A Coach for Specialty Food Entrepreneurs

You know you’re onto something great: everyone loves your recipe; no one else is selling anything like it. You’re sure to be a success, right?


The hard truth of the specialty food industry is that no matter how delicious or innovative your product is, you need more than quality goods to be viable in this competitive business. Unfortunately, being a great chef is not the same as being a great entrepreneur.

At CookItHere, we’ve come across a resource that can help fledgling food businesses get the footing they need to be successful. From writing a business plan to pricing your product, Deb Mazzaferro can help you develop the foundations of solid enterprise.

That sounded a lot like a commercial, but this is not a paid endorsement. We’re just excited to find such a perfect match for our audience. Deb Mazzaferro, known as “Coach Maz,” is a 30-year veteran of the specialty food industry who specializes in coaching food entrepreneurs. You can read about her and the services she offers at her website, www.coachmaz.com.

The following reprint (used by permission) is a taste of Coach Maz’s perspective on starting a food business—good information to get you thinking about the viability of your business.

Tough Love from Deb Mazzaferro

Do you believe these myths?

The biggest myth in small business and the real story…………..

Over the past 12 years, the most common entrepreneurial misconception I’ve encountered as a business coach and specialty food consultant is ….

Build it and they will come!

Nearly every specialty food company seems to believe THAT if you provide an outstanding product, the consumer will FIND it and BUY it and CONSUME it in massive quantities. Or at least enough so that Kraft foods will buy your business for many times the money you have invested.

Sorry! It doesn’t happen that way.

So, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent developinga homemade productinto a commercially viable one, finding a co-packer, tweaking it with a food tech and packaging it in unique and beautiful ways without any upfront marketing strategy. (In my cynical view, this is actually what is meant by “small businesses provide most of the jobs in this country”….as consumers of goods and services other small businesses provide).

Little thought normally goes into “what does the consumer want or need?” and “How am I going to sell it?”

The assumption is that once it’s made, the retailer will be so enamored that price won’t matter and logistics will solve themselves. The consumer will find this unadvertised, high-priced delicacy amongst the 1,000s of products on the shelves and be creative enough to figure out how to use it….at every opportunity.

Again and again I see quality products made, brought to market, sold… but little or no money made on the entire effort.And so what I see repeated over and over is a fine product gets made which has very little margin. Once it’s presented to the marketplace, retailbuyers may have complimentary things to say about product quality, but want pricing, promotions and placement considerations. Frustrated by two years of product development only to be turned down by key retailers and distributors, owners think the system is broken.

So what is the truth?

Everything hinges on price! If the price doesn’t resonate with the consumer, it just won’t sell. Retailers know what their customers want and may reject the product outright. If there isn’t enough margin built into the pricing structure for a distributor discount, broker commission, promotions, marketing and profit……then why do it??

What is the reality?

The product gets made. “Everyone” loves it. The price is too high. Inventory needs to be sold, so margins are compromised to get to the right price point or to pay for the unaccounted for sales and marketing expenses.

What is the solution?

Determine what the consumer wants or needs UPFRONT. Find a niche. Research a target audience. Find an opening in a growing category where you provide a unique selling proposition. What sets you apart? Why would your target audience buy yours over another brand….perhaps one they already love?

1.       Create your product from the retail price backwards to the cost of goods you’ll need to obtain in order to be profitable after all expenses.

2.       Next is a business plan the outlines all the nuanced expenses unique to your niche….and then add 30-50% to that as a buffer.

3.       Work within the system; understand who you’ll need to partner with and how much each layer will cost. You are not going to change the system! Learn the lingo, ask questions, go to work for a specialty food company, get a coach!

4.       Set a dollar amount you are willing to invest….and lose. Most entrepreneurs get in and then find they spend half their time managing cash flow, raising money, securing lines of credit or putting in more of their own money than they ever expected. Once in, they feel the big break is right around the corner and they have a hard time throwing in the towel. After 3-5 years of losing money, they want to sell the business but have little chance of recouping their investment much less making a profit. However, if you are thinking of starting a specialty food business, buying an existing one and taking it to the next level is an ideal way to jump in and create immediate value by increasing revenue rather than starting a new company from scratch.

I know buying and running an existing business doesn’t celebrate your Grandmother’s cookie recipe, but……is it about that or having a thriving business?

