What will it take to start and operate a food truck business in Detroit? That is a question that only those who have the experience can confidently answer. Before making a personal commitment to launch your dream business, you have to know more about the business that you are about to get into. That is why we took the initiative to contact Chris and Tracy of The Mean Weenie to ask those questions that matter. Learn more about the business from the experts themselves. Now let’s move on to the interview.

FTE: Please give me a brief background for the benefit of our readers.

TMW: Together with my wife, Tracy, we have been operating in Southeast Michigan since 2013. We serve up an all-American favorite, the Hot Dog, with a culinary twist. To get a glimpse of our menu, pictures, and other information, please visit http://www.themeanweenie.com/.

Lions Game

FTE: Where did you get information about starting a food truck business?

TMW: We started by going to rallies, looking at what was out there and trying to find a niche that we could fit into. We talked with truck operators and asked questions. We also contacted the local Health Department to see what was needed to be done on their end.

FTE: What advice can you give about the licenses needed for the business?

TMW: Always contact the County Health Division to see what you need for the truck, and then contact each city you plan to serve in to check what their ordinances are.

FTE: How do you manage parking issues that a lot of operators often encounter in other cities?

TMW: As for parking, we don’t ever pick a spot and then wait and see what happens. We have corporate and private clients that provide parking areas for us. One tip we can give is always park on private property. This takes the city out of it for the most part. When selling to the public, be sure to have the proper permits from the city. This usually involves a fee. Private events are just that, private. The city has no real say in the matter for as long as you are not on public space.

FTE: There are always unique challenges that food truck operators face in every city. Can you tell us what it is for Detroit?

TMW: The unique aspect of owning and running a food truck is that you have to be a cook, salesman, clerk, mechanic, marketer, PR, accountant, etc. There is always something that will go wrong. You just have to go with the flow and fix on the fly.

FTE: What advice can you leave our readers who are thinking of following in your footsteps?

TMW: There is plenty of business out there. Go out, and get it. Don’t ever give up!

Many thanks Chris and Tracy.


Essential Links


Here are a few websites that have the information you need to help you start your food truck business the right way.

Required State Licenses (Food Cart) – Here is where you should start in your journey towards becoming a food truck owner/operator.

Food Service Licensing – You also need to take a look at this one to get licensing details and official definitions related to food service establishments.

The Mean Weenie – Their products speak for themselves. Go visit their website to learn more about the meanest weenie in the city.

Want to start your own food business?

Hey! 👋I’m Brett Lindenberg, the founder of Food Truck Empire.

We interview successful founders and share the stories behind their food trucks, restaurants, food and beverage brands. By sharing these stories, I want to help others get started.

If you liked this story, sign up for our newsletter that includes our food business startup kit and most popular interviews sent straight to your inbox.

Know someone interesting that should be interviewed on the website? Tell us about them here.