Back when Metzy’s Taqueria food truck opened in Newburyport earlier this summer, I asked owner Erik Metzdorf to share a bit about his experience starting a food truck. Here’s what he had to say…
Interview with Metzy’s Owner Erik Metzdorf
What inspired you to open a food truck?
I have always wanted to own a restaurant. After owning and operating an import business over the past 7 years, I recently realized that my passions and interests are much more local than what I was doing.
A friend of mine who recently moved here from California was visiting with me late last summer, and asked me why we did not have mobile food trucks around here. That began my journey down this road.
What can you tell us about your crew?
Metzy‘s Taqueria owes its early success and positive food reviews, all to Johnson & Wales trained local chef Brad Delibero. Brad owned and operated Mad Martha’s Cafe for 5 years, and has been Head Chef for 2 well respected local restaurants over the past several years.
Brad and I talked several times about joining our team over this past winter while I was scrambling to figure out permitting and financing. He was excited about the prospect, and we were lucky enough that our paths crossed at the right time to make this work.
Brad’s background is perfect for being our CFO (“Chief Food Officer”). He engineered a truly exceptional menu to get us rolling, and I know that our customers are going to enjoy all the ideas he has for specials and menu enhancements as time goes on. Food reviews from customers this first week have all been top notch!
What’s the biggest struggle you’ve faced as a new food truck? Any advice you would offer other aspiring food trucks?
I would say that the biggest struggle so far has been to get the Point of Sale system functioning properly. I am up late writing this note, because I have been trying to figure out how to finally get our P.O.S. system to function properly and allow us to take credit cards.
As for advice to other aspiring food trucks, I am not sure we have been around long enough to be a legitimate authority! That said, it seems to me that the due diligence we did with traffic counts, surveys, and similar market research – were all critically important in helping us develop a market-correct concept that has the best chance for success. Fingers crossed that we are steering in the right direction! Early indicators are looking very good!
What is it like being Newburyport’s first food truck? Was the city supportive?
It is thrilling and exciting to be Newburyport’s first Gourmet Food Truck. We have received so much positive feedback from the community and visitors alike.
It seems almost surreal at this point. I am looking forward to evolving over the next weeks/months/seasons, as we learn what our best times and locations are, as well as what our seasonal menu shifts might be. I look forward to adding breakfast burritos and coffee to our offerings as one example.
The City of Newburyport really bent over backwards to help us figure out how to get the permitting done. It is too long a story to cover here, but suffice to say that the Health Department went above and beyond to produce updated regulations to properly and safely regulate us.
When we first approached the city with our plans last fall, there was no clear local regulatory path for us to follow. The Health Department and the city had the vision to understand that the Newburyport community wanted us here, and so they worked with us to figure it all out. We are very grateful to the city and the Newburyport Health Department for working with us to get the permitting done.
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