You decide!

Feeding the Hungry and Other Cool Stuff: Volunteerism for Chefs

It’s that time of year again, when charities organize food drives and special meals for the less fortunate all over the country. From national organizations like Share Our Strength to local churches and schools, people are mobilizing around food, which means that there are great volunteer opportunities for chefs and food professionals.

If you’re inclined to help, there are many ways to get involved. I was amazed by what I could find with a quick Google search. (I used the phrase “chef volunteers,” but you might try using more specific phrases for what you do, or include your geographical area.) Here are some opportunities that turned up.

COOKING MATTERS: This is a program of Share Our Strength, a national organization with the mission of ending childhood hunger in America. You may have seen advertising for their “No Kid Hungry” campaigns. Cooking Matters is a program where volunteer chefs teach families how to make the most of their food budget (often subsidized by food stamps or other government aid) by teaching them how to shop for healthy food and prepare healthy meals. How cool would that be? Share Our Strength has other culinary volunteer opportunities, too. Visit their volunteer action page for more information.

: This is a whole organization just to mobilize culinary volunteers. It began after Hurricane Katrina when the founder, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, saw the need for qualified people to help with food preparation for those displaced by the hurricane. These days, they organize short-term service trips for chefs! When I read about their recent trip to Camp Sunshine in New York, where they served terminally ill kids, I got goosebumps. You must be a working culinary professional to participate in one of their trips.

CHEFS FOR SCHOOLS: This is an organization that supports healthy lifestyles through nutrition education, instruction in meal preparation, and resources to encourage a more readily available supply of healthy food. Chefs can volunteer to teach in classrooms or in monthly community cooking classes. While Chefs For Schools is local to New York, the concept is applicable everywhere.

And of course, you don’t need a big organization to help. If you have a food business, consider donating prepared food to a soup kitchen near you. (Especially protein—I know from experience that soup kitchens are challenged to provide enough protein; most people donate dry starches and canned vegetables.) If you’re a chef, you can prepare meals for low-income families, or deliver hot meals to individuals with mobility issues.

We all know that food not only sustains and nourishes people, but good food—preparing it, eating it, enjoying it with others–can comfort and enrich lives as well. That means culinary professionals are uniquely positioned to serve in a meaningful way—and you don’t have to wait for a holiday to get involved.

On Publishing a Cookbook

So, you’ve been cooking for a long time, and you’ve gotten great feedback—you KNOW you’re an outstanding cook. You’re creative, and your specialty is coming up with new dishes that no one has dreamed of before. And you’ve been compiling all these great ideas in your trusty Macbook, just waiting to unleash them on the world. Are you ready to publish a cookbook?

Well…probably not.

There are many ways to publish a cookbook, from the old spiral bound index card method (made famous by fundraising church ladies with crockpots), to the new generation of online publication via recipe blogs and ebooks. But just because you can publish your recipes, doesn’t mean you should.

For the sake of this post, we’re not talking about protecting your culinary secrets—though that is an important consideration. We’re talking about protecting your professional reputation.

The truth is, cookbooks have long been among the easiest type of publications to produce, even before other self-publishing mechanisms were available to the public. Consequently, the market is glutted with poorly written, poorly produced cookbooks. You don’t want to be one of them. Putting your byline on a less-than-perfect publication makes you look like an amateur; it’s not good for your personal brand.

Here are a few things to think about before you take your recipes to press.

Begin with the end in mind. Why do you want to publish? Do you want to make money from your book? Promote your image or your business? Or are you doing it because everyone wants your recipes? The answer to that question will help you determine whether you should be blogging, releasing an ebook, or pursuing a contract with a traditional publishing house.

Learn the proper way to write a recipe. Think of how frustrating it is for you, an experienced culinary professional, to execute a poorly written or poorly organized recipe. Imagine how difficult that is for less experienced cooks. Write your recipes so that anyone can follow them. That means using proper structure, abbreviations and terminology.

Discover your unique point of view. There are so many collections of recipes, from every culinary perspective imaginable. What’s unique about yours? Does the world need another vegetarian cookbook? No, unless yours is unusually compelling, inventive, accessible, affordable—what’s your angle?

