Here is the second half of our interview with Phillip Lee. Kimchi Taco has really built a reputation in the city and they've had opportunities to park at some awesome spots!
Q: Do you have any favorite spots in New York City that you like to stop your truck?
A: We go to *several different spots in the city, so there is not one particular place that we go to.
* Some of the locations that the Kimchi Taco Truck has been found, according to their online schedule, include:
- SOHO / Tribeca, Duart Park, Varick / Grand and 6th Ave. / Canal
- MIDTOWN, 55th St. between 6th & 7th Ave.
- SOHO, Hudson and King
- MIDTOWN WEST, "YMCA Touch-a-Truck Street Fair", 64th St. between Central Park West and Broadway
- SOHO, Broadway between Broom and Spring St.
- MIDTOWN, 47th St. and Park Ave.
Q: Do you pick spots to go back to because of special relationships with customers, or do you more try to predict which areas will be profitable? Do you mostly return to stops or do you continuously seek out new places?
A: If a spot isn’t working we’ll make an effort to switch it up and look for something new, but for the most part we’ve been pretty lucky to get a steady flow of customers at the places that we have chosen to make our regular areas.
Q: I know you deal with a relatively high volume of people. Do you see returning regulars on a daily basis or do you mostly see new faces every day?
A: Oh, it’s almost all returning customers. I mean, we were at the New York Botanical Garden this past weekend. When we do things out of the ordinary like that, you’re, of course, going to be seeing new faces. But lunches throughout the week days, any time at regular locations brings out familiar faces.
Q: If you happen to be having a slow day at a regular location, do you try to move somewhere else and take advantage of being mobile, or do you wait it out because you’re confident customers will eventually show up?
A: Since we have our regular locations and have developed a following at those places, plus using the **online stuff, people tend to show up.
Q: What is it about New York City that makes it optimal for running a food truck?
A: I don’t know about optimal, there are a lot of obstacles to running a food truck in Manhattan, a lot of challenges. There is definitely the issue of parking. It is an incredibly busy place, which is both helpful and difficult depending on what’s going on at the time. There are a lot of food options, so that is a challenge in itself because people have so much to choose from. There are major challenges but major rewards as well.
Q: Right, if you find an original product to offer, it’s worth overcoming those obstacles.
A: Yes, because we offer something very unique, we can deal with things mentioned. It’s worth it.
Q: So the parking issues and such, those were your growing pains. What advice would you give somebody trying to start a food truck, or somebody who is early on in trying to get established in the business?
A: Just be ready for a lot of headaches. There is a lot to overcome and you should only go into it if you're prepared and committed.
Many thanks to Phillip Lee for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions, and for being an awesome customer for us at WEBstaurantStore.com! Keep an eye out for some other interesting interviews with food truck owners from different areas that we'll be posting in the near future!