U-turn on Food Trucks

Beth Milligan has a feature in today’s Ticker about a restaurant owner who has had their thinking on food trucks shift 180 degrees. From Brick-and-Mortar to Whitefish on Wheels begins:

As a restaurant owner, Karen Simpson originally was concerned about the sudden arrival of food trucks around Traverse City in June. Today she’s the proud owner of one, with the launch of “Harbor on the Side” this past weekend.

What changed her mind, and exactly what’s involved for a restauranteur to add wheels to their existing brick-and-mortar eatery?

Simpson owns Harbor 22 in Traverse City, which opened in 2012 in the former Scott’s Harbor Grill building on M-22. Early this summer, when the City Commission relaxed an ordinance, food trucks began popping up in increasing numbers downtown.

Simpson and others were concerned about the way food trucks would be regulated and if they’d have to play on a level playing field with restaurants. She soon became intrigued by the potential they offered – not only to expand into catering (a goal of Simpson’s) but to extend the Harbor 22 brand beyond the restaurant’s four walls.

“We first got the idea to do this because of the catering business,” Simpson explains. “But in the process, we realized that having a truck would allow us to have a presence at events and festivals and downtown. We plan on 50-60 percent of our business coming from catering, with the rest coming from (food truck) sales.”

Read on at the Ticker and click here for Harbor 22’s food truck.