9/29/2012

Food truck and some food vendor drama...gasp

Well,
Last weekend was our first event with our new employee, and like I said it went rather well. What I failed to mention was some of the lowdown, dirty, underhanded behind the scenes drama that we had to deal with along with training the new guy.

I'll start at the beginning. (beware, its a long post)
Last spring we introduced the world to our newest menu item, Mexican style corn in a cup.
If your unfamiliar with that, its all sorts of yummy goodness. It has sweet corn slathered in warm melted butter, sprinkled with aged cheese, a squirt of lime and finally topped off with a swirl of Mexican hot sauce.

Can I just say that the corn was a HUGE success. We had one of the longest line we had seen since we first began our food truck adventure. We ended up selling out and had quite a few sad customers beacuse of it

Here is the scene, so imagine if you will. It was a beautiful and crisp spring night. We proudly yet nervously pulled our truck into the parking area. It was the very first time we had ever done the trailer set up routine. You can say we were rookies. But even with inexperience on our belts, we tried our best not to step on any toes and to stay in our designated area.

Most of our neighbors were glad to see us, the owner of the booth next to us, not so much. He griped and yelled and griped some more sometimes directly at us and other times indirectly.  He didn't like our trailer in his way, although it wasn't. He didn't like our "loud" generator, although he has three. Lets be honest, he didn't like us, period.

Still, we smiled and kept our thoughts to ourselves, after all, we were the new kids on the block, maybe that is some sort of food vendor hazing thing. haha.

Well, fast forward to three events  later (at that same place) to the day we introduced our Corn in a cup. Like I said, it was a huge success and the line wrapped around and in front of the booth next to us. I'd like to think that all of the people were anxiously awaiting our corn in a cup, but we sold some other stuff too. It was a proud moment. After the line was gone and almost all of the corn was sold, we had yet another customer.

We watched as an elderly lady walked slowly to our window. She lifted her frail little hand, placed money on our counter and asked for a corn in a cup. Her old raspy voice was rather sweet sounding, perhaps it was the euphoria I was in from the near sell out rush we just had that had me convinced that this elderly lady was just a sweet old grandma who wouldn't hurt a fly.

BOY WAS I WRONG!

She bought one cup and left. Then she came back and bought another. Then she came back a third time, only to find out that we sold her our last cup the last time she visited. She then complimented us on this concoction that she had never before tasted. Then ever so sweetly, she asked us "whats in this?" Naively, we told her what was in our cup, not thinking about a would be recipe thief.

 Who was this old woman anyway, we wondered. Since it was nearing the end