The So Food Truck is seen at the headquarters of Paul Wurth in the Gare district, 16 May 2018
Photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne
On a sunny day in May, Delano visited So Food Truck, which specialises in deliciously original burgers. Owner Gregg Hell talked about what a usual day is like, why he loves his job, and the secrets to running a successful food truck.
A day in the life of a food trucker
The day begins around 8:30 in the morning when Johnny and Vanessa, the truck’s two employees, start preparing the day’s offerings. Some of their tasks are mincing beef, preparing toppings and making sure everything is in order to deal with the rush of lunchtime customers.
A few hours later they arrive at their site--a business park in Betrange or Findel, or anywhere in between, depending on the day--and by noon hungry people are lining up. Vanessa takes orders while Johnny throws burgers on the grill and cooks the fries.
On some days they have a hundred or more customers, but fewer when the weather is bad. Around two o’clock they stop serving. Cleanup only takes an hour and by 3pm Johnny and Vanessa are finished for the day.
“The difference is quality”
Hell, a native of Provence, opened So Food Truck in 2014 after deciding that he wanted to create his own business, one into which he could put his passion for food.
“Food trucks offer freedom,” Hell said. “We serve street food, but there is a big difference between food trucks and snack trucks. The difference is quality.”
So Food Truck’s menu only offers only seven burgers--including a chicken and vegetarian burger--but the effort that goes into each is phenomenal. Everything is homemade and prepared fresh, from the Luxembourg Charolais beef that is minced every day, to the buns that are made daily by an artisanal baker, to the ketchup and other sauces made from scratch.
The truck’s signature item, the So Berni, shows Hell’s fondness for traditional French cuisine: a beef patty topped with smoked cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, roquette, ketchup and béarnaise sauce.
Despite the quality of the food, Hell said that he tries to keep prices down. A burger with fries or coleslaw costs €11; a comparable meal in a restaurant can run between €15 to €20.
Tips for opening a food truck
While Hell, a co-founder of the Luxembourg Food Truck Association, vigorously promotes the activity in Luxembourg, he reckons that future foodtruckers need to have the right mindset. “You must keep food costs under control,” he said. “And you need to be very clear about your concept. Focus on one thing and do it well. Also, it’s vital to involve your customers, to get their feedback.”
Hell says you will need to spend from €40,000 to €100,000 on the vehicle itself. Startup capital poses a significant cost, too, and getting a licence to operate takes several months. On top of all that, finding the right locations requires legwork. In short, food trucking is a serious commitment.
But, for Hell and other foodtruckers who are having fun and selling great food to happy customers, it’s worth it.