News / USA

    Building a Restaurant on Wheels from Inside Out

    Building a Restaurant on Wheels from Inside Outi
    X
    March 04, 2013 11:26 PM
    In recent years food trucks have proliferated in big U.S. cities. As the popularity of the mobile kitchen continues to grow, a small business in the Washington D.C. suburbs is also profiting. VOA’s June Soh takes us to East Coast Custom Coaches, a builder of food trucks.
    June Soh
    In recent years food trucks have proliferated in big U.S. cities.  As the popularity of the mobile kitchen continues to grow, a small business in the Washington D.C. suburbs is also profiting.  East Coast Custom Coaches is a builder of food trucks.

    “You’ve got to come in, go around in this truck, and back out that window in three to four minutes, period,” says Lee Campbell, owner of East Coast Coaches who believes that is how long it should take for a chef to prepare food for customers.

    “That is how we design our trucks to the chef. They are made for the chef," Campbell said.  "Are you right-handed or left-handed, are you real tall ...,”

    East Coast Custom Coaches is based in Manassas, Virginia, outside Washington. Over the past several years, his team of 15 employees has built about 200 food trucks.

    Gauri Sarin sells Asian fusion food in downtown Washington. Her mobile kitchen, Something Stuffed, was built by Campbell's team.

    “I love the inside of my truck," she says. "I am very happy with all the equipment and where everything is located."  

    Campbell says each truck has a different design depending on the cuisine.  One of his biggest challenges is finding the best use of the small space.  

    “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven pieces of equipment [are] right here," he said. "We maximize every square inch of it.  That is why I have a top-notch engineer on my staff.”

    That engineer is Tom Mayhew.  He met Campbell many years ago when they were working as volunteer firefighters.

    “I have 26 years in a fire department. So I have a keen eye for safeties," Mayhew said. "When I look at a design or a drawing, I take safety in consideration first.  Is it safe?  If it is, then we can design the way they [customers] feel like they want to make it.”

    Jeff Kelly, of the D.C. Food Truck Association, says the trucks must also comply with local government regulations.  

    "So working with somebody like Lee and East Coast Custom is important in that way because regulations are really hard to understand for someone just opening a truck for the first time," he said. "They know the rules, they know the regulations.  They build quality vehicles."

    That is why Carmen and Chris Morse came to East Coast Custom.

    “We are going to serve gourmet mini-burgers,” said Carmen.  

    “We have worked in restaurants since we were young teenagers, things like that," Chris said. "This is our first venture on a mobile food truck. We are super excited."

    Campbell says most food trucks in the Washington area are used vehicles from FedEx or the post office. The re-outfitting process takes two to three months and costs, on average, around $45,000 - a fraction of the cost of opening a regular restaurant.

    "We have about 31 trucks to build," Campbell said. "We try to get four to five trucks out a month.”

    Campbell expects to stay busy for many years to come, as the curbside restaurant industry keeps growing.

    You May Like

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora