Food Truck Success Story

Posted by Damian Roberti on

Do you love food? Ever wanted to start a food truck? Here is a stroy that will blow you away, and better yet YOU can do the same thing.


Have you ever walked up to a food truck and had a delicious taco burger and then stopped to wonder, can I make a living doing this? If you guys are interested in starting a food truck business, you need to stay tuned for today's inspiring episode today, we'll be talking to the owner of vet, chef food truck, Kyle Gourley

The name of the game is the speed. You're not a restaurant. Fill them up and get them out of here

Since starting his food truck business in 2016, three years after completing his culinary management degree, Kyle has managed to double his sales every year. And now he's in the six digit figures. You don't have

Time to focus on marketing sometime. What was our most important thing is putting out the top quality that we possibly could

About doubling sales year after year. How do you, how are you doing that? Kyle is a us Marine vet. He's got an inspiring story, uh, with his rock and roll Rocky start yet five years later, he's a success. We want to share this story with you. As of today, what's your yearly revenue.

Your investment is not wild. You can get into a cheap truck for 50,000 bucks.

What are the three tips for people looking to start a food truck, business, YouTube rewards your engagement. So please comment. Ask questions below. We've got our blog in the description below. If every question isn't answered, we'll answer it in our blog. So stay tuned and let's go meet the legend, Kyle. Hey, what's up? Good to see you. I'm Paul Paul. Nice to meet you. We're ready to ask some questions and share your story. Come out. Awesome. I'm excited. You guys are going to be an awesome episode. The vet chef elite fusion food. You've got an incredible story. Tell us about your military experience and how that led you to starting a,

Do you need to start an LLC

Should we try business basically? Uh, I was in the Marine Corps for four years, from 2004 to 2008. Did thankfully only one tour, uh, to Ramadi Iraq. I was wondering, thank you. Thank you. It's one of the fortunate people that only have one, one tour under my belt on like my friends who have seven or eight, went to culinary school and uh, knew from my military experience. I didn't really want to work for somebody again. So I was like, man, what can I do? I'm not little young. Don't really have any experience, open a restaurant. Why not a food truck?

Nice. You were just looking for that opportunity where you can be on your own, not work for anyone.

How much does a food truck cost?

And the, you know, the small startup costs, which is obviously pretty important. We were looking at some of the restaurant numbers. It's like, Holy cow, man. How, how, like, how could I, how could I take that leap? And the nice thing about a food truck is let's say, you know, you've got a restaurant and then they just started decided to do construction on that road. And next thing you know, you're out of business and it's not even, I don't care how good your restaurant is. Not even your fault. So now

Nice. I like it. It's like a restaurant on wheels anywhere, anytime. Exactly what it is. So looking at your trailer, truck, what was your initial budget? I mean, what did the setup cost to you

Opening day, including opening inventory as $41,200, break it down for us. What, what does that entail already had the truck, the trailer costs me roughly $26,000 use user new body new. So I had it. Customly designed for me. Uh, you know, you, you're working on speed. You want the fryer where you want the fryer, you want the grill where you want the grill. So you're, you're working down the line and try not to move. So, um, about $8,000 of equipment and then, you know, all the permitting and all that stuff. So yeah. Yeah.

And why, why this particular menu, not burgers, not your typical stuff that you would see. How did come up here?

I have it here. Seattle doesn't have great Mexican food. I mean, honestly, honestly,

How did you come across that? Did you just no, no.

Oh yeah, definitely. So when I lived in California, I was stationed at camp Pendleton in the Marine Corps. This was the go-to thing, the California burrito man. Like if you were a Mexican place and there's a million Mexican places in California, but if you had the California burrito, you'd have a line out the door.

Like you got inspiration from California,

Zoom that we used to you finish a long day work and go get a California burrito. So I know I needed the California burrito. So our entire menu is built around that California


As of today, what's your yearly revenue and profit margins.

