February 2017 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    8 of the Best Spring Food Festivals

    Written by: J. Vigotsky



    With the first official day of spring less than a month away, it’s time to start looking forward to warmer weather, budding flowers, and a wide range of spring food festivals. With popular festivals scattered all over the United States, there are options for food lovers in every corner of the country. Before deciding which festivals you’ll attend, make sure to educate yourself about all the great offerings. Here are just a few of the great spring food festivals available to gourmets around the country:


    Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit – Las Vegas, NV – Thursday, April 27 - Sunday, April 30

    A four-day event that takes place in six different luxury hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, Vegas Uncork’d has been attracting epicures since its inaugural event in 2007. Featuring 25 unique events and 80 of the world’s most talented chefs, the food festival enables attendees to eat meals that are usually only served in exclusive restaurants of Paris, New York, and the UK. This year, cooking icon Bobby Flay will prepare and serve brunch in an intimate private setting. The festival’s main event is “The Grand Tasting,” in which more than 2,500 food fanatics sample the signature dishes of some of the world’s most famous chefs. Each Vegas Uncork’d event stands by itself, and most tend to be pretty costly. But if you have cash to spare, Vegas Uncork’d offers an unrivaled experience.

    vegas uncork'd


    Austin Food and Wine Festival – Austin, TX – Friday, April 28 - Sunday, April 30

    Benefitting the nonprofit Austin Food & Wine Alliance, the Austin Food and Wine Festival features chef showcases and artisanal food. Not to be outdone by food, the wine and spirits offered at the festival come from all over the country. With more than 70 food and lifestyle exhibitors, the Austin Food and Wine Festival also provides live music that sets the tone for a rockin’ weekend of fun, food, and drink. Culinary demos allow festival-goers to learn all the newest cooking techniques, while the beer, wine, and spirit tastings enable drink lovers to indulge in all the tastiest beverages. The festival culminates with a “Rock Your Taco” showdown in which chefs battle it out to see who can cook the best taco. Attendees reap the rewards by sampling each delicious creation. Most events at the Austin Food and Wine Festival are accessible with an “All-in Ticket.”


    austin food and wine festival


    Taste of Vail – Vail, CO – Wednesday, April 5 - Saturday, April 8

    Perhaps the most scenic spring food festival in the country, Taste of Vail benefits from the breathtaking backdrop provided by Vail Mountain. Showcasing more than 30 of Vail’s best chefs, the festival also attracts winemakers from close to 50 of the country’s finest wineries. Taste of Vail features four signature events, ensuring there’s something for every food lover and wine connoisseur. The events include a tasting that will have over 100 varieties Rosé wine–a diverse wine best-known for its prevalence in Mediterranean France. For meat lovers, Taste of Vail offers “The American Lamb Cook-Off,” which provides a sampling of several unique lamb dishes. A Mountain Top Tasting event includes gourmet food, beer, wine, and spirits–all enjoyed with awe-inspiring views from 10,350 feet above sea level. The final signature event is The Grand Tasting and Auction, which offers food and drink from all of Taste of Vail’s restaurants and wineries.


    taste of vail


    Italian Market Festival – Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, May 20 - Sunday, May 21

    Taking place at Philadelphia’s famed South 9th Street Italian Market–Amercica’s oldest outdoor market–the Italian Market Festival will return this year for another weekend of food, drink, music, parade, and sport. 70,000 attendees are expected as it’ll be cannoli, roast pork, sausage, pepper and pizza galore! Local Italian-American vendors line the streets, offering specialty meats and cheeses. There is also no shortage of international food like Mexican, Asian, and South American dishes. The festivities also include the Procession of Saints and a half ball tournament. But the real main event is the greased pole climbing! Traditionally known as Albero Della Cuccagna, the contest sees teams of contestants attempting to climb a 30 foot high pole that’s been thoroughly greased with lard. At the top of the pole are meats, cheeses, gifts, and money. At the bottom of the pole are padded mats for soft landings.


