Owning and operating a mobile food truck has jumped in popularity. According to an industry research firm, the street-food business is a two-billion-dollar industry that has gained momentum over the past five years.
This surge means higher interest in programs such as Bates Technical College’s Mobile Food Cook program. One of the only mobile food truck education programs nationwide, it delivers a comprehensive industry education to culinarians with entrepreneurial minds.
Student Jeffery Cruell is in his final quarter and will graduate with a Mobile Food Cook certificate and an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts.
Cruell purchased and customized a food truck after he retired from the Army in 2013, knowing it would be an integral part of his post-military life.
“When I left the military, I realized I could pursue my dream of owning a restaurant in conjunction with an extreme sports business,” he said, adding that the food truck could serve lunch or coffee throughout the day to customers at his business.
Cooking and baking have always been a part of his family, said Cruell, who noted that several family members own restaurants in South Carolina and his mother-in-law owned a food truck in Ocean Shores.
“My family is passionate about cooking,” he said smiling. “And that passion trickled down to me.” His food truck, Daddio’s Grille, will open next year. The truck will serve a fusion of Southern eats with Pacific Northwest flavors.
The two-quarter program allows students to work in the college’s active mobile food truck, Curbside Urban Cuisine, and learn about mobile food service. They participate in several courses that range from cost-control, sanitation and food safety basics, to menu and business plan development and employment preparation.
Cruell completed his course requirements with Daddio’s Grille in mind. He crafted a business plan, built a menu and developed pricing for food items.
Cruell completed his course requirements with Daddio’s Grille in mind. He crafted a business plan, built a menu and developed pricing for food items. He was also able to lean on chef instructor Richard Houle to navigate and complete the complicated permitting and licensing process through the health department.
“I’m grateful to have had this time learning from Chef Houle,” said Cruell. “I know I’m ready to launch my own business, and I will always have the chef available as a resource and part of my support system.”
Want to find out what Curbside Urban Cuisine will be serving up next? Follow the mobile food truck on Twitter @BatesCurbside or on Facebook.com/CurbsideUrbanCuisine. Learn more about the Culinary Arts program at www.bates.ctc.edu.