You try to operate this business at. Okay. So last year I believe we did like $417,000. Wow. That's a pretty good number. It's a lot of you happy with that. We keep, keep going

Better. Uh, so are you, are you looking at the amount of burritos sold, then you'll get the dollars. It's the burritos. You got to get a million of them

Wrestling sometimes where you're like, Oh man, I, I rolled a thousand burritos and then you're like, Oh, 10,000, a hundred thousand. Now, now where you at? You know, honestly, I know we run out a 33, 34% food cost. Okay. Um, that's kinda my end of the business. My wife handles all the other stuff. Um, I just do my best to keep us under 35%, um, which is very high for a food truck, but we gotta have quality, you know? So

What are the

One or two pitfalls of starting a food truck business?

You're not a restaurant. There's so many people that get it in their mind that they need to, you know, Julianne a carrot or something like that. Man, you are not a restaurant. Your job is to serve fast food, fill somebody up as the other thing, like if you're going and you're buying something and it doesn't fill you up, you're not going to come back. You know what I mean? So give him a big portion.

I was just like, Oh my gosh, that was good. Like help me help me do my car. Kyle should provide

A forklift sometime, but a wheelchair. Yeah, no kidding. But uh, yeah. I mean the name of the game is the speed. You're not a restaurant. Fill them up and get them out of here. So they got, they got stuff to do.

What are the three tips for people looking to start a truck, food truck, business that you

Would give them do it, uh,

Do it number one. I mean, honestly

You got to take the step. I mean, it's, it's scary, but your investment is not wild. Like you can get into a cheap truck for 50,000 bucks. It's a car. So give

Us a step by a truck

Jody, or go to your local health department, talk to them. Okay. That's the number one thing saying, how do I, how do I, how do I start? It's a six month process of running through all the hoops of the city and all that stuff. Um, so you need to plan ahead, know that you're going to take six months of, of work and not going to get anything for it. You won't even be running. You're just going to be going. So

Have the reserves to live for six, seven months.

You don't keep your, keep your other job. Okay. Sorry. So they're going to use to work at those 14, 15 hours a day is cause they're covered. Yeah. So, um, do that start with a trailer is another thing. That's what we did. So as you can see, we, we did the trailer. It's significantly cheaper than, uh, the actual truck. I can pull it with my truck. So I kind of, you know, I already had that, so I just pull it on, hook it up and, and go. And you know, we, we do ultimately want to get in the truck cause it is better. Um, but start with something small, do it as cheap as you can. And uh, and just start any sort of festivals, churches. I mean, anytime that you know, that there's people going to be there just go. Yeah.


Um, and it takes time, right? I mean, yeah. I don't think it's real to expect. You're going to blow up in a week.

No, I mean, you got a solid year, you got a solid year of losing money. Um, and just gaining your spot, gaining, you're gaining your reputation and just getting your name out there, but it's all worth it. Every, every ounce of it, I would never would never would never not do it. It's it's, it's a wild ride.

There's a period in a business where you're probably not paying yourself full time. So how long did it take you to break, even pay all your employees and then start?

Um, so we were probably, uh, pretty close to that year. We took about a year. Yeah. We started with the nightmare. So lock up the food truck, go home, wake up the next morning, the power went out in our food truck and I had nothing. So our very first day of like scrambling, I'm calling everybody. I know, Hey man, I need help prep in like help. So we go to our commissary, just start throwing stuff together. Next thing we know we're out. And to start opening up, we're like, Oh, this is, this is crazy. Like a roller coaster. And then our generator goes out. It's just like, why, why is this happening? And so we ended up getting that. We, we pulled off our generator, hookup, a friend's generator and you know, finish the day. But it was like, man, this is going to be a long life.

If this is how it went. And it didn't. Thankfully we, we, we got a new generator, fixed it all up and things evolved was like, man, this is a lot of work. We started getting a little bit more popular. And next thing we know, we hire, um, my cousin who was, uh, a high schooler then, and she just needed a few hours. And so we, we gave her a few hours and we were able to, you know, say, listen, Rican, we can only pay you for the time we're open. Like just come here, help us open. Right. When we call is all clean. I don't care anything. Basically, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And that's not your cue to quit. Uh, it's your, it's your cue to dig deep. And this is your life, man. And if you're not committed, if this is not part of your family, if this is not fully something you're willing to be invested in, don't open the business because it's going to consume you and it's worth every second of it.

What about doubling sales year after year? How do you, how are you doing that?

I would love to say, you know, sticking with it, building a location, but, um, that, that really does help, but you also need to move around. Um, so we, we built a location. We stuck there. We, we did the nitty gritty for a long time. You know, we, we took losses. We, we tried everything. We kept getting our name out, getting our name out, getting our name, testing out different locations. I mean, we, we wouldn't, we wouldn't say no to anything. Like if they came, Hey man, we got a venue for you to serve. Yes, we'll be there. What time? And that was, that was the name of the game. That was, that was just the name of the game. Yes, yes. Yeah. It's just repetition comes through the vet chef. Here's the vet chef [inaudible] chef. And next thing we know people start calling us that are a little bit bigger, a little bit bigger. And now we're at Boeing now we're doing, you know, some, some awesome numbers. So yeah, it's all about just even that

Reminds me of the, yes. Ma'am say yes to everything. See how your life goes. Yeah.

But there were times where, you know, you, you get in there and you lose money, but we just knew that your vet, your vet chef, and next thing we know. Wow. Yup.


We talked about employees real quick. Um, and, and 30 seconds, how much does having employees cut into your margin? Can food trucks afford typically employees?

Yeah. I mean the $15 an hour minimum wage definitely really hurts. That was kind of a, a kick to us for awhile. Um, but you have to have employees. I mean, you're, you'll drive yourself into the ground. Um, it's, it's a hard job. So I would definitely do what you can. Like I said, when I talked earlier, we would say show up right here. First serve time. I came, I had everything ready. They showed up, they took orders. We cleaned, uh, without employees and sent them home. So, um, minimize what you need them for use your, your free labor labor, even though, you know, you're not free, but, uh, use that at least for the first year. Then when you can start surviving, but you can, you can usually find a high schooler or, you know, a relative that will work those weird three, four hour shifts and be very happy. Okay.

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Winded down to one thing, what's the most successful key factor in launching a successful truck, food business,

Being dependable. If you're say you're going to be there to be there. I mean, I don't care if your tire pops on the side of the road, you better have AAA and make it to where you're going to be. And you better be on the horn saying, listen, guys, I might be five minutes late, but I'm going to serve food there. You know? And they start talking, you know what I mean? I mean that

Soundly simple. I get this, we've interviewed many businesses. And the most key factors you hear is like to be there on time to be dependable. I mean, to me, it's like, hello, that's pretty simple. But most people fail is just on that

Popped. We popped five tires last year. And every single time we popped a tire, we were within like three miles from Les Schwab able to fix it, got to the thing's still opened up on time. Wow. You know where other other people would just say, Hey man, this is a stressful day. You know, be there. Cause they talk.


That's huge. Kyle, it's almost like, don't worry as much about your Facebook and your Instagram and anything else, just be there when you said you'll be there. Do what you said. You're going to do, do it on time.


We have 1400 Facebook followers considering the amount of food we're serving. The, the popularity we have the award-winning we have, that's nothing. We don't spend a lot of time on Facebook. You don't have time to focus on marketing some time. It wasn't our most important thing. What was our most important thing is putting out the very best food. The top quality that we possibly could. When we opened up, we had primarily Mexican food type stuff. We did a [inaudible] Kramer. We did a, Jesus has been so long. Now we did Argentina and tacos. We did like a chimichurri steaks and all that stuff. And next thing we know we're doing Philly burritos, burger burritos. I mean, it's a burner coupon. Yeah.

Have you guys heard of a burger burrito? A delicious burger and a burrito. I mean,

Listen to "Marketing Food Online Food Entrepreneur" on Spreaker.

Yeah, that was all my employee to a little army vet Tia. He came up with it. I was like, man, I don't want to eat a burrito with catch-up. So it took me like two months to even try the Brito and Sue, I took a bite. I was like, all right, man, put it on the menu.

And I want to ask you guys, Mike. I mean, did you guys like it? I know you. It was really good. Right? Nick, Nick behind the camera. He's licking his drooling thinking. I need another one.