    Italian market festival


    2017 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest – Memphis, TN – Wednesday, May 17 – Saturday, May 20

    Celebrating its 40th year, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will take place at Tom Lee Park–a beautiful 33-acre piece of land that overlooks the Mississippi River. For the first time in the illustrious history of the contest, the competition will span four days. The festival features a variety of competitions in which teams compete for culinary supremacy. The competitions include beef, poultry, seafood, sauce, and hot wing contests. But the main attraction is the pork division–the winner of which brought home a whopping $30,500 last year! There are also fun special events in which people dress up as pigs and perform songs or skits. A Kingsford Tour of Champions ticket is required if you want to taste and judge delicious barbecue from the competing teams.


    World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest


    New Orleans Wine & Food Experience – New Orleans, LA – Thursday, May 25 - Sunday, May 28

    Featuring over 1,000 wines from around the globe, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has raised more than $1.2 million for non-profit organizations during its 25-year history. The festival also spotlights top local chefs and attracts over 7,000 food and wine fanatics. The festival’s events include wine tastings, educational seminars, intimate dinners, pastry competitions, and even a parade with art and music! With many events taking place in the heart of the French Quarter, this spring food festival also offers a slice of culture. There are several different types of tickets that can be purchased, which enables attendees to personalize their experiences.


    New Orleans Wine & Food Experience


    SAVOR Blowing Rock – Blowing Rock, NC – Thursday, April 20 - Sunday, April 23

    Formerly the Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival, SAVOR Blowing Rock is a celebration of food, wine, craft beer, and entertainment. The festival’s itinerary includes a restaurant showcase, cooking classes, educational seminars, and even a 5K race. Wine, beer, and spirit tastings are also on the schedule. This festival has a more of a small town-feel than others on this list, so it’s perfect for food and wine lovers who want to get away from the hustle and bustle. The area surrounding Blowing Rock is also exceptionally beautiful. After all, the town was named after a rock formation that extends out over John’s River Gorge and provides spectacular views.


    blowing rock


    Crawfish Music Festival – Biloxi, MI – Thursday, April 20 - Sunday, April 23 & Thursday, April 27 - Sunday, April 30

    Taking place on consecutive weekends at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, the Crawfish Music Festival brings together fans of both crawfish and music. With the Mississippi Sound setting a scenic background, festival-goers enjoy live performances while eating a southern classic–spicy boiled crawfish with potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. There are also a wide range of food vendors that offer unique crawfish-based dishes. Crawfish etouffee, crawfish pies, and fried crawfish are just a few of the many offerings. This year’s music lineup includes 26 different artists over the two weekends! If you are particularly confident in your own crawfish dish, enter the festival-hosted crawfish cook-off for the chance to win $3,000! If cooking isn’t your thing, you can instead purchase a ticket to sample other chefs’ crawfish.

     crawfish music festival


    With so many great spring food festivals, it’s difficult to choose just one. Luckily, these celebrations take place throughout the spring season, allowing you to attend multiple events. Start planning your trips now, as it’s always preferable to ensure lodging well in advance.

    Hot Drinks and Warm Foods for Winter

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    stay warm during winter


    With more than a month of winter still left on the calendar, your restaurant’s customers are almost assuredly growing increasingly tired of the cold weather. That’s where you come in! Keep your patrons warm and their spirits high by offering hot drink and food specials. Here are just a couple of items that will help bridge the gap until the snow melts and spring arrives.


    Revitalize with Coffee

    It’s no secret that America loves coffee. Found in nearly every office throughout the country, coffee is more than just a pick-me-up: it’s a lifestyle. And rather than brewing cups at home, people are increasingly turning to coffee shops and restaurants to get their fix (1). As espressos and gourmet coffee products increase in popularity, restaurants will be pressured to compete with shops that carry specialty products like butterscotch lattes and caramel macchiatos.

    A great way to contend with these niche coffee shops is to offer coffee at a reduced price during winter months when customers need it most. By doing so, patrons will become accustomed to having delicious coffee in your restaurant. Before they know it, stopping by for a hot cup of Joe will just be part of their daily routines.

    Another option is to improve the quality of your house coffee or start offering alternatives like cappuccino, espresso, and gourmet coffee. This is of particular importance if Millenials make up a large portion of your restaurant’s target market, as they are the most likely to drink those types of products and willing to pay a premium for their coffee (1).


    hot coffee


    Stay Cozy with Tea

    With nearly unlimited flavors, there’s a type of tea to satisfy every customer’s palette. Whether you prefer something spicy or tame, there is a tea out there for you. Unfortunately, most restaurants don’t carry such a wide selection of tea. By offering a variety of tea flavors, you can differentiate yourself from other restaurants and attract new customers.

     A lighter alternative to coffee, tea can boost the immune system and help your customers stave off illness throughout the winter months (2). Since tea contains significantly less caffeine than coffee, it is a great option for customers who want just a small energy boost. Herbal teas like chamomile can even soothe the digestion system. Offer cups of tea with add-ins like honey and lemon, and customers with sore throats will be forever grateful.

    Indulge in Decadent Hot Chocolate

    Family restaurants that are often frequented by kids should make sure to always have hot chocolate on hand during the winter. That way, when a child’s parent asks for tea or coffee, the child can order a cup of hot chocolate and fit right in. Although commonly believed to be an indulgence, hot cocoa has also been shown to be a significant source of antioxidants (3).

    Don’t forget to also stock up on marshmallows and whipped cream for the ultimate hot chocolate treat! If you really want to spice things up, try offering a hot chocolate special of the day. Some possibilities include gingerbread hot chocolate, peanut butter hot chocolate, and salted caramel hot chocolate. Not just for children, sometimes there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a hot cup of delicious hot cocoa.


    decadent hot chocolate


    Relax with a Hot Adult Beverage 

    Although there might not be anything like a cold beer on a hot summer day, there are several hot alcoholic drinks that can keep you warm on a cold winter night. Restaurants that have liquor licenses can help keep their customers satisfied by offering liquid escapes from the cold. Irish coffee–hot coffee mixed with Irish whiskey–is perhaps the most well-known example. A glass of hot spiked apple cider is another common choice, with rum and bourbon being delicious alcohols to mix with cider. Perfect for drinkers who are looking for more of a kick, a hot toddy is whiskey infused with hot water, honey, herbs, and spices. Try asking your customers what special hot drinks they’d like to see offered during the cold winter months.

    Healthy Soup

    Even if your restaurant already carries soup, consider expanding your offerings for a month or two. It’ll give diners extra motivation to leave the safety of their comfortable homes and venture into the cold if a large bowl of hot soup awaits them. Chicken noodle soup is the obvious choice, as it’s been shown to have a wide range of positive health effects–including:

    • Reducing upper respiratory cold symptoms by minimizing inflammation
    • Increasing air flow and movement of mucus
    • Hydration
    • Improving of the efficacy of cilia – tiny hair-like projections in the nose that prevent contagions from entering the body

    Depending on what region of the country your restaurant is located, you can offer a specific soup that will satisfy the locals. A restaurant in the northeast would benefit from serving a hearty New England clam chowder, while foodservices in the southwest can thrive by offering spicy tortilla soups.


    chicken noodle soup


    Never-Ending Chili

    Few foods spark unbridled passion quite like chili does. Inspiring hundreds of annual cook-offs throughout the United States, chili has a dedicated following of fans who crave variety. When the temperature starts to drop, these chili-obsessed diners don’t just consume their favorite chili. Instead, they want to try every kind of chili this world has to offer! As a restaurant owner, you can take advantage of this by offering a chili of the week throughout the winter.

    According to the foremost authority that is the International Chili Society, chili is “any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red/green chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta which are strictly forbidden”(5). While this chili con carne style usually includes beef and is what most Texans strictly adhere to (6), there are certainly alternative chili recipes that have become prominent elsewhere. Black bean chili is popular among vegetarians who crave the warm, hearty taste of chili but have don’t consume meat. Common in New Mexico, chili verde is made with pork simmered in spicy hatch peppers. By alternating changing the chili your restaurant offers, you will ensure chili connoisseurs keep coming back for more.


    Hearty Stew for the Soul

    Stew differs from soup in that it’s prepared by simmering meat and/or vegetables in a covered pot for a long period of time. Typically heartier, more filling, and containing less liquid than soups, stews usually feature a meat like beef along with an assortment of vegetables that might include potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, beans, and tomatoes. Other items commonly found in stews include chicken, lamb, sausage, and seafood.

    Since stews utilize slow moist heating to make meat tender, juicy, and flavorful, you can use less tender cuts of meat and still yield a delicious meal. This makes stews one of the more cost-efficient dishes for restaurants. But since it takes a long time for a meat’s juices and flavors to seep out via slow cooking, foodservices should prepare a large amount of stew that will provide for many customers’ meals.


    beef stew



    1. https://nationalcoffeeblog.org/2016/03/19/coffee-drinking-trends-2016/
    2. http://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/top-10-health-benefits-drinking-tea-t81111
    3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031106051159.htm
    4. http://share.upmc.com/2014/12/health-benefits-chicken-noodle-soup/
    5. http://www.chilicookoff.com/Event/Event_Rules.asp
    6. https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/173623/styles-of-chili-worth-knowing/
    Getting Your Restaurant Ready for Valentine's Day

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    valentine's day dinner


    Valentine’s Day–the second busiest day of the year for restaurants–is fast approaching. In less than a week, restaurants all over the country will be overrun by thousands of lovebirds who crave delicious food and a romantic ambience. As a restaurant owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure couples fall in love with the meals and décor your restaurant offers on their special day.


    Love At First Bite

    Pleasantly surprise dining couples by altering your menu to include special foods that are natural aphrodisiacs. Start your diners off with a tasty appetizer that incorporates vitamin- and mineral-rich asparagus. Avocados are also a great choice and have been considered ‘love foods’ since the Mayans used them 1700 years ago. For an entrée, you can’t go wrong with delivering oysters on one of our elegant seafood serving trays. High in zinc, oysters are renowned for their aphrodisiac effects. Don’t forget to also throw in a few red peppers, which stimulate ‘feel good’ endorphins and are the perfect color for the holiday.


    valentines day oysters


    No Valentine’s Day meal is complete without dessert. With several delicious options to choose from, there’s no crime in offering more than one. Said to have been used by Aztec emperor Montezuma for its aphrodisiac effects, there’s a reason chocolate is such a popular Valentine’s Day gift. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a compound that boosts serotonin levels and also contains caffeine. Our catalog carries an assortment of chocolate molds that enable you to give your homemade chocolate unique a shape. Bananas are another great dessert option, as they are filled with nutrients that boost the male libido. Fitting the red color of the holiday, watermelon relaxes blood vessels and boosts energy levels.


    valentine's day chocolate


    Serving red and pink food will further immerse your diners in unique Valentine’s Day ambiance you’ve created. Foods like tomatoes, shrimp, salmon, strawberries, and red-skinned potatoes are perfect for the holiday. Shaping food is another common practice that can help enhance a Valentine’s Day dinner. Simply shaping oysters to look like a heart or arranging the asparagus you serve as an appetizer to spell “LOVE” will be appreciated by your diners. Although it’s great to add small touches, it’s essential to do so without compromising the quality of the food.

     valentines day sushi


    Drink to Your Heart’s Content

    Make sure to stock your wine buckets and wine racks with plenty of red wine for Valentine’s Day! Not only does red wine match the holiday’s color, but it is also an aphrodisiac that increases blood flow and improves heart health. Enabling your patrons to relax and enjoy themselves, red wine increases a women’s libido and a man’s testosterone levels. However, drink too many glasses of red wine and these positive effects quickly diminish. Make sure to stock up on wines with lower alcohol content so your diners can split a bottle for optimal results.


    valentine's day red wine


    Another option for restaurants that boast large selections of wine is to offer free wine tasting on Valentine’s Day. Many couples share a passion for wine, so this type of promotion provides extra motivation for wine-loving couples to choose your restaurant over the competition’s.

    Renaming your shots and cocktail beverages to reflect the holiday is another idea that many restaurants embrace. Drinks that feature red and pink mixers like grapefruit juice and cranberry juice are perfect candidates for name makeovers. For example, rename your Bloody Marys to be something like ‘Cupid’s Potion.’


    The Perfect Scent

    Utilizing flowers, incense, and scented candles can help you establish a great-smelling environment that sets a romantic tone within your restaurant. But it’s also important to find a good match between your chosen scent and clientele. Boosting the mood and energy of patrons, jasmine is ideal for restaurants frequented by older diners. On the other hand, lavender helps diners relax and is perhaps best suited for young couples who are possibly spending their first Valentine’s Day together. Other popular scents include ylang ylang, which helps relieve tension, and sandalwood, which is a well-known aphrodisiac.


    Music for the Mood

    Serenade your diners with the sounds of pleasant background music. The key word here is background, as couples’ conversations will be their main focus during their Valentine’s Day dinners. You can’t go wrong with instrumental genres like string quartets and classical music. If you want to really impress your guests, hire a string quartet or piano player to perform live in your restaurant. Just make sure the music’s volume remains low enough for your patrons to easily converse.


    valentine's day music


    Creating an Ambiance with Lighting

    Whether you want to illuminate your restaurant with overhead lightingcandles, or a combination of both, it’s important to maintain a romantic ambiance for Valentine’s Day. Dimmer lighting is especially effective in this regard. Candles, whether scented or not, can also really enhance the romanticism of your restaurant’s ambiance. Regardless of how you choose to create a romantic atmosphere, your diners will appreciate you going the extra mile to honor their special day.


    valentine's day ambiance


    Planning the Day and Leveraging Social Media

    The Valentine’s Day plans of your restaurant should be made well in advance of the actual holiday. This will give you ample time to inform your customers of holiday specials through mail, email, social media, your website, and any other outlets. Twenty days prior to Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start getting the word out.

    If you’ll be featuring a special menu just for the Valentine’s Day, you can post it on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram to let your diners know. Since certain couples can’t dine out on Valentine’s Day, many restaurants extend their holiday specials to the following weekend. This allows busy couples to properly celebrate when their schedules allow them to.


    Show Your Gratitude

    Thank your diners for spending their Valentine’s Day at your restaurant by giving them a small gift that commemorates their night. Personalized wine or shot glasses that display the date and your restaurant’s name are inexpensive ways to show your appreciation. If you want to give something a little more extravagant, wine bottles and boxes of chocolate are also great options. Sending diners away with gifts will encourage them to return to your restaurant for future Valentine’s Day dinners, as well as meals throughout the year.

    wine gift

    Starting a Food Truck Business – What to Know

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    food truck


    Starting a food truck business is the perfect plan for chefs who desire a less risky and lower cost alternative to opening a restaurant. Requiring lower overhead, fewer employees, and a less costly up-front investment, food trucks also offer the freedom to travel to different locations and serve food to a wide variety of people. Free marketing through social media platforms is yet another advantage of mobile food trucks. Whether you’re a restaurant owner who’s looking to do something new or a chef who wants to make a name for himself, opening a food truck business might be the right move for you!  


    Trucks vs. Carts vs. Trailers

    Although many use the term ‘food truck’ as a general, all-encompassing term, the truth is there are distinct differences between food trucks, food carts, and food trailers. Food trucks are the largest and most mobile of the three. Single continuous units, food trucks usually range from 14-34 feet and provide plenty of space for your staff to prepare, cook, and serve food. Food carts are the smallest of the three and consequently can limit the amount of food you serve. Easily attached to vehicles for transportation, food carts are simple to clean and cost significantly less than the other two options.  Food trailers are like a mix between trucks and carts. Closer in size to food trucks but requiring to be towed like carts, food trailers boast enough interior space for a decent-sized kitchen. Now that we’re clear on the differences between the three units, the rest of this post will focus primarily on food trucks.


    Rules Are Rules

    Before you invest in a multi-thousand dollar truck, there are a couple of important details that should be considered. First, check the local bylaws of your city, town, or neighborhood to ensure mobile food trucks are legal. Even if they’re legal in your city, places like New York and Los Angeles are notorious for limiting the number of permits they distribute. It can often takes months or even years to procure the proper permits and licenses.

    Maybe you scouted out a few locations and found a heavily-trafficked area that would be perfect for your food truck. Unfortunately, many locations restrict food trucks from parking on their premises. So while you might think you’ve found the location of your dreams, it’s in your best interest to ensure food trucks are permitted there.


