Secret Dinner SocietyToday’s interview is a smorgasbord of culinary nerdery. Our featured guest Terence Rogers explains what an average day in the life of a food truck employee and shares how he hosts pop-up events by hosting secret dinner parties. All this and how to hire and retain talent for a food truck is covered in episode 42.

About the Show

Terence Rogers has been living the food truck lifestyle since April, 2012. Only four months into his first food truck job, Terence was promoted to a management position. It was here Rogers earned the equivalent of an MBA in food truckin’ and started to really understand all the different aspects of operating this unique business in the city of Boston.

In this interview, Rogers dives deep into an account of what an average day in the life is like for an employee. He also shares average wages for employees, best practices for hiring employees, and the pros and cons of hiring contract labor.

Near the end of the program, Terrence shares how he has begun selling tickets for folks to come into his home and eat his food. Terrence is able to charge $35 – $50 for a multi-course meal and talks about how he’s been able to find adventurous foodies through Meetup groups and Facebook to attend these events. Terrence plans to use these pop-ups to get feedback on his meals and raise capital for a food truck in the future.

Quote of the Show

You listen to them. So if they see something isn’t working that well and they suggest an improvement or maybe they’re a good enough cook where they have an idea for a menu item, listen to them and actually follow through with it. – Terence Rogers on retaining talented employees.

What You’ll Learn

  • How a school project for a breakfast delivery system got Terence thinking about food trucks as a business
  • How Terence went from entry-level employee to food truck manager in 4 months on the job
  • A typical day as an employee of a food truck that does a regular lunch service
  • How Boston’s dedicated lottery system makes parking more consistent for mobile food vendors
  • Common issues that occur when operating a truck… specifically generator and battery issues.
  • How owners can leave many of the day-to-day operations up to a manager. Allowing the owner to book more catering gigs or large events.
  • The average revenue a truck in a larger market can expect to pull in during the busy season per day ($2,000)
  • Why you might only make $100 – $200 during those lean winter months
  • How much you should pay a food truck employee ($8 – $11 per hour depending on location)
  • Why you should empower star employees to make real changes to your business or menu
  • How to start a pop-up out of your apartment with a secret dinner society

Mentioned in the Show

Food Truck Life – Terence’s blog where he shares what life is really like on a food truck. No holds are barred and no punches are pulled.

TBD Foods – Live in the Boston area? Check out Terence’s new catering / pop-up business and see where he’ll be serving innovative cuisine next.

Secret Dining Supper Clubs in Boston – Meetup group where the most experimental foodies go to find unique dining experiences. If you live near a metro area, there’s likely a secret dinner society near you too.

Sweet Idea! – Get cookies delivered to your doorstep in the Boston area. They specialize in late-night deliveries on weekends. The business is operated by a former co-worker that Terence worked with.

Boston Food Truck Petition – You don’t need to be a resident of Boston to participate in this petition. Steven Leibowitz is doing his part to apply pressure on the city to increase the number of food truck locations. Help out your fellow food truckers by sharing and adding your comment.

ME.N.U. – This Toronto based food brand has taken a similar path to launching a food truck by starting out with pop-ups. Going this route has enabled ME.N.U. to get feedback on menu items, generate press, nurture a customer base and validate their concept. Listen to their previous interview here.

Free Quote –  Fill out the form to get a no obligation truck / trailer insurance quote from our sponsor Joel Paprocki.

iTunes – Hat tip to Arlene Jolson who left us a 5-star iTunes review last week.

Be featured on the podcast. Dial into our voicemail hotline at 206-309-4660 to hear your voice on a upcoming episode of the program.

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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