Small Business Feature: Food Trucks of Corpus Christi

Jinky Romero Ironwood Insights

The food truck industry is undoubtedly one of the fastest rising industries of recent years. According to Forbes.com, food trucks will have a projected revenue growth of 3.7% over the next five years. This will put the industry’s total revenue to $1.7 billion, something exceptional considering how, not that long ago, food trucks were only found mainly in big college cities.

Right now, there are close to 5,000 food trucks across the United States. Consumers from all over the country have made sure that the demand for quick, mobile, and unique cuisines are met. Even “big small towns” like Corpus Christi, Texas now has a thriving food truck community. “Food Truck Fridays” are a common thing in the Coastal Bend city, and we talked to three of the biggest players in the game to get their insights on the growing industry.

D’Lish Food Truck (Photo from: Nicole Kindzirksy)

D’LISH FOODS

Nicole and Roman Kindzirsky started D’Lish Foods in June of 2015. Nicole had always dreamed of owning a food truck and when her catering business with her mom started to create a good buzz in the community, she and husband Roman decided to save up for it.

D’Lish serves Asian fusion food (they make a mean lumpiang shanghai!) and their menu changes daily. The thing about food trucks that can’t be said for most sit-down restaurants or traditional fast food joints is the uniqueness and continuous evolution of the food they serve. D’Lish makes sure that they always come up with new and exciting dishes to add their menu.

While food trucks might not be the most conventional industry to get in for most, Roman says there’s still a lot of perks to it, the biggest one is setting your own schedule and having time to spend with the family.

Small business advice:You have to be a very motivated person that is willing to work hard. It is going to be more expensive and more difficult then what you think to get started. Take advantage of opportunities when you do have lots of business and be prepared for a bad day, week, or month. The hardest part is to keep going and pushing when quitting is always an easy out.”

Where to find them: Catch them every Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. outside the CCISD administration building and every 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at the Downtown Farmers Market. They also host sushi-making classes once a month at Lazy Beach Brewing. Head over to their Facebook for more information.

Hi Ho on the Go Food Truck (Photo from: Hi Ho on the Go Facebook Page)

HI HO ON THE GO

While most food trucks begin as a food truck, Hi Ho on the Go is a different story. Hi Ho the restaurant, located on Morgan Ave., is an old favorite of the community. When the demand for it on the south side grew, owner Rene Garcia decided a food truck would be the best way to meet the need.

“My father and I were sitting at the restaurant, when someone walked up and said we should build a Hi Ho restaurant on the south side of CC.  That’s when I said I’ll do a food truck and reach people all over the City,” he shares.

On the truck, they serve favorites such as fresh homemade tortillas, enchiladas, fajitas, Carne Guisada plates, and, of course, tacos! On Thursdays, it’s extra special with their Fideo plates.

Small Business Advice: “For anyone starting up, know the rules, regulation and permits needed.  Be patient!”

Where to find them: Hi Ho on the Go is at the new RTA facility every Thursday for lunch.  They are also at most food truck events and festivals.  Bonus: They do parties too! They’ve done birthday parties, office parties, and holiday celebrations. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Mise En Place Mobile Cafe Food Truck

MISE EN PLACE MOBILE CAFE

The idea of Mise En Place started with Chef Jeremiah Ramirez’s love for traveling, meeting new people, and, of course, sharing the food he creates to the people he meets.

“The way we show love is by cooking for other people,” Adrienne Ramirez, one of the owners of Mise En Place, tells us.

Like any small business venture, food trucks are built on personal customer service. This could not be truer for Mise En Place. Adrienne says that a big part of their success is their willingness to cater to their customers’ needs.

Being a mobile business, you never know which customers you’re going to get, so Adrienne makes it a point to remember the people and get to know them. An example she shares: They come to One Shoreline Plaza once a week and make it a point to carry vegetarian options, as they know a specific person from the building is trying to eat healthier.

But also like any other business venture, there are downsides to owning a food truck. Adrienne calls it a “mobile circus” and cites that one of the hardest things about it is getting people to give your food truck a chance.

Sometimes, it’s also necessary to get financial help from the right people. Mise En Place knows how beneficial it is to partner up with alternative lending companies, such as Ironwood Finance, to further grow their food truck.

“Y’all got us out of the tightest spot. [Ironwood] isn’t just a business, Ironwood means family to us,” she says.

Where to find them: They’re everywhere! Some of their regular spots include One Shoreline Plaza, the CCISD Administration building, Lazy Beach Brewing, and Tapology Texas Pub. They update their Facebook page everyday about their whereabouts!