Comments: 1145 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

yesnomaybeso_251 karma

Damn, you've had a full life of ups and downs. What would you say was the happiest moment that every time you think of it, a smile comes to your face?

USAFoodTruck216 karma

Hey man thanks for being the first person to stop by!

I think the moment I walked in to Neyland Stadium for the first time and I heard the crowd sing Rocky Top...I knew I made a great decision for where I went to college after I worked my ass off to get into the University of Michigan and didn't get in there.

It's that---or getting on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Doing it the way I did and on my terms pretty much would be exactly what you would expect from me if you asked any of my friends.

drdanieldoom142 karma

The tri cites in tennessee are starting to get a food truck scene. I run a restaurant here, if you want to relocate, I can help you. I think it's a cool game to be in.

USAFoodTruck57 karma

Thanks friend. I'll keep that in mind.

supedupshortbus247 karma

Why is your truck failing? You aren't one of those delusional kitchen nightmare owners who think their food is great and really it's dogshit, are you?

USAFoodTruck153 karma

That's a long answer---here's the answer from an earlier thread:

In case you're curious---permits in NYC are RIDDICULOUS. They're all obtained on the black market for about 20k for two years.

My permit had expired in June but due to nyc being the bureaucratic nightmare that it is, they were late printing the decals for the new permits and I had kinda just put it out of sight for a while, as the guy from my commissary who got me the permit from an associate of his just told me it's fine we've got time... So in September the 200th anniversary of our national anthem took place in Baltimore for this thig called the star spangled spectacular....

My gf ex gf kinda thing is a phd at Johns Hopkins so I have spent a good deal of time in Baltimore and saw this event called artscape where the food trucks were RAPING AND PILLAGING to the tune of about 15k a day for three days...

I, using this info, decide to swing for the fences and bring my truck to baltimore from NYC for the Star-Spangled Banner anniversary event thinking I'm gonna do the same. Especially since I've got the all American concept and I'm genuinely patriotic and wanted to participate in an event like this.(I actually cried tears of pride at one point which was embarrassing when this song I played from my speakers that's hella hokey but I love it called the Star-Spangled Banner like you've never heard it before played on the last day of the event). So the event comes around and I MEAN I SWUNG FOR THE FENCES bro.

I rented two extra deep fryers, two extra grills, tables, a TRAILERED walk in fridge...and ordered about 7,000 worth of food in preparation for my D-Day esque beat down I was about to levy on the star spangled spectacular... That was until the dude who ran the event who worked with the circus decides to put me in the far back corner behind all the fair food and he's just completely unorganized and being a hella mega dick by like shutting the events down like at precise minutes even though we had business...

It rains on one day and I'm in the corner. I made 5,000 the entire event...so I took a HUGE loss on food alone. To add insult to injury, guy from the commissary calls me on Sunday and he's like bro your permit is up for renewal, come up with 20k cash by Wednesday. It looked like my business was dead right there.... Bein the hustler that I am, and after basically living at the field where the event took place for like three days after it was over, was like fuck it---I'll keep the truck in Baltimore...got the truck inspected and permitted within one week and got it on the road there in Baltimore. Was doing okay at events but the streets in Baltimore are SLOWWWW. And I'm in this financial hole...also knowing that winter is coming­čśľ(this got typed by accident but I'm on a roll so fuck it).

I drive back to nyc in my car and I go down to this place called the south street seaport where I have an option to park my truck 7 days a week if I can get a RESTRICTED permit...i thought it would take months to get the restricted permit. I find out from another truck that I can use a TfSE(temporary food service establishment) certificate as long as I'm on private owned property and I'm money to be back in NYC.

Now I was getting set up in Bmore...but as I'm leaving the seaport I'm listening to hot 97 and all the sudden it's all about the Benjamin's baby comes on the radio...in a moment of ridiculous randomness I text my gf and say "going back to NYC". And I get my truck and pack it up next day and I'm back in NYC the following day ready to rock. She didn't like that move...and decided she wanted to "date someone more stable" while my entrepreneurial Roman Empire was burning to the ground like god damned Hannibal marched through with elephants to stomp on my balls.

So yeah I don't know where I'm going with this but I think I'm still drunk from last night.

TLDR: I post up in NYC at the south street seaport 7 days a week, but I've been hustling all over the bEast Coast.

Wickedturtles58 karma

What was the biggest shock to you when you first started into the food truck buisness?

USAFoodTruck52 karma

Well, after watching the Great Food Truck race and seeing the way it seemed like people would just open up their windows and have a zombie apocalypse esque surge to their truck made me think it was going to be exactly that same way....

I remember the first day we opened. It was cold as hell. We're sitting there in Flatiron on Fifth Ave. Everyone's got their official Yankee Doodle Dandy's t-shirts on, all the fryers are shiny, we're smiling all excited, 4 of us in the turck......and then------

No one showed up. It was the first dose of reality that this wasn't going to be a cakewalk.

I have chased people(in jest of course) makin a show on Fifth Avenue trying to get them to try "the best chicken tender they'll ever have"

Redwinevino48 karma

Have you ever served a celebrity?

USAFoodTruck105 karma

Russell Simmons was outside my truck one time I was at Union Square and I wanted to be like "Bra we got the best chicken tenders ever" but I wasn't sure if it was him.

Mayor DeBlasio stopped by the seaport and went to other trucks...didn't stop by mine. Guess he hates 'Merica.

jumpup40 karma

do you ever eat at competing food trucks, or did you used to?

USAFoodTruck49 karma

Oh that's a non-issue. The food truck community is basically like a family. We feed each other EVERY day for free. I think other trucks frequent mine more often than others and they always tell me how much they love my food! But yeah, I've eaten at pretty much every truck that I know on a personal level.

Some great people in this business, and I'll REALLY REALLY miss that aaspect of sitting out with the other owners shooting the shit before opening.

pretzelface35 karma

Hi there! I don't know how to word this question gently, but I'm genuinely curious.

You followed your dream by taking a risk and starting your own food truck. We often here about people who follow their dreams and have a rewarding career out of that initial risk here in /r/IAmA. Right now I'm nudging myself towards taking a great leap to follow my dream as well- but I'm terrified.

What advice would you give someone thinking about taking a risk to follow their dreams, considering the potential consequences? If you could go back in time, would you still want to experience what you did with your food truck?

USAFoodTruck61 karma

What advice would you give someone thinking about taking a risk to follow their dreams, considering the potential consequences? If you could go back in time, would you still want to experience what you did with your food truck?

Honestly, I remember when I first got my truck wrapped and we're sitting there at the commissary getting it ready to go out the night before my first day. It's early evening in mid-December and we're playing the iPod from the speakers in the truck and Alycia Keys "Empire State of Mind" plays from the iPod. Bubba, my right hand man who moved up to NYC with me from Knoxville after spending some time behind bars, both viewed this as an opportunity for a new life. It was such a cool moment. We just sat there and took it in and listened to the lyrics. We wrapped it up and went home.

There is NO better feeling than having your own business and going for it. I'm glad you asked me this, because I've been feeling pretty mopey about my situation, and my answer is a resounding YES! I would trade another 2 years of misery for the shit ton of happiness I had the first time I drove by the food stamp office in Queens after my first thousand dollar day shouting "VICTORY!!" and flipping it the bird.

Go for it.

RahmsFinger15 karma

Have you thought about Los Angeles? The food truck business is huge out here.

Also, what was the audition process like for Millionaire?

USAFoodTruck28 karma

LA would be awesome! I just had a friend move there and he LOVES it.

The audition was interesting---you show up for a half hour time slot you sign up for online. So say you're the 5:30 time slot, they'll probably be like 150 ppl waiting in line. You take a 10 minute-30 question test and they assign you a number. After the test, they announce people's numbers and call them back for an interview.

The first 3 times I took the quiz, I did not get my number called. Those were some somber times on the subway back to Queens. The 4th time though, they called my number!

They give you an interview, and if they like your personality they call you back to talk to a producer on a video interview.

I knew I was gonna get on the show when they asked me a question and I reasoned it out on camera and he asked me how sure I was about the answer. I said---"I'll put 5 bucks on it right now". And it was right!

Shortly thereafter I got a post card in the mail saying: "Congratulations you're in the official contestant pool."

Week went by. no phone call. month. 2 months. no call. I thought I wasn't gonna get on the show, so I moved back to Tennessee with my sister who was doing her MBA at UT. The Monday after I moved back to Knoxville, I get a called from Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and they're like---you're on the show on Wednesday. It was one of the most uplifting moments of my life. I cried from happiness and thanked the person who called a million times and she said this is why she loves her job.

USAFoodTruck4 karma

Oh man...my workers just came home and they are like brothers to me and they're fighting...it's getting bad....

krokodilhunter-13 karma

Does it ever frustrate you how different black customers are than anyone else? They request discounts, food to be made in a special way, and are always asking how big the portion is. Just order the food and get the FOH. Agreed?

USAFoodTruck20 karma

Lol. I'm not touching this one. But I've had douchey customers of every race and national origin and sexual orientation.

I could give a shit less as long as your money is green. I'll make it however you want.

People always joke that black people must love my food because it being fried chicken...and my reply is...Who the hell DOESN'T like fried chicken? Communists. That's who. And we won't be servin any damn commies at Yankee Doodle Dandy's. Okay that's not true either.

bdorocke2 karma

I'm pretty sure people of every race do this ,I think you might be being racist on accident.

krokodilhunter-3 karma

I actually have worked on a food truck and this is is real.

bdorocke2 karma

Working in a food truck doesn't qualify you to be racist. If you still work in a food truck pay attention and check how many people of other races do that kinda crap, you'll find it's pretty common.

USAFoodTruck4 karma

Seriously. My first customer was black and he didn't see me as a white person selling food. I parked in front of the Apollo Theater in Harlem on amateur night and I only had ONE instance of one person yelling at me "to get the fuck out of Harlem"

Everyone else was super nice and one of the directors of the theatre told me how much he enjoyed us being there.

warren_jeffs_my_nig-20 karma

This. I had a food truck in Utah some years ago before they were a big deal. And the few blacks that lived there would always be picky little bastards. One time, they asked if I had any watermelon, and I said "you love living up to those stereotypes, don't yah, little blacky?" And they never returned after that. Although, now that I think about it, my truck was vandalized a few times thereafter. But who the fuck knows, right? Could've been as a result of some other shit I did to piss people off. I once pissed in someone's soda because he looked at my dick. It was hanging out and all, but still, that shit ain't kosher.

USAFoodTruck7 karma

I wish I could delete comments on this thread....

I'm sure you'd behave this way in person to people...