While Salem eased restrictions on mobile food vendors last summer, the Salem Food Truck Association ramped up efforts to help act as central point of information for and help market its members.
“We basically created the association to give a voice and face to the independent people who do this for a living, and the main thrust initially was to get the city to relax the rules [on mobile food vendors],” said Richard Foote, owner of Oregon Crepe Cafe and Bakery and president of the Food Truck Association.
Now that the city has relaxed rules, the association hopes to act as a clearinghouse for information.
“Now we’re starting to get more inquiries from people who are looking for food trucks or want to operate one. There are [food truck operators] with experience to share that experience,” Foote said. The association receives inquiries through its website or Facebook page and sends the requests out to its members.
Members who previously served a location in turn will offer advice to food truck operators who are considering serving at an event or location.
“People are helping each other, which is really good,” Foote said.
“I’ve noticed that Richard’s really good about sending out contacts from people who are looking for food trucks so it makes a really nice hub for people to find out about events that need a food truck,” said Carmen Nguyen, co-owner of Fusion, a food truck that specializes in semi-authentic Vietnamese food. “The smaller organizations, church groups, fundraisers, get a hold of the organization through Richard and the Food Truck web page, and Richard emails it out to the food trucks so anybody can respond to those people.”
Shannon Klopfenstein, co-owner of Barrel & Keg, said the association was instrumental in helping her set up Salem’s first food truck pod in the business’ parking lot. Barrel & Keg will open later in March, but the food truck pod will be up and running on March 1. Outlaw Grill & Catering, Chads Smoking BBQ, Island Girl’s Lunchbox, Vivacious Molly’s Vibrant Eats and others will be serving up a rotating monthly calendar of local foods.
Registered as a 501(C)(6) trade association, the association now has a board of 14 members, all of whom are food-truck owners.
The association is also trying to provide help and advice for those who are considering starting a mobile food-vending business.
“We want them to be successful,” Foote said.
Also, The Food Truck Association logo gives customers added confidence in the businesses.
About the association:
President: Richard Foote, Oregon Crepe Cafe and Bakery
Treasurer: Ginger Hall Murphy-Haber, Outlaw Grill
Secretary: Tina Schnider, Cacioppo’s
Marketing: Josh Parker
Salem food trucks:
Members of the Salem Food Truck Association include (most are on Facebook, search for their names):
•Major Thom’s Hot Dogs