invest a lot of time considering the layout of your mobile kitchen
- The importance of having multiple locations to park
- Why you should always work in teams of food trucks and never park alone
Mentioned in the Episode
Mark’s Grill – This is the official website of Mark’s Grill. Check out the menu and find out where in Memphis the truck will be located next.
Morgan Olson – This is the brand of van that Hamilton purchased for his business.
Shelby Farms – A major park in the city of Memphis where you can often find Mark’s Grill.
The Mobile Restauranteur’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Reviews – This is the post I put together to help you manage the listings people see when they type the name of your food business into Google and other search engines. I explain this in more detail on the show.
P.S. If you’ve got a food truck that we should fund and feature for the month of November, please let me know. I’m actively searching for the right truck now and hope to make an announcement in 1 – 2 weeks.