Test the waters before you invest. Blogging is a virtually free way to get your recipes out into the marketplace. If you’re thinking of publishing a cookbook, either independently or through a publishing company, develop a blog with the same premise and attempt to build a following. It’s time-consuming, but so is writing a cookbook, learning the ropes of self-publishing, or querying agents. And no matter what method of publication you ultimately pursue, the following you build through your blog will be valuable later.

Enlist help. Just because you’re a creative chef, doesn’t mean you’re a writer. Get a second set of eyes on your draft—someone who doesn’t necessarily tell you what you want to hear. Gather as much feedback as you can on your premise, your recipes and the way you choose to present them. Listen to the feedback. The experience of the reader or cook who will be using your book will determine the success of your endeavor, so be willing to adjust or modify your draft to create a more appealing and user friendly product.

For some funny and useful notes on what NOT to do when writing a cookbook, visit this post from an executive cookbook editor.

Catering for Kids

Kid-centered catering is a hot market that’s grown with the children’s party craze. Ordering pizza and playing Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey just won’t do anymore, as Pinterest and mommy-bloggers set the bar ever higher for clever, themed kids’ parties complete with matching menus.

Plenty of busy parents will pay for help keeping up with this trend. With a little creativity and awareness, you can tap into this market and provide a valuable service for moms and dads who have more cash than kitchen skills.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re preparing food for kids:

Safety: Make sure the food is age appropriate. If you’ll have toddlers in attendance, consider offering a plate or a portion of your buffet specifically for this age group, and use care to avoid foods that present choking hazards, like hot dogs.

Allergies are another serious concern when serving children. Discuss allergy concerns with your client before designing your menu. Are there any known food allergies in the group? Will parents be in attendance to help kids choose according to their allergies?

Flavor: kids like simple, familiar flavors. Simple dishes prepared with few ingredients give picky kids less reason to balk. Obviously, limit spices and strong flavors when designing children’s menus.

Presentation: the simplest foods become appealing to kids when presented in a fun way: sandwiches cut into shapes, fruit plates arranged into faces, basically anything served on a stick. And theme is king at children’s parties—how can you incorporate the party theme into your dishes?

Interactivity: kids like to play with their food, so give them something to do. Serve finger foods with dips—even kids who don’t usually eat vegetables can be persuaded if they get to dip them. Offer a cup of diced fruit, veggies or mild cheese and provide picks to spear them with (not too sharp!). For older kids, offer a build-it-yourself pizza or sandwich station. Kids who get involved with their food are more likely to eat it.

Portions: remember that at parties, kids tend to be distracted and eat less. Plan on serving food in smaller portions, and talk to your host about timing. Should you serve as guests arrive, before they become engaged in party activities? Or later in the event when the initial excitement has died down a bit and kids are better able to focus on food?

Nutrition: discuss nutritional expectations with your client. Today’s parents are hyper-aware of nutritional issues and may have very different opinions about what constitutes a nutritious meal. Some parents may be less concerned about the nutritional value of party food, but some may expect your fare to be as healthy as it is tasty and fun.

Opening a Commercial Kitchen for Rent

Our blog tends to focus on those seeking to rent a commercial kitchen, but here’s a switch:  what if you want to open your own commercial kitchen for rent?

In researching this topic, I found very little clear-cut information. No one has broken this down into, “10 Easy Steps to Opening a Rental Kitchen.”  Using Los Angeles as a test market, I found bits and pieces of information on the County’s environmental health website, but nothing comprehensive. I also found a number of articles that addressed various aspects of the process. Here are a few things to think about if you’re considering this endeavor:

 Licenses and Identification: This is something you can do while you’re working out all the trickier details. Your rental kitchen business will need a business license from the city where you plan to operate and most likely a DBA/ Fictitious Business Name registration from the county. Consult your accountant about tax issues and whether your business needs a federal tax ID number.

Finding a facility: This depends on what’s available in your target area. Think about startup expenses versus long-term expenses. You could find an industrial space and install a new commercial kitchen—the advantage here is that rent in industrial spaces tends to be cheap—but you’ll  have to pay for all of your systems and equipment.  Or you could find an established commercial kitchen, like a vacant restaurant space, and retrofit it as a rental kitchen—the advantage to this plan is that some of the very expensive systems and equipment may already be in place.  By the way: the kitchen in your home cannot be rented out as a commercial kitchen, unless you have a separate kitchen available–one that you don’t use for personal cooking–that you can outfit to meet commercial standards. And even then, zoning laws in your city may permit a commercial operation from your home.

