December 10, 2013

Food trucks are a hot trend in AustinThese days, many people who are looking to put the skills they learned in culinary classes to work are starting their own food truck businesses. And that trend has become especially popular in Austin, Texas.

From Mexican cuisine to barbecue to sub sandwiches, food trucks are offering all types of cuisine to eaters on the go. They also present an excellent entrepreneurial opportunity for people who want to use the talent they’ve acquired through taking Austin cooking courses to open their own business.

Food safety
One of the most important lessons students learn in any culinary program is the importance of food safety. And as a recent spate of inspections of Austin-area food trucks found, it’s a lesson that needs to be applied especially carefully in this new mobile industry.

While most of the food trucks that were inspected came out with passing grades, about 13 percent – or a total of nearly 200 – of businesses classified as food trucks were deemed to be operating below acceptable standards.

There are two primary points of interest that can be gleaned from that information. First of all, with nearly 200 food trucks representing only 13 percent of the total in the Austin area, it has become a booming business. Secondly, because of issues like refrigeration and storage, food trucks are more susceptible to contamination than brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Nonetheless, there haven’t been any confirmed outbreaks of illness resulting from food truck contamination in Austin, and only 18 people have reported being sickened by products purchased from mobile vendors.

Opening your own food truck
As food trucks become more popular across the country, many people are turning to them as a cheaper, easier way to open their own business. The physical mobility of these vehicles mirrors the kind of career flexibility they can provide. Opening your own food truck can be a very interesting path if you’re looking to get out of the rat race, make your own hours and do so while practicing a craft that you enjoy.

In Austin, Oscar Acosta opened his food truck, Tac-O’s, after spending 15 years working in the health care industry. He has found it to be an excellent alternative to the more costly venture of opening a restaurant.

“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own taqueria, but the cost of starting one was too much,” Acosta told Community Impact Newspaper. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to open a trailer, so I decided to move forward.”