Treat your steward well

The steward is a significant and integral part of a well run and organized kitchen. Dishwashing is often the lowest paid, most criticised and mocked position in the kitchen, but undeniably important to basic running. The steward is mistreated by cooks and service staff alike, given the dirtiest jobs and the longest hours and is expected to show up with complaint.

The wisest chefs and owners treat their stewards with kid gloves, giving them the choicest titbits and decent pay. Nothing will bring a kitchen to a relentless halt faster than a busy restaurant where the steward has gotten fed up and walked out or not shown up for work because he was working for slave wages and has been neglected.

The Chef, the cooks and sometimes the service staff and owners are then left trying to play catch-up with the dishes and pots and pans along their own jobs. It creates an atmosphere of animosity. “It’s not MY job”- and when a kitchen only has a certain quantity of sauté pans and the cooks have to wash them as they use them on a busy night, it slows everything down. This effect the food getting cooked, as well as it being served and presented in a timely manner to the customer.

Treat your steward well and you will avoid having to deal with the angry chef griping that he was there until 2:00 am mopping the floor because there was no steward to do it for him.

Treat your steward as the integral part of a well run and organized kitchen that they deserve to be and your operation will run like the well oiled machine it is supposed to.

Is Your Food Truck Concept Feasible?

Main Components of a Feasibility Study:

Unique Selling Point (USP). Having a unique selling point (USP) is crucial to your business’s success.  Ideally you should try and distinguish your food truck from the competition by providing a menu that customers can only get from you.  Even if you are in a market with several similar mobile food vendors or restaurants you can still distinguish yourself from the competition through your product and the service you provide your customers. Find more info on USP here and how to work on them.

Competitive Advantage. Proving that your food truck is better than your competitors is crucial; you need to determine why your menu or service will beat the competition.

The main ways to beat the competition:

Price – where will your prices fall?

Convenience – are your planned parking locations close to your target market?

Quality – are your ingredients high grade, sourced locally or organic? Is your service faster or more efficient?

Market Analysis. You need to prove in this section that a market exists or will exist for your food truck’s menu items. Some market research is essential here. Get the help of consultant to determine your market.

Google – search engines contain lots of useful information but be prepared to spend a long time looking for what you need.

Libraries – most local libraries contain trade journals and local information you may find useful.

Social Networks – Use a service to conduct surveys via email as well as social networks (Facebook, Quora, Twitter) to find out what people think of your idea. A couple well written tweets in peak hours may generate valuable feedback.

Technical & Operational Requirements. In this section you need to cover the basic requirements your truck will need to operate (licenses, commercial kitchen space, and parking). It’s always best to plan the first year in detail, and then look at the next two years on a summary level.

Financial Information. Making profit is the most important area to use to determine if your concept is feasible. Be very conservative with your estimates in this section.

You will need to determine:

  • Startup costs
  • Revenue expectations for first year
  • Ongoing expenses for first year
  • Cash Flow for first year

If you are finding it difficult to plan revenue and expenses, you should speak with a consultant familiar with the food service industry to help you.

The Bottom Line

When you start planning out your food truck and before you invest too much time and money it is very important for you determine if your food truck concept is feasible.  Not only with this will speed up the process of knowing to start over or to proceed with your plan, it will also provide you with most of the information needed to complete your business plan.

Is your food truck concept feasible? Do you have any additional advice on this topic? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on social media.