Permits and codes:  Here’s where it gets tricky. Commercial food operations are regulated much more stringently than other businesses. You’ll have building codes, health department codes and fire codes to comply with.  Pay a visit to your city office and tell them what you’re trying to do BEFORE you begin so that you can collect information from all the agencies involved. You’ll have to pass inspections before you can open for business, so it’s critical that you know what’s required before you begin setting up your kitchen.

Equipment and systems for your kitchen: when you plan to outfit your kitchen, consider what is required by commercial codes as well as industry standards and your competition. Some of the standard items include:

  • Ventilation–hoods , fans, etc.
  • Fire safety–sprinklers, extinguishers, evacuation plan
  • Sanitation- dishwashers, waste and grease containment and disposal
  • Food storage: freezer, refrigerated and dry storage
  • Cooking equipment–stoves, ovens, smaller appliances
  • Food prep stations and equipment, like commercial mixers
  • Small equipment, like pots, pans, bowls and cooking tools
  • First aid supplies

Facility/ amenities: what will your clients need while they work? Restrooms and parking requirements will be dictated by your city’s building/planning codes, but consider internet access, seating areas, presentation areas—none of these are mandatory, but a could help differentiate your kitchen as a comfortable or value-added choice.

Administrative concerns: Do you need an office?  How will you coordinate schedules? How will you bill and collect rent? How will you market your kitchen? Where will you store paperwork? Depending on how you conduct your business, you may need additional space or supplies to address administrative concerns.

When your kitchen is ready for business, remember that CookItHere.com can help you find clients and help potential clients find you.

The Culinary School Debate

If you’ve found CookItHere.com, you’re obviously a serious cook. Maybe you’re a caterer, or an entrepreneur working on a line of food products. Chances are if you haven’t been to culinary school, you’re considering it.

Interest and attendance in culinary schools has skyrocketed since the 80s, due in part to the popularity of cooking shows like Top Chef. The level of celebrity that was once reserved for star athletes and performers is now attainable by chefs. Those who achieve household-name status, like Rachel Ray, have launched commercial empires.

Now might be a good time to mention that Rachel Ray didn’t go to culinary school. Many famous chefs did not.

So there’s the debate: with the cost of a culinary education ranging from $20,000 to over $100,000, is it worth it?

Just like going to acting school doesn’t guarantee you an acting career, going to culinary school does not guarantee a culinary career.  Education or not, the career path for chefs usually begins with a $10/hour kitchen job. If you’ve financed a $60,000 culinary education, you’re looking at loan payments of almost $700 per month*—hardly feasible on an average cook’s salary.

Advocates of culinary school will tell you that the formal education offers a breadth of knowledge that you can’t get from working your way around a kitchen. And, just like other programs, you’ll make valuable connections, meet people and encounter opportunities as a student that you might miss otherwise.

There are alternatives. Local community colleges often offer culinary programs at a fraction of the cost of traditional cooking school. And of course, many chefs work their way through the ranks without attending culinary school.

Your ultimate career goal is an important consideration as well. There are many directions to go with a culinary degree outside of restaurants: personal and private chefs, commercial or institutional chefs, education, other hospitality sectors like hotels, cruises, even airlines.  It might pay to explore specific career goals before deciding to attend culinary school or deciding what type of program to enroll in—does your ideal employer require a degree?  Do they favor one type of school over another?

You’ll find plenty of passionate opinions on both sides of the culinary school debate. If you’re thinking about a culinary education, do some research.  Consider your current and projected financial resources, your career goals and the job market before you make your decision. For a more thorough discussion of the topic, try this article from Eater.com.

*From the Federal Department of Student Aid’s Loan Calculator: http://www.direct.ed.gov/calc.html

Food Safety Refresher

With the holiday catering season upon us, chances are you’ll be presenting some buffet-style meals for your clients, or even for your own family and friends.  Now is a good time to brush up on food safety. Yes, you know this stuff… all of us should have solid knowledge of food safety and preventing food-borne illness. But it never hurts to refresh yourself on safe food-handling and serving practices—it’s easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of the season.

The following information comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   Food handling safety is broken into four main steps:

Clean:  Wash your hands before handling food. Clean all surfaces and utensils between uses. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, but DON’T wash meats, poultry or eggs.

