Food TV, Building the Story, and Using Pop-ups to Launch a Mobile Food Business | FTE Episode 013

I’m a huge food television fan. Two of my favorites include Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri, but I’ve never thought too much about why I was attracted to these programs. That is.. not until I had the opportunity to speak with today’s guest Allen Tan of MEnU food truck who made me realize it’s not just about the food. It’s about the experience of traveling somewhere and experiencing something new, even if I’m not able to be in Southeast Asia eating noodles with Mr Bourdain.

It’s not just the food. It’s where the food takes you.

This is Allen’s vision: to not just share his story of his own travels (ala Anothony Bourdain) but to bring back the food to you. In this episode of the FoodTruckEmpire Podcast, we dig deep into what into Allen’s story thus far… a story that is very far from over.

In this interview you’ll hear how Allen decided he wanted to build his own mobile food business after years of consuming Food Network television throughout high school and college. Learn how he overcame lack of capital and experience in the industry by donating his time in exchange for learning about the business and to cook. Why he decided to travel across North America, Asia, and Canada to learn the trade. Finally, we’ll catch up with where Allen is at right now and learn how he’s using pop-ups to get real-world experience operating a business.

This is seriously a must listen for anyone that’s struggling to build a mobile food business due to lack of funding, experience, or anything else. I hope you enjoy it! This interview is roughly 26 minutes in length.

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • The common road-blocks put in Allen’s path that prevented him from owning his own business, including lack of capital, student loan debt, and no experience in the industry.
  • How Allen offered his time in exchange for learning the business from food truck owners in his home city of Toronto
  • What it’s like to work as an employee in a food truck
  • The daily grind and habits of a successful food truck owner
  • How a pop-up can serve as a low-cost entry to mobile entrepreneurship
  • How to leverage your network and unique story to push a brand faster

 Mentioned in the Show

MEnUtdot.com The official website of the ME.N.U brand. Travel. Eat. Share.

@meNuFoodTruck – See where Allen will be popping up next by following him on Twitter.

Seoul Sausage – Allen Tan got to meet these guys on the Los Angeles leg of his knowledge quest to learn about the food truck industry. Seoul Sausage was also the season 3 winner of The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. (Personal Note: I want a Seoul Sausage t-shirt.)

Kogi BBQ – Allen also had the opportunity to meet Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ food truck while in Los Angeles. Kogi BBQ is arguably the most well-known mobile food business on the planet.

Food Truck Community – This didn’t come up during the interview, but Allen is also the admin of Google+’s most popular food truck community. (Sort of like an old-school forum but through Google.) If you’re interested in connecting with other mobile entrepreneurs definitely hit that up. It’s free and one of the spots I visit regularly online.

AwesTRUCK 2013 News update! Tan will be doing his first gig in a real food truck at this event on September, 21st. If you live in the Toronto area, show up and show your support.

Stay Connected

Take us with you in the truck by subscribing to us on iTunes. Leave a review and you could even be featured on an upcoming show. As usual, see you next Friday morning for another inspiring episode!

About Support Staff

Brett Lindenberg is the founder of Food Truck Empire and Food Empire Pro. Brett's mission is help to entrepreneurs start and grow profitable food businesses. Since 2014, Brett has interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs on the Food Empire Pro podcast and written hundreds of blog posts on all aspects of food business. Brett has been quoted in media outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine, CNBC, and The Washington Post.