Want to jump on the food truck trend it’s still hot? With a population base in excess of 250,000 people in Louisville, Kentucky, you’ll be entering a metro market with some well-established players and food vendors growing their brands for years. Establishing yourself here or in any major market won’t be easy.

Still if you’re armed with an incredible work ethic, identifiable brand, and offer unique and tasty food you can become a successful food truck owner. In this interview, Food Truck Empire asked Tristian Barnes of Genius in a Box to share her experience building a food business from the ground up. Follow this advice, work hard, and you might find yourself in a similar position in a few years.

FTE: Introduce yourself to the FoodTruckEmpire.com community.

TB: My name is Tristian Barnes , I’m a fitness trainer and Food Truck owner. I started Genius In A Box in 2011, when the food truck scene first begun in Louisville.

How did you go about starting your business?

TB: The sources I used was Louisville metro codes and regulations to attained a vendor permit and id. Also , had to start my business first by acquiring a tax id # with the state under Mindspill, Inc . After you get your truck and business established, you have to get approved by the health department of the area and receive your licenses to operate in your metropolitan . Once all three are obtained, your next step is cooking and advertising.


FTE: What’s it like operating your business?

TB: With Genius , the food advertises itself because with each bite you know what it means to taste love and passion . The unique about my brand is each sandwich is prepared to order and is names after a renowned Genius of the Past . For example, one of the most popular sandwiches is the Einstein, which is a ribeye steak sandwich. It puts you in the mind of a Philly Steak but has a Genius Twist because it is served on a bagel bun . What inspires Genius is being different and creating a culture where each bite you know you made the smartest choice you could when picking a food truck to patron. “Eat Smart….Grab Genius.”

Still determined to forge your own path by starting a mobile food business? Check out these resources.

The Ultimate Food Truck Case Study – Follow along with Anthony Salvagno as he embarks on his journey to becoming a mobile food entrepreneur. Listen and learn about the process of developing a concept for his business, raising capital and acquiring a food truck is really like.

Mobile Food Vendor Resources in Louisville – Get information on the process for applying for a permit in Louisville, download applications and other documentation needed to start this type of business.

Louisville Street Food Alliance – A terrific resource for all things mobile food in the Louisville area. Find resources for starting a food cart and peruse regular reviews from food trucks that are part of the alliance. If you live in the area, check out this website for sure.

Louisville Food Truck Association – Aligning yourself early on with other vendors can significantly increase your odds of success. After all, networking is a huge part of the game. By banding together with associations you can ensure the voice of your industry is heard locally. It won’t hurt you getting booked for more catering gigs and events happening across Louisville either.

Mobile Food Unit Commissary Guidelines – Official PDF from the Department of Health and Wellness explaining the commissary guidelines for mobile food vendors.


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.

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