Separate:  Keep meats, poultry and eggs separate from other foods, from the time they spend in your grocery cart to the time they’re in your fridge. Use separate cutting boards and plates to prepare proteins, too.

Cook:  Use a meat thermometer to verify that meat and poultry is properly cooked—don’t go by looks.  And keep hot food hot til it’s served—at least 140 degrees to prevent bacteria developing.

Chill:  Perishable foods should be chilled quickly—don’t let them drop to room temperature before putting them in the fridge. Also, don’t marinate or thaw proteins on the counter—letting meat stand for long periods at room temperature is a recipe for food poisoning.

Serving buffet-style meals presents additional safety challenges—it’s all about keeping food at the proper temperature and avoiding contamination. The FDA offers the following advice for presenting a safe buffet:

Serve smaller platters: if guests will be serving themselves over a period of time, then prepare several smaller plates of each dish. Put one plate out at a time, and keep the back-ups either refrigerated or in a 200° oven until they’re needed. Not only is that safer, but guests who eat later will have a more enjoyable meal, too.

Keep food at proper temperatures: use warmers or crock pots to keep hot foods hot—140° or warmer. Any cold food that will be on the buffet longer than two hours should be on ice.

Replace, don’t refill:  Don’t top off partly-empty serving dishes. Wait until they’re nearly empty, then replace the dish with a fresh one.

The Two-Hour Rule: Discard any perishable foods that have been left out for two hours or longer. If you’re serving in a hot environment (90° or higher) then make that the One-Hour Rule.

For more information on food safety, visit www.foodsafety.gov or www.fda.gov.

Cooking for the Gluten-Free Crowd

Seems like it’s everywhere now—the gluten-free movement has reached the Betty Crocker aisle of every grocery store. Just a few years ago, most of us would not have recognized the word “gluten” at all, but now gluten-free products are commonplace, and gluten-free options can be found on menus everywhere.

What’s the big deal about gluten? Well, for people with celiac disease, it’s a very big deal. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by a specific gluten protein (found in wheat). Celiac sufferers experience serious gastrointestinal symptoms such as severe pain and diarrhea. The disease has also been linked to other serious problems, like recurring miscarriages and, in young children, failure to thrive.

Over the last few years, a growing awareness of food allergies has shed light on gluten-sensitivity, which is not the same as celiac disease, but has been cited as a cause for everything from hyperactivity to headaches.

Some say that gluten-free diets are just a trend. This article from Time magazine describes it as another dietary scapegoat. “Avoiding certain ingredients goes in cycles: Back in the 70s, it was sugar. Then it was fat, then saturated fat. Then fat was in but carbs were out. Gluten is the pariah ingredient du jour, and there are a lot of healthy people shelling out big bucks for gluten-free food they probably don’t need.”

As a chef, whether you agree with the wheat-eaters or the gluten-free types doesn’t really matter. What matters is which side your client is on.

If you’re cooking for a client who requests gluten-free fare, your first order of business is to determine his understanding of the term. For people who avoid gluten as a dietary preference, skipping bread, pasta and other goods containing wheat flour is often enough.

However, if your client takes the gluten restriction very seriously, you’ll need to be more careful. Many common ingredients– like soy sauce and beer, for example– may not be obvious offenders, but they contain some form of wheat protein and must be avoided. Watch for tricky items like corn tortillas, which seem like a great option for an alternate starch—but not all are free of wheat ingredients.

To be on the safe side, choose ingredients that are certified gluten free. You can read about gluten-free certifications here.

Cooking for clients with celiac disease requires special food preparation and handling to avoid cross-contamination with wheat ingredients. If your client is diagnosed with the disease, or has a wheat allergy serious enough to warrant such precautions, they’ll most likely know that and seek out chefs or caterers that are trained in gluten-free foodservice.

As always, communicating with your clients is critical—in this case, for their safety as well as their satisfaction.

Do You Have a Culinary Resume?

If you’re working a day job and trying to build your culinary empire on the side, you’ve probably got a decent resume geared for the 9-5—but is your chef resume polished and ready to go?
You never know when opportunity will knock, so having a professional-looking, current resume is critical.

If you need to brush up your resume, here are some suggestions to get you going.

  1. Get your facts in order. Make a list of all applicable experience and education. If you’re just starting out, this may require some creativity. Have you helped a friend cater a party? Volunteered in a soup kitchen? Jot down the dates of each project and the skills you used to complete it. Think about culinary skills but also general skills, like customer service, time management, budgeting, purchasing, etc.
  2. Before you write, determine your objective. Are you looking for full-time employment as a chef, or are you looking for gigs? Do you want catering or personal chef assignments? You don’t need to state your objective on the resume (that’s passé and can take up valuable space on your page), just remember to gear your resume towards the appropriate audience. A family looking to hire a personal chef wants different information than a restaurant hiring a sous-chef. And yes…if you have more than one objective, you may need more than one resume.
  3.  Ask yourself, “What is the single most compelling reason someone would hire me, as opposed to someone else?” The answer to this question is your differentiator—what makes you stand out. Your differentiator should be featured on your resume. Maybe you don’t have a lot of experience but you graduated from a well-known culinary school. Maybe you don’t have the chef’s credential, but you’re known for creative cooking on a budget, great presentation, or some specialty, like wood-fire grilling or gluten free desserts. You can use your differentiator in a summary statement about yourself, or you can build your resume around it. See #4.
  4. Find a template online. (It’s easy—Google “chef resume templates” or similar- you’ll find many free template sources.)  The appearance of your resume—font, page setup, organization—is really important. It gives an overall impression and helps the reader process the information contained in your resume. Unless you’re very good at word processing and/or desktop publishing, use a template to make sure your resume looks professional. Choose the template based on your education, experience and differentiator—you want a template that allows you to place the most impressive information at the top of the document.
  5. Get a proofreader. Ask a friend or colleague to proofread for you. Even if your spelling and grammar are impeccable, another set of eyes will find things you missed. If possible, get a recruiter (or someone who hires for whatever position you’re seeking) to give you some feedback, too.

Remember, a resume is always evolving, because it represents you—and you’re always gaining skills and experience. Update your resume regularly so you’re always ready to impress.

Is the Food Truck Trend Dead?

Food trucks—at least the trendy, gourmet variety we think of today—hit the scene in 2008 when Kogi BBQ first made the news. Since then, food trucks have exploded in popularity, with everything from schnitzel to banh mi served street-side.

Food truck statistics are hard to pin down, but Foodbeast.com estimates that there are three million food trucks in the U.S. today. Numbers like that hardly indicate that food trucks are a passing fad. You could, however, argue that some of the novelty has worn off. The trend has gone mainstream.

Rachel Tepper, a blogger for Huffington Post, sums it up like this, “If you’re unconvinced, consider this: Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and even Rachael Ray’s dog food line all have food trucks. Seriously.”

While it may no longer be a hip trend, food trucks remain a viable startup option for chefs and caterers who can’t afford the investment for a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Estimates of the capital investment required to start a mobile food operation range from $10,000 to $40,000, which sounds like a lot until you look at restaurant startup costs, which can exceed 10 times those figures.

The viability of a food truck business depends on many factors, but location is critical. Some states have very favorable environments for mobile food businesses, while others make it tough to overcome the regulatory red tape. Los Angeles is known as one of the better cities in which to operate a food truck business; New York City is notorious for its maze of regulatory complications.

Wherever they roam, food truck operators benefit when they leverage their social networks. Social media is inextricably linked to the success of a food truck; it’s how customers find their favorite trucks at mealtime.

Another blogger, Frances D’Imperio of The Foodess Files, notes, “It’s hard to find a cluster of people standing beside a food truck in Los Angeles, who are NOT on their phones. They are tweeting their experience by the minute, Instagramming their orders, and if they’re like me, blogging on the go.”

Food trucks, by their nature, offer a “bonus” for social media users in that they are perceived as limited opportunities. When a diner posts a food truck find on Facebook, he’s shown that he was in the right place at the right time—he didn’t just have dinner, he had a limited-time-only experience. Who knows when that truck will be back?

Social media was once considered a passing fad, too. Now it’s apparent that social media is becoming a ubiquitous part of how we experience life in general—including meals and dining experiences. Given their appeal to social media users, food trucks will continue to have a unique niche in the market if they continue to leverage that power.

If you’re interested in food trucks as a possible startup business, check out this great infographic on Foodbeast.com.