Boulder Valley School District’s Head Chef Brandy Dreibelbis joins us to chat about how their “Munchie Machine” food truck came to fruition. Want to get started? Skip to the quick tips below or take a listen to the podcast for a full walk-through of creating and marketing your very own food truck today!
Cool and free-and-reduced eligible? Now there’s a combo you don’t find everyday.
Food truck fanaticism is sweeping the nation and this Colorado district has done just what it takes to tap into trendy. The Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) food truck – affectionately named “Munchie Machine” by the student population – goes where kids go and offers what hip people want. The Munchie Machine serves hundreds of hungry students USDA-compliant lunches each and every week and is actually gaining popularity with non-student members of the community! The vast menu spans everything from food-approved fare such as quinoa burgers, pork BBQ sliders and bacon-grilled cheese to your staple (and quite savory) grain and veggie sides.
Let’s take a look at some simple steps (and helpful tips) that’ll literally get your wheels spinning…
A generous $75,000 from Whole Foods Market kicked the whole thing off. Chef Brandy then conducted a simple Craigslist search and came across the soon-to-be Munchie. For less than many new cars, the $49,000 price tag allowed remaining funds to outfit the rig, take care of any repairs and brand the exterior so folks could (literally) see the food truck coming from a mile away.
Typical trucks are about 24 feet in length. Brandy’s truck is about 5 feet longer and through experience, she has found that the additional length can make maneuvering difficult in some situations.
Although the truck did come with some pre-existing equipment, some of it had to be replaced. Since deep-fat-fryers don’t usually fly with school nutrition guidelines, Brandy opted for two flat top griddles. Helpful note: the second griddle draws a lot of power and is seldom used.
Study up on your local regulations prior to putting your food truck into service. A small surprise – like a mandatory $5,000 “ansul” fire suppressant system – can be a major hit to your truck budget. Remember that there are several city/county/state health and fire codes and sales tax rules, which can differ between governing bodies.
Brandy brought her district’s transportation department on board from the very beginning, since they’d be taking care of truck maintenance. Aside from keeping the truck in tip-top shape, the District Fleet Manager also assisted with the initial purchase, greatly improving the entire process.
Have an idea of your desired outcome prior to undertaking any project. Brandy set some general goals to help guide Munchie’s direction, all of which she’s accomplished! (Take a listen to the full PEP Talks episode to dig into the details.)
Increase lunch participation in high schools
Create additional revenue source for the food services department