Is Frank Z the perfect place for a Food Truck HQ?

Maximus Minimus of Seattle BBQ truck

Maximus Minimus of Seattle BBQ truck

I listen to APM Marketplace when I run in the mornings. This morning they had a story about the LA Food truck biz- and it got the gears spinning.

First- I suggest you go take a look and listen to the story- and then I’ll tell you my Dayton idea:

The food truck fad is sweeping the nation. View photos of some LA food trucks and add to our collection by submitting photos of your favorite neighborhood food truck.

A row of food trucks in LA get ready to feed the hungry lunchtime masses. (Jolie Myers/Marketplace)

A row of food trucks in LA get ready to feed the hungry lunchtime masses. (Jolie Myers/Marketplace)

Today on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal takes us out to lunch for a story on the food truck economy in Los Angeles.

LISTEN TO THE STORY: Food Truck Economy

But LA isn't the only city known for its mobile food. Cities like San Francisco and New York are inventing new ways to deliver good food to your street corner. In Chicago, an effort is underway to make mobile eateries legal on city streets.

via Marketplace Photo Gallery: Food Truck Nation: Photo Gallery.

What does this have to do with Dayton? And why should UD consider this?

Besides having an abundance of unemployed truck builders in the community- and a plant that makes the Sprinter van, we could have a great synergy project.

  • Location: You need a central depot for a region, where the vans can be stored indoors overnight, restocked, cleaned, maintained- etc. the former Trolley barn which became Frank Z Chevy would be perfect.
  • Business plan: UD has a strong history of student business development programs incorporating real world experience. Considering food trucks are primarily a summer business- the students could begin designing a business model, a brand, at the beginning of the year- and by summer- be out working in the trucks testing their business skills.
  • Culinary skills: Sinclair has a culinary program- what better model to test your skills- than a mobile kitchen?
  • Vehicle maintenance, conversion: Sinclair has an automotive program- students could work on an actual fleet- both in maintaining the vehicles and in the conversion process.

The trucks could also be leased to local chefs- who could share in the buying power of all the food trucks buying local produce etc. to create a gastro-economy in Dayton. I’m sure restaurant owners might initially resist the idea of competing with lower overhead kitchens on wheels- however, they could also run their own- taking their cuisine mobile.

Hopefully- this could be pulled off without public money- and we could also see a great building saved. And maybe we can jump start a cottage industry of converting trucks into high class kitchens on wheels right here in Dayton.

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