    Finding the Perfect Truck

    Since trucks are significant investments, it’s essential that you find the right one before moving forward with your business. There are several factors that must be taken into account when you buy a food truck. Perform a little informal research first by asking other food truck owners what they like and don’t like about their trucks. Some of their answers might resonate and give you a better idea of what kind of truck you’d prefer. It’s also important to be aware of any local or state regulations regarding the design of food trucks. By knowing what type of truck can satisfy these requirements, you will save yourself from dealing with potential future issues. When you find a food truck for sale that fulfills your personal needs as well as the local and state requirements, try to envision yourself in that truck. If you can easily do so, you know you’ve found ‘the one.’


    food truck festival


    Deciding What Food to Offer

    The obvious advice is to offer food you love and know how to cook. But if other local food trucks have already cornered or saturated the market on those specific items, it will be in the best interest of your food truck to offer something else. This idea is particularly applicable to smaller cities and neighborhoods. It’s also important to consider what types of food are popular in your area.

    As the cost and availability of food ingredients can vary significantly, these variables should also be assessed when determining what type of food is best suited for your food truck. Last but not least, the cost efficacy of your food should also be taken into account. After all, your food truck is a business that will need to produce a positive bottom line.


    Designing a Menu

    Designing effective menus is an art-form. Leaving lasting first impressions on your customers, menus should accurately convey the style, attitude, and personality of your food truck. But before focusing a menu’s style, an owner must decide what dishes will be listed and what their prices will be. Researching other local food trucks can help shed some light on each of these dilemmas. Ideally, dishes that are like those of your competition should be priced similarly. This means they should be offered for within $1 more or less than your competition. Once your food options are known, you’ll have the freedom to name dishes something elegantly simple or wildly extravagant. Whatever you choose, make sure it complements the unique personality of your food truck.

    Small font and illegible writing can frustrate customers and motivate them to eat elsewhere. To avoid these issues, ensure the words on your menu are large and easy to read. Especially in certain diverse neighborhoods, it’s essential to offer appropriate menus for non-English speakers. Provide food photos that accurately represent what your serve. If you Photoshop an item to look more appealing, your customers will inevitably be disappointed when their food doesn’t match the picture. Make sure to highlight dishes that are specialties or exceptionally popular. More than just informing people of your food options, menus should enhance the visual experience provided by your food truck and encourage customers to refer their friends and family.


    food truck menu


    Tracking Your Finances

    Obtaining a truck is just the first step toward creating a successful food truck business. As the owner, you will also have to account for expenses like fuel, kitchen designs, commercial cooking appliances, food truck equipment, and employees’ salaries. Make sure to lay out a detailed financial plan that addresses these expenses along with anything else you can think of.


    Hiring Employees

    The most important trait a potential employee can have is a passion for people, food, and the food truck industry. Since you and your staff will be spending long, fast-paced hours together, it’s essential that your employees maintain positive attitudes. This is not only for your benefit, but more importantly for the customers who expect to be a greeted and helped by friendly faces. Cooking experience is also important, but your unique kitchen procedures and recipes will need to be taught regardless of the employee’s expertise. Also make sure you know what hours you will need your staff to work, as this helps you identify which potential employee’s schedule aligns well with yours.



    Launching a successful marketing campaign is one of the most important factors in generating buzz for your new food truck. Successfully leveraging digital marketing platforms like social media is immensely helpful when it comes to informing the public about your business. Mediums like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram will help interested customers stay informed about the location of your mobile food truck, and what it’s offering. Even if computers aren’t your thing, it’s easy to delegate this responsibility to a more tech-savvy employee.

     food truck social media


    Hard Work

    There’s no getting around the fact that hard work is an absolute necessity for owners who wish to run a successful food truck business. A lifestyle that encompasses more than just cooking delicious food, owning a food truck requires you to work long days that will test your stamina, patience, and dedication. Customers expect to receive their great-tasting food promptly, even during chaotic meal time rushes. This means you’ll have to cook more quickly and efficiently than ever before. And even if you excel at working long, fast-paced hours, it will ultimately be your skills in business, marketing, time management, and relating to customers that make the difference between a failing and thriving food truck.