Two friends who met through the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market have launched a business that connects food trucks with hungry customers.
Jean Smith was a market vendor, and Janet Bloom worked for the Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA) when they struck up a friendship. The two, who now work together with the Dearborn DDA, sealed their Food Trucks to You partnership while on a Florida vacation.
65-plus trucks, 45 communities
The business schedules food truck visits to neighborhoods and events, promoting a fleet of vehicles that serve up everything from sandwiches and pizza to burgers and barbecue. Smith said she pursued the idea after a friend who owns a food truck mentioned working in subdivisions.
“That weekend, I started putting putting together all the social media handles and did a website,” she said. “I have a great database of food trucks because of my work in events.”
Six weeks later, Smith talked Bloom into joining her on vacation–and joining the business. In just a few months, they’ve recruited a roster of 65-plus trucks and booked dates in 45 communities and nine special events.
“It’s a big time saver for (the food truck owners),” Bloom said. “We send them enough jobs to fill their calendars.”
“We’re letting food trucks do what they do best, which is to feed people,” Smith added.
Marketing for a new business
Food Trucks to You has been a boon to Ash Kickin’ BBQ, even before the company’s 22-foot trailer rolls out. Partner Erin Bates manages the business side, while her father, Kevin, works the pit.
“We are full of bookings, starting July 1,” Bates said. She expects their custom-designed trailer to arrive from Texas by then. “Jean is just a fantastic ally and human. She’s very helpful.”
Based in Washington Township, Ash Kickin’ BBQ came about when a COVID-19 layoff sped up Kevin’s retirement plan. Bates said he is the “ultimate pit master” who creates his own sauces and rubs, while she handles the business side.
“We are new to this type of work,” she said, “so it really helps to have someone helping us get our name out. She does the marketing, so I can focus on what I need to be a successful food truck.”
Perks for residents
At The Ascent, a luxury apartment complex in Farmington Hills, food truck visits serve as a perk for 250-plus residents. Sales consultant Jenessa Deshazor said the pandemic has curtailed their typical activities.
“We’re a Village Green community and number one in resident satisfaction,” she said. “We had to get a little more creative this year.”
Food trucks had been part of that conversation, Deshazor said, but no one knew how to make it happen. Then she saw Smith’s post about Food Trucks to You on a local Facebook page.
“Two times a month, we have different food trucks in,” Deshazor said. “She put together a whole schedule for us April through October… It’s what’s going to set us apart.”
Smith and Bloom have plans to expand Food Trucks to You nationally in 2022–and have even set their sights on Canada. While they’re working some late nights, both said the best part of the business is making connections and boosting the local economy.
“Especially now, people are really hungry for this type of activity,” Bloom said.
To learn more or book a food truck for your neighborhood or event, visit foodtrucks2you.com.