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What it’s (really) like working in a food truck

What do flowers, birds and food trucks have in common? They all come out in the spring!

As the scrumptious smells waft out from your neighborhood food truck, some of you may just want to grab their food and go on their way. But for those of you who wonder what goes on behind the colorful truck walls, this is for you.

Be prepared to roll up your sleeves

Working in a food truck is not glamorous. It’s tough work. Heavy pots of boiling water need to be lifted, spills cleaned and hot handles avoided at every turn. My eyebrows and arm hairs were almost toast my first time on a food truck.

All of this happens within a truck about 22 feet long. As you can imagine, these tight quarters mean you always have to be on you’re A-game to avoid collisions, spills and burns.

And small spaces coupled with the use of stovetops, ovens, fryers and warmers equals extreme heat, no matter what time of year it is. You’ll often find us sticking our heads out of the window waiting for any tiny bit of a breeze. There will be sweat. Lots of it. 

The food truck life is also extremely fast-paced. People line up to order their food and expect it to be hot and ready within minutes, so there’s definitely no time to just stand there! You have to stay organized, write every order down as they come and don’t forget to ask for their name. My first time on the food truck I forgot to ask for names, so I had to call people by the color of their shirts.

But it’s not all hot, grueling work. In fact, working on a food truck is one of the best jobs a food lover can have.

The foodie culture

Oftentimes, you’ll find a food truck in its natural habitat grouped with other food trucks for festivals and events. This means one thing: TRADES! Towards the end of the event, you’ll often find food truck workers swapping eats with each other. When else would you have a gourmet grilled cheese, a hot dog and a snow cone for lunch?

Because you’re working so closely with your small team, you get to know them better than if you were to work at a bigger restaurant. It’s way more of a family atmosphere. Forget something at the office? You’ve got to work closely with your team to solve the problem on the spot—there’s no going back for anything!

And besides your own team, you get to know the employees for other food trucks. Although you are competing for sales, the food truck community (especially in Nashville) is usually very supportive and wants to see everyone succeed.

On top of all this, you gain access to cool events and festivals that you might have never known about before. That doesn’t happen if you work at Chili’s!



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