Why a bus for our food truck?
Its a question we get asked a lot, and its something I expect to be asked continuously when people see our “food truck”. I didn’t start with the idea to convert a bus into our own mobile pasta lab, it was a progression of small decisions and ideas that lead me to this alternative vehicle. Having a kitchen in a bus offers many advantages over the common step van food truck set up. Primarily, it stands out and causes people to double take when they realize that what they thought was a school bus is in fact serving food. The second is simple and it is what might have brought you here in the first place, it is different. It creates a talking point from something as simple as the structure from which our food is served. In the mobile food industry you can not convert an old factory or ancient barn to add a different atmosphere to the business you run. So we did the closest thing we could, we converted an old bus that had run its course for a rental company and was destined to be scrap.
When I first considered starting a mobile food service business, I explored the idea of following the common route of step van, commercial equipment, generator, etc. I didn’t have much experience in the field of mobile vending and thought that it was safest to follow the crowds of food trucks in north america and kit out a step van. I planned and costed a setup in a step van but it all felt so stale, so done and not me. It was exciting to think of opening a food truck but the truck itself felt unimaginative and didn’t draw me in.
One of the most unappealing aspects of a step van was the average price. Im a chef living in Whistler, and I’m in my 20”s. I don’t have a 6 figure bank account full of savings, so I started to get inventive with this project. I looked up many other options of “trucks” we could renovate ourselves; from fire trucks to cube vans. One day I stumbled onto a picture of a short ford school bus for sale for less than $5000 dollars . As soon as I saw it my mind went into overdrive, and the planning began. I spent hours in many late night sessions working out a plan, and slowly formulated a way to adapt the standard food truck set up to work in this vehicle. I was also enthused that this bus had another massive advantage over a step van- there were windows the whole way around. I had a dream for a better existence as a chef and one of them was to work in a better environment than your typical dark dingy kitchen. From a bus I could have an ever changing, epic view of the beautiful sea to sky area everyday.
So, we went to Vancouver to view the ford school bus that I had found online. Before I set foot inside of it, I was in love. Once I got inside, however, a problem arose…. I’m tall. I am 6’3”, and your typical short school bus is made for kids. As soon as we realized this, the hunt was on for a bus that would still be different, and have great views, but with the interior height as a deciding factor.
The bus that we ended up with is an ex airport transfer shuttle bus. It suited our needs perfectly and I could even stand up in it! Another big plus was that It would be re-purposed, these buses typically only have a life span of 8-10 years before they are replaced by a newer, shinier model. I try hard to avoid creating unnecessary waste and am often disgusted by the consumerist attitude to all things as disposable. I wanted to be a part of the solution, not the problem. The only issue was that the colour; it was white with old decals from its previous life, and everyone knows that school buses are yellow! Once the colour was changed, the bus was on its way to being a talking point….
Want to know more about how we decided on an aesthetic theme for our bus? read our next blog- Creating our ‘Amo La Vita brand’