The start of the second week of the City Hall food truck survey saw all three scheduled trucks in attendance. We began with Anthony’s Catering’s Gourmet to Go Mobile Culinary Vehicle. The MCV is relatively plain with a big colorful menu board on an otherwise aluminum finished truck. This place is clearly all about the food.
At a loss where to begin with so many good-looking choices – catfish, crabcake, pulled pork – I ordered the first item on the menu, the Fried Fish Wrap and a cup of corn chowder. The wrap is billed as fried haddock in beer batter with chipotle slaw and fries. The haddock was fried perfectly, a thin filet very crispy even inside the wrap with slaw and tons of spicy mayonnaise. There was kind of a lot of mayo on the scene, but no fries. That might have been because I ordered the soup or it might have been an error, I’m not sure.
Fellow truckers B and P had the meatloaf sandwich on croissant with cheese and fries, and the special mango BBQ chicken with dirty rice, and both reported excellence across the board. This place has depth that we’ll have to plumb further.
Drama demands that nobody can be perfect without a flaw. Food truck customers demand good food cheap and fast. Food truck business models demand fast turns at peak time. Here’s where I’m worried about Anthony’s. Maybe it’s just early, and I hope that it is, but they seem to be having trouble organizing themselves to process customers efficiently.
With my order of a wrap and soup, I got a standard package of napkin fork and knife. No spoon. P got no napkins with his BBQ chicken. The other two trucks in attendance had tables out front with cutlery and napkins and sauces, so we availed ourselves.
Bucking what seems to be the usual model with food trucks, Anthony’s takes your order first, then takes your money only when your food is ready. They have one window – and one employee – for both transactions. I think this could be done better with an outside order/money taker (like Clover) or a second window for order pickup (like Paris Crepe).
The Empty Restaurant Syndrome suggests that a food truck with no line will get no business, but I’m also pretty sure that the food truck with the longest line will suffer a loss of business too. Small operational improvements can go a long way when you have only an hour or two of prime time to do the bulk of your lunch business with an average check of only $10 or so.