Considering how many food trucks have hit the streets across the U.S., Kim Baxter has plenty to brag about. Last summer, Baxter and her upstart Orlando-based food truck, Goodfood, bested food trucks from around the country and captured $5,000 as winner of the inaugural Progressive Insurance Flo’s Fabulous Food Truck Contest.
Baxter, whose truck serves a farm-to-fork menu featuring organic, pasture-raised, and non-GMO products sourced from area farms and co-ops, shares the story behind Goodfood’s creation and the Progressive award’s rich impact on her not-quite-one-year-old enterprise.
How did Goodfood come to be?
I worked 16 years for a concert promoter, and one of my responsibilities was dealing with the food vendors. That got me fascinated about mobile foodservice and inspired me to get involved myself. In December 2010, I bought a trailer and parked it in my backyard, slowly renovating it and developing the menu. The Goodfood truck finally hit the road in April 2013.
What’s on the Goodfood menu?
Slow roasted is my thing. I smoke a Boston butt; it’s a 15-hour smoke with a dry rub that people have just loved. I’ve also developed a number of different sliders—one with smoked pork as the base, another that’s Cuban style, some chicken sliders, and some tasty barbecue sliders, too.
What challenges were you facing in Goodfood’s earliest days?
I had budgeted $15,000 to renovate the truck, and by the time I got ready to roll, I had run out of capital. So even though I was operational and had done a few events, the work was much harder than it needed to be. Without a fire suppression system, I had to pre-cook all my food, and I also didn’t have a fryer, which meant customers looked elsewhere. Even getting the generator in position to power the trailer was a chore. I saw the Progressive contest and said, “That money is mine.” It couldn’t have come at a better time.
How has winning the award affected Goodfood?
The prize turned everything around for me and allowed me to do the last necessary things to go full throttle. Installing the fire suppression system was the first priority; that cost about $2,000, but has almost doubled my profit margin. I also put on a new set of tires and purchased a new jack and a new winch, a small crane that allows me to raise and lower the generator.
What’s your goal with Goodfood?
Once this trailer goes into the black, I plan to buy another. My five-year plan is to have three trailers and one truck working simultaneously around town. I’m absolutely tenacious and committed to making this work.