Calling all would-be entrepreneurs interested in putting their dreams into motion: Learn how to launch a food truck business in an upcoming series of classes.
The fourth session of Mobile Vending University, or MVU, kicks off Jan. 28.
“The MVU is one of the biggest advantages in the Tri-Cities and you need every advantage you can get. You get to talk to people doing it successfully,” said Charlotte Williams, who owns KC’s Biscuit Shop with her husband Kelly.
They took the MVU class in the fall and said it was eye-opening.
“We have a better grasp of what to expect,” she said. “It made us step back and gave us a reality check. Somebody who seriously wants to do this, if you’re still as serious about it as when you start MVU, you’re going to be successful.”
The Williamses are working on securing financing for their food truck that will serve up breakfast sandwiches on homemade Southern buttermilk biscuits. They hope to set up shop in Kennewick’s new Columbia Gardens Wine Village on Columbia Drive to serve the Hanford commuter crowd.
They originally wanted to open a “brick and mortar” restaurant “but man it’s expensive…When you start looking into details, you’re like, ‘Oh my!’ There’s so much that people don’t realize it takes,” said Charlotte Williams of Kennewick.
The MVU series, offered by Pasco Specialty Kitchen and Columbia Basin College, covers five areas for prospective food truck owners: navigating licensing processes and understanding local code requirements; managing money and drafting a business plan; learning best practices in operations; sourcing a truck or trailer; and marketing, including social media.
“If these people were to sit down and go through the class, they’re going to have a lot of tools, understanding and … resources they didn’t have before. It’s like having a coach — whatever you’re willing to put in is what you’re going to get out of it,” said Charlotte Williams.
WorkSource Columbia Basin in Kennewick is offering tuition assistance for the $399 class to those who qualify for general unemployment benefits, such as those receiving public assistance, dislocated workers who have been laid off, those receiving or who have exhausted unemployment insurance, and youth ages 18 to 24 years old not currently in school.
“Being a successful food entrepreneur often means overcoming life lessons and capitalizing on a defined skill set, whether that’s cooking, operations or marketing,” said Marilou Shea, the program’s creator, in a release. “The metrics for successful food entrepreneurs are evolving and much of the time, it’s about sweat equity and a combination of skills that produce growth and ultimately are the ‘recipe’ for business success.”
The classes are taught by industry experts and include private lenders, Broadmoor RV staff, current food truck vendors, officials from the Benton-Franklin Health District, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and Pasco inspection services, and sales and marketing professionals.
The series is designed to provide a hands-on approach to all things mobile vending, Shea said.
New add-ons for the winter session include expansion of field trips to food trucks, social media posts by participants and in-class menu sampling.
The Pasco Speciality Kitchen has organized the popular Food Truck Friday event in downtown Pasco for the past two years where half a dozen food trucks serve up their tasty fare at the farmers market pavilion.
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25
Where: Pasco Specialty Kitchen, 110 S. Fourth Ave., Pasco.
Registration: $399. Advance registration is required and in person only at Columbia Basin College, Building H—Hawk Central.
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