In regards to size, you said you would be set up in one spot, but also doing festivals. Size is one issue that you really need to research, especially if you are doing festivals, as they charge by the spot and size of your rig. If it were me, I would go with the largest trailer you can get and then start downsizing. The extra space is nice, trust me, I wish I had more. But more importantly is work flow and equipment placement. And then there is your menu, which will dictate much of how you set this rig up. One thing I have learned is that the fewer choices you can offer the better off you will be. Right now, I sell two items out of my 6 x 10 trailer, cheese steaks and hot dogs. I have room for maybe one more item and that is it. But, the beauty of this is that it is a hell of allot easier to manage my food costs along with my daily prep, which I have down to dicing an onion and cutting up some Roma tomatoes for my Chicago dogs. I started out with a big menu, and trust me, I do not miss it one bit. And then the customers, the more choices you give them, the more confused they will be and can really slow things up, especially when you are in the “zone”.
Myself, I like the idea of specializing in one or two items, as that is what has saved my bacon so to speak. I concentrated on my cheese steaks and they are by far my best seller and my real profit center. I have my food costs down to well under 30% and sell allot of them. Maybe downsizing and specializing in one or two items may be something for you to consider unless you have done this kind of work before and know what your local area wants. But if it were me, I would stick with a simple and easy to prep menu as this is a tough racket and involves more work than most people are willing to do. I have my days down to around 12 hours, 6 days a week and my day off is spent running for supplies. I hit the sack around nine and am up around 5 am to start the coffee.Today is supply day…
You will still need a heavy duty pickup, I would think a diesel would be in order with dual rear wheels. You are moving allot of weight there and then you need to look at fuel economy along with the transmission. I would personally go with a Dodge with the Cummins and a 6 speed manual transmission. And not to start a truck war, I am just going from years of experience as a truck driver and living not far from Indiana, the trailer manufacturing center of our country. Most of the guys moving these trailers are using the Dodge Rams with the manual trannies. The transmission is the weak link in these diesel pickups, and with that kind of weight I would only use a manual transmission, as the autos will cost you an arm and a leg and a set of testicles to repair if it is out of warranty. The manual trannies are normally an easy fix as there is not much there to break and can normally be fixed in your driveway if you have the right tools on hand. Do some research as there are many opinions on which diesel truck is better, I like the Dodge diesels because they use old and proven technology to get down the road and are much easier to work on, trust me on that. And if you don’t believe me, go pop the hood on a Ford or GM diesel, if you can find the motor under all of the plumbing and wiring you have better vision than me.
I think the 8000 lbs was an estimate with equipment. This was for an aluminum not a steel trailer, to boot. I think we’ll have access to a 3/4 ton diesel when we decide to do fairs.
Chef – I plan on doing breakfast and lunch.
egg sandwiches, possibly breakfast tacos/wraps
burgers, dogs, chili, fries (probably fresh cut) and occasional specials
I had planned these cooking items….
convection oven (not sure if full or half-size, primarily for specials)
22 cu fridge
22 cu freezer
2 or 4 burner hotplate (whatever works)
steam table (probably a small one)
a table or two for prep
salad top fridge
These should fit in an 8 x 24, right? Could I go to an 8 x 20?
Assuming I go the standard route (aluminum trailer), what type of tow vehicle do you think I’ll need?
It’s me again. Does anyone out there own a food trailer made entirely of steel? There’s a manufacturer in Texas that makes ’em like this. There may be others for all I know. The majority of trailers that I’ve seen in my travels are made of aluminum on the outside, have plywood and other stuff going on inside.
The manufacturer’s primary selling point is durability. The obvious thinking is that steel will hold up much, much longer. I can buy that. It weighs more, too. The claim for the inside is that it’s more washable and more fire-resistant. It seems that trailers made of steel are considerably more expensive.
Does anyone out there own such a trailer or have experience/knowledge of them? I’d appreciate any feedback on this topic I can get.
WyldeChef is right in regards to towing a monster like that, you will need a diesel rig (tow vehicle $$$) for sure. My little trailer is said to weigh 2500 pounds empty, throw in some supplies and she pulls like 5000 lbs.
And like Billy said, save the money, just make sure that the roof is heavily reinforced if you are mounting a vent fan/exhaust up there. I would use the money saved and have the trailer professionally wrapped with graphics and get the most powerful and quietest generator you can get to power the equipment that is not run on propane.
And I should ask, what exactly are you looking to do, festivals or a permanent set up like in a Lowes or other private property?
Thanks for the input on towing. I wonder what a used truck goes for these days? UGH
The Expo is on a 1/2 ton chassis… I used to have an f-150 and pulled a 7000lb trailer with it, pulled the guts out of it, and forget about stopping!
I have an f-250 diesel to pull my trailer with now. The torque shift trans works very well with a heavy load, I would not pull 8000lbs with your rig.
You dont need a dually, my f-250 is srw, with 33/12.50/18 tires does not sway and squats verry little. For longer hauls, I use the weight dist hitch, for a nice even ride.
Like localnet said earlier… dont want to get into a pissing match about what truck is best.
That’s some good advice you have. I appreciate it. We own a Ford Expedition with a tow package. The dealer indicated that it can tow up to 8,900 lbs. I know one of the trailers being proposed is said to be about 8,000 lbs. Do you think this might still be too much for the Expedition, even with occasional use only?
My trailer was built by http://westcoastconcessiontrailers.com West Coast Trailers, in Central California.
Wells advertises plywood walls because they are selling you a cargo trailer. Everything from there is an addition.
All interior walls must be covered in a smooth, non porous material, such as frp or stainless.
I would go with a manufacturer that only builds kitchens. They are the experts.
Do you know what you are going to serve yet?
Your menu is going to dictate what equipment you will need and how it is laid out.
You also need them to understand your health dept regulations and any other state or local agency that may have a say so in your kitchen.
Washington state has some of the strictest guidelines on mobile kitchens, a stock trailer built for anywhere else would not pass inspection here.
I had to have a 4th sink installed for produce washing, no a/c is allowed because it is not energy efficient, all electrical conduit must be exposed and not run inside the walls.
The serving window must be tempered glass, propane bottles installed on the tongue only, not on either side on platforms.
This eliminates installing a generator on the tongue.
Waste tank 35% larger than fresh water.
Wild Dog – thanks so much for the local recommendation.
The point on towing the 8.5 x 24 all-steel trailer is a valid point. Their website indicates you need a 1-ton to tow it.
Chef – If it may ask, where did you get your trailer? I do have a Wells Cargo rep and a good restaurant equipment place near by. The two of them could work together on the unit. Wells advertises plywood walls. How easy are they to keep clean?
Wells cargo trailers are built very well, I used to have one that was in daily use, but everything will wear out and need repairs eventually.
You just need to do lots of homework, call the different manufacturers and ask for a quote once you have a design, with all equipment that you are going to want.
Do you need a grill, char broiler, 1-2-3 fryers?, steam table? How many wells? What type of oven? How many open burners? How much cold space? Do you need a sandwich make up table? How big do you need your fresh and waste tanks to be? Include 2 #100lb lp tanks or else you will be filling them every couple of days.
Do you have to have an ansul system? Do you want diamond plate floors?
Do you want side and rear concession windows? If so, you loose alot of space.
I got quotes from $30-75k for the trailer I have now. I paid somewhere in the middle. It is built like a tank, from the ground up. It was not a cargo trailer with a kitchen stuffed into it, like most manufacturers are doing.
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/tm.aspx?m=534518&high=trailer Look here for pics…..
I woud be worried about weight and fuel economy. I mean if your going to a war zone by all means get the tank. But for normal use I think I’d rather buy two in the end because after a few years your going to need to make some changes regardless.
I have a 6.5’x14′ Waymatic all steel trailer. Everything is steel including the floor and the roof. The roof supports a 50 gallon water tank (350lbs) a full size 1/3horsepower evaporative cooler, my exhaust fan, and roughly 500lbs of wrap-around steel framing for sinage/lights and doesn’t blink. I can also walk on it (210lbs) and still doesn’t blink.
The earlier Waymatic trailers are absolute tanks and damn near indestructible – if you ever find one that is rust free snatch it up!!
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