If it's your off-season, it's the perfect time to check off some of those lingering to-do lists, starting with your website. Our Winter Sale on the Made For Food Trucks website templates starts today and can save you some dough while you're off the road. Sign up now.
January 17, 2017 | BY Nicole LaFave
We had the opportunity to sit down with Paul and Janee, owner's of the Kensington, Maryland streets' newest food truck, El Pollo Submarine. We discussed their food truck design, the unexpected bumps along the way, and what tips they have for food truck success.
Our main item is a savory chicken sub, or submarine. Chicken in Spanish translates to “Pollo”. As fans of the Beatles, “El Pollo Submarine” ala “The Yellow Submarine” instantly came to mind.
We drew our initial inspiration from the colorful and vibrant native artwork of El Salvador. Since the name of our truck is a play on “The Yellow Submarine,” we also wanted to incorporate the 60’s style artwork of the album. We then set Nicole upon the difficult task of tastefully mixing these two concepts together, which she pulled off flawlessly!
Salvadoran comfort food. Mainly: Pupusas, Chicken Sub, Enchiladas (Salvadoran Tostadas).
Janee had always daydreamed about owning a food truck, but never considered it a realistic possibility. Paul had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but couldn’t come up with the right idea for his first business. After dating for a couple years, we decided that together we could make our dreams a reality.
The most important feature to a food truck website is a calendar that displays a weekly location schedule. Next to that, contact information is essential to book catering gigs. And while we almost forgot to mention the menu, we realize that as a food truck you’ll rely on being seen or spotted. The menu will be on the truck, but you have to attract people to your truck first before they are compelled to look you up online. Having the menu on the website is only useful once people are interested or hungry enough to know who you are, and where you’ll be next.
Aside from taking the leap and leaving the prospect of a “stable career,” the hardest thing we’ve had to deal with to date was getting our truck in good running condition. While you should trust your vendor to deliver a fully functioning truck, you should never doubt that mistakes can be made, and accidents can happen. Ours broke down after 10 minutes of driving it for the first time, and we were stuck trying to get a tow truck during rush hour traffic. Not all tow trucks can tow other trucks, and while it seems obvious to us now, we learned it the hard way. We called several tow companies, all of which denied our request. It took us three hours of waiting under the summer sun on the shoulder to finally find a company capable of helping us.
Cooking delicious food is just a small fraction of what you’ll do as a food truck owner. Starting and running a food truck business is a larger project than we anticipated, and you must be prepared to manage numerous tasks. Communication is key! Without effective communication you run the risk of a project steering off course. Unless you’re the type who likes to learn the hard way, our business tip to help you succeed would be to consider taking a few courses in project management before undertaking a food truck business.
Remember this: there is no food truck without a truck. The truck itself is the business’ biggest asset. Without a properly running truck, you have NO means of conducting business. Our truck was in bad shape when we first received it. Sometimes things go wrong, so our words of wisdom are: “expect the best, but plan for the worst.” If you plan for the worst, you’ll be one step ahead when things inevitably don’t go as planned. The saying “time is money” cannot be more true in the food truck business. Time not spent networking, catering or vending are missed opportunities and money not being made. How well you anticipate and bounce back from major and even minor setbacks will determine your success in this business.
Our favorite item is found in the name of our truck, the chicken “pollo” sub! Although any one of our dishes can be a favorite depending on what mood we’re in.
The best part of working with Design Womb was seeing our concept come to life. There’s something quite special about trusting someone to personify your food truck in such a way that it evokes an identity beyond your own. We no longer view our food truck as merely a vehicle that can cook and sell food. A food truck with a brand is more than that. Thanks to Design Womb, our food truck is a key team player who markets and advertises for us in a visual way. Not only is it a mobile kitchen, it’s a mobile billboard…our mascot.
August 16, 2016 | BY Design Womb
We had the opportunity to sit down with Marissa and Matt of Boo Coo Roux, a Cajun & Creole food truck based in Chicago, and learn about their journey.
We thought about it for a while and imagined some different scenarios, some in where we would possibly leave Chicago. There was about two years of various research, trips to other cities, getting to know the scene around Chicago, and experimenting with recipes before we decided it was time to go for it. We realized the the food truck scene was growing in Chicago and wanted to jump in before it became oversaturated.
We wanted something fun and kind of crazy without going too overboard or looking like a scene from Bourbon Street. In our heads we imagined a clean and sophisticated look that had an edge to it. We initially wanted the design to be colorful without looking tacky. We never imagined black as being our background color or main color, but when we were presented with it we loved it. Nicole transformed our ideas exactly how we imagined it.
We originally thought of the name Roux, simple yet an important ingredient in one of our main dishes, gumbo. That name was taken, not by another truck but by another Illinois business so we started playing around with how we could still use the word roux in our name. We researched words and found the slang word "boo coo" which comes from the French word "beaucoup" meaning "a lot" and it all came together from there.
Homemade fresh and spicy quality Cajun comfort food with a twist.
We originally considered moving to Colorado in order to open a Chicago-style food truck with dishes like homemade Italian beef and homemade hot dogs and bratwursts. After some research on the industry in Colorado we decided to stay in Chicago and try it here first. We needed to drop the Chicago-style food since there are already so many options (but we still have an amazing Italian beef recipe on the back burner just in case!). From there we thought about the type of food that was lacking in restaurants and especially the food truck scene and we landed on Cajun. Matt and Louis have strong backgrounds in French cooking as well so it really made sense since so many of Cajun dishes incorporate French cooking techniques.
We use the website to advertise our menu as well as catering options. I think the most important feature is keeping an updated menu. Most people want to know what is available if they are going to make the trip to the truck. We don't use the website yet to post our schedule but hope to in the future. Without going into detail, the food truck parking scene is no joke and there are days where it can be hard to know where one will park. We post our locations for lunch both on Facebook and Twitter.
Everything. It's an emotional experience when you own your own business, you become invested in every aspect. However, if I have to pick one area that was the most difficult it was probably the initial startup and build of the truck. It seemed like it would never end despite being organized and doing everything in our power to move things along.
We are not from Louisiana so we were very cautious to pursue this style of cuisine and wanted respect the food while making it our own. This involved a lot of R&D and some trips to New Orleans. That being said, it's an overwhelming success when someone from the region compliments our food. We always create food that we hope pleases the masses but a compliment from a native is always the icing on the cake.
Matt knows the owner of the Fat Shallot from his days at Everest and he was lucky enough to work on the truck. He got to see first-hand what operation on a truck was like. His experience gave him a good foundation of where to begin the process and what to think about. They were and still are a helpful resource. There are so many details to think about with startup like insurance, propane, vendors, food cost, website, design, etc.
It's tough. Any cook or chef in the food industry already understands the demands of that world, and a truck is no exception, especially when you approach it with the intention to create everything from scratch like we do.
The gumbo! We went through many batches and minor changes to come up with a recipe that we feel best represents the dish.
Nicole! Throughout the entire startup process she was one of the best people that we worked with. She never missed a beat. We are still obsessed with the final design and could not be happier. I don’t even think we had to make any changes on the design option that we picked because it was so spot on, in fact we had a hard time picking from the options that she gave us because they all were so great!
June 21, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
While we love to help you launch your food packaging projects, we also love to share exciting news about things that our team and extended family members are up to. Allison Ball, our food industry consultant, is launching an exciting new online course in February called "Brains of the Buyer." This course is for Producers of Good Food, and for the inaugural session, the Design Womb community will receive a generous discount of 30% off.
"Brains of the Buyer" helps producers grow their food business, thoughtfully. Alli works with you to create a 1 page business plan to clarify what you're actually selling & who you're selling to, why your product is different, and who your competitors are. Together, you then move on to understanding the thought process of wholesale buyers: why they choose particular products to carry and why they pass on others; how they price them; the strategy behind re-ordering, merchandising, and marketing them; and how to convince those retail accounts to say "Yes!" to carrying your products.
Alli currently helps producers increase their wholesale presence through her one-on-one consulting, and is offering group work for the first time this winter. Prior to launching her consulting business, Alli was Head of Grocery & Store Manager at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, one of the nation's most influential specialty food markets, where she discovered, supported and promoted hundreds of small food businesses and thousands of retail products.
To sign up or learn more, follow this link and use promo code FOODFRIEND to save 30% off the inaugural course. Please note spots are limited, and registrations closes Friday, January 29th at Midnight, PST. Still have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 22, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
Welcome to Made For Food Trucks by Madestack. We are thrilled to share our labor of love with you. Madestack was born when we came together on client work and saw a huge gap in the market between mediocre website design templates that the average startup person doesn’t know how to install/use and quick web design services that give too much control, aren’t industry specific enough, and might not look very custom.
Facebook isn’t enough. Your customers are online, on their phones, and reading their tablets. When a friend mentions a delicious tamale or sandwich they tried from a new local food truck, it’s extremely likely that they are immediately looking for you on google to find out where you will be or to check out your menu.
Our experience in the food truck industry includes the launch of 10 trucks (and counting!) in the branding, truck design, and web design spaces across the globe. The problem? Like many startups in the food and restaurant space, food truck startups and owners don’t have thousands of dollars to throw into a custom website before they launch and generate revenue. They usually spend most of their investment on buying the truck, building the truck’s kitchen and finally branding and wrapping the truck with something visually striking.
We started with something simple. A low-cost subscription template solution that you can use to get your website up quickly without the overhead upfront of paying for a full blown custom website design for your food truck. With our website design templates, you can update information yourself, place photography, and swap to colors that are in line with your food truck’s branding. We’ve designed with the intent that the site has a flexibility and a beautiful end product with a custom look and feel.
We’ll be adding to Madestack and Made For Food Trucks now that we’ve officially launched. Stay on top of news about our future font sets* and features by joining our mailing list.
*coming very soon
August 31, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
We're very excited to announce Design Womb's resturant branding and design collaboration in the works this year with chefs John Shields and his wife, Karen Urie Shields. We'll be working alongside the duo for the launch of their highly anticipated Ada St. location, which is split between two floors, and the chefs envision opening two restaurants.
John worked at Charlie Trotter's, and was part of the opening team at the hot Chicago restaurant spot, Alinea. Karen spent two years at Tru working under Gale Gand, then six years at Trotter's, the last three as head pastry chef. As a husband-wife team, they opened Town House in 2008 in the tiny town of Chilhowie, VA, where they quickly acquired a monster reputation; John was a 2011 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
July 29, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
October 24, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
October 23, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
The Beachy Cream ice cream sandwich packaging sleeves have arrived. Inspired by fun in the sun, beach balls and polka dot bikinis, ice cream just got a whole lot more fun. These are going to make killer favors at parties & weddings. You can see more of the branding project for my client here or visit their site to order ice cream online.
January 17, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
I added a food & beverage logo gallery to Design Womb this weekend. There is something about working on food or beverage-related projects that I find very rewarding. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I am always hungry, or there is just a lot of potential with the branding and packaging out there. I am hoping to keep up these mini portfolio updates to the current site until my new website redesign project is moving full speed ahead, aiming for the new year. Shame on me. I am a year behind with some of these new work & press updates. Better late than never?
October 03, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
New year, new ice cream. Ann Ryan and I have finalized her brand identity and website. Watch out for updates to my print portfolio with the Beachy Cream full package soon.
January 11, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave