“That’s really the perk of having a food truck,” Brian says. “With most brick-and-mortars, you see that they’re super busy for the first two or three months and then business dies down a little. The luxury of being a food truck is we’re the new person in town wherever we go. We stagger our visits about every eight weeks or so, that way we’re always that new person coming in.”
This approach has served the Hardestys well to date. With two food trucks already operating, they plan on opening several more to serve the various regions of the Bluegrass State.
“We have our truck in Elizabethtown, and the Paducah truck,” Sam says. “The Paducah truck can actually hit five different states [Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas] because the five states are within a 100-mile-radius of each other. We haven’t decided where we want our third truck but maybe somewhere in the Middlesboro area so we can also serve Knoxville [Tennessee]. We would like to have both of those trucks operational within about 18 months.”
Popping up across smaller cities and towns is a strategy Chris Coleman also employs.
Coleman, who opened his Auntie Anne’s food truck at just 29 years old, says customers in small towns are excited at the prospect of having the truck set up shop in their area.
“I’ll make a Facebook post and let them know we’re there,” Coleman says. “We get like 200–300 shares and there will be a line from the time we open until the time we close. For them to see that food truck in their town is exciting for them. Our numbers are very good. I think they [small-town customers] spend more money when they visit us because they don’t know when we’ll be coming back.”
Like the Hardestys, Coleman wants to grow his fleet. With a goal of five units in the next few years, Coleman offers advice for anyone thinking about getting into the food truck game.
“It takes a lot of work,” Coleman says. “A lot of dedication and motivation. There are a lot of things to consider. But mostly it takes dedication and motivation.”
The food truck business is not for the faint of heart. Linda Reed echoes Coleman’s sentiment, saying, “you have to recognize it’s a hard business because you’re basically starting over every time you go out, you have to break down, you got to set up again, you’ve got to restock.”
Hard work aside, for Reed, partnering with Auntie Anne’s was about the dedication to the brand.
“When I met the people and saw the passion they had for the brand,” Reed says, “everyone that was associated with Auntie Anne’s had it and that passion is still there. That’s the main reason why I got involved.”