Winter is absolutely horrid. If you curse the Gods every morning that you have to scrape the snow off of your car, you should consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to stand in an icy death box for a few hours. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely am grateful for my business, but coming close to frostbitten toe amputation just doesn’t do it for me. Thus, here are a few real gems about what winter feels like when you own a food truck, and perhaps a few tips that will ensure your own safety:
1. Winterizing Your Truck Is No Joke
Unless you’re independently wealthy/parents have cash/have a few connections and own a store front, your ENTIRE business is right there with you on the road. Thus, if your truck suffers from winter related damage, your entire business is affected. Why take that risk? You spent your last dollars on those water tanks, wouldn’t it be a shame to watch them explode from expanding ice? Here is a great article about how to prepare your truck for winter weather from the good folks at FoodTruckr: 9 Ways to Winterize Your Food Truck
2. Give Up On Looking Cute, You Might Lose Extremities
Though we aren’t the vainest of creatures at Wonderland, we do make an effort to look a certain way whilst vending. While our products do the talking, we do feel as though appearance and aesthetics play a part in overall brand marketing, recognition, and overall attractiveness of the business. With that being said, vanity totally goes out the window during the winter. We’ve done some recent events in the midst of winter, and have looked like giant marshmallows (though that may be appealing to some). Layering like pros now, there’s no shame in our game: boots, 3 pairs of socks, leggings on leggings, beater, long sleeve shirt, hoodie, jacket, scarf tucked in, hat, gloves. Oh, the gloves! Whilst Nicole handles money and customers, I usually package/drizzle/handle the food, which means I wear service gloves. In the winter, that means my poor fingers become stiff and semi-arthritic, longing for moments between switching gloves, when I can shove them in my coat pockets! Lessons to be learned: Layering is a must, bringing some blankets can be a lifesaver, switching from Red Bull to huge coffees will give you the same meth-like energy whilst keeping you warmer, and huddling with your best friend for body heat is surprisingly a means of great bonding.
3. Make Sure You Have Enough Cash Flow to Account For All Accidents!
Here at Wonderland, we swear that some superstitions are real. For example, on this loveliest of Friday the 13th (Feb 13, 2015), our truck was involved in what I can only call a freeeeeaaak accident. After a particularly wonderful and non-dramatic day, we were leaving our vending site, and made a left turn onto City Ave (a pretty congested street, for all of you out-of-towners). We were in the right lane, when all of a sudden, our service window flew open (the same one that we lock and double check every single time). The awning flew up to full service mode, and before I had a chance to even react or stop, it hit a post immediately, ripping the entire thing off its hinges (see photo above of what was left). After some tears and hyperventilating, I got myself together and began the process of re-ordering the custom awning we had. While I’m certainly grateful and thankful that no one was injured, and that the awning didn’t hit any cars on its way down, the cost factor certainly stings a little. When you’re flush with money in the middle of event season, set backs and accidents can feel a little easier to swallow, but when you’re limited to mostly catering gigs and cakes, every unforseen expense can become a heavy burden. Lesson: Set up an emergency fund for your business, so that even in the slower months, you can feel safe and secure. Bad things will happen. They always do. This way, you can move on.
The good thing about winter? It has a definitive ending. Event season is just around the corner, and Philadelphia is beyond ready to rejoice with outdoor festivals, beer gardens, and all sorts of activities that make the food truck industry thrive. I’ll be looking forward to the first blooms, and possibly damning all groundhogs for eternity.