Designing and building a street food vehicle would be a dream come true for many aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs, but it’s easier said than done.
There are a lot of problems to solve and challenges to overcome, which his why we asked client Susan Currie to explain her journey from start to finish.
How did Susan start her food truck business?
Susan worked as a chef for almost 25 years and always wanted to start her own business. Coming up with the name was probably the easy part.
“I just thought I’m driving, I’m cruising and I’m just serving different food”, says Susan, “I chose it with my kids – Cruising Cuisine!”
In preparation for the menu’s she planned to serve and with an interest in plant based food, Susan took several course and earned several diplomas through Leith’s school of cookery.
“My course with Leith’s helped me see that plant-based food can be versatile and yummy for all”.
What problems did she need to solve to get her street food van built?
One of the biggest roadblocks to starting a street food business is finance. It costs a lot more than a couple of grand to source, convert, customise and brand a street food vehicle.
You can’t just buy the cheapest van, because you need something reliable that can get you from job to job – which are often far apart.
Once you have your vehicle you then need to find a company willing to convert it, which is not an easy task. You have to get worktops, appliances, such as fridges or ovens and other equipment built in along with a plumbing system, ventilation, lighting, plugs, wiring and power.
That means you need a company with engineering, electrical and plumbing experience as a minimum – talent that’s hard to find under one roof.
Most companies you do find don’t offer custom conversions; they normally take a standardised approach, with a few modular options to keep things simple.
This keeps costs down for you, but you won’t get your dream food truck that way, you just get a food truck.
This was probably the hardest part for Susan too: no-one wanted to take a brief for a custom street food vehicle.
Many companies were happy to take her money and she got many promises, but up until she met with Richard Clark, Raccoon MD, few delivered.
“It’s taken a while”, Susan admits, “A whole while for it to come to pass. Like after 2 years I was duped by a company called [NAME REDACTED] who took £15,000+ from me!”
How did Raccoon help?
When Susan did come to us, we were able to put things right. We put in a serving hatch, power, plumbing, worktops and appliances including a gas oven with ventilation.
We built in stainless steel surfaces for easy wiped down and cleaning and also helped Susan design a relevant brand logo.
“The guys at Raccoon have helped me develop and customise my vehicle personal to me, and helped my dreams come to reality. My brand logo! This is not the logo I had! I had a very plain logo – Susan’s Cruisin Cuisine, SCC, I’ll draw a fork there, knife there, spoon there …now I got my face on the van!”
What was the result?
“The vehicle attracts customers” Susan says, pointing to the branding. “The insides, the equipment and how it was built is all really really good. I can wipe and clean down quick, and disinfect because of the worktops. It’s perfect, and it works for me.”
“It can do pretty much everything, it’s a kitchen on wheels, wellness on wheels, everything on wheels ”
Susan loves the vehicle and is planning to take on weddings, dinners, meal prep, kids birthday parties food festivals, markets and any other event that comes her way.
“I shall be trying to get on top of people eating yummy food, and bringing happiness to everyone. Thank you so much! ”
Are you interested in a custom street food vehicle?
Check out our street food design and conversions page! From creating a business plan to getting finance and choosing the food truck itself, we can help you every step of the way!
Check out our helpful food truck articles and our Complete Guide to Street Food Trucks. We've worked with several start up food truck businesses to create their dream street food set up, and have created all the resources you need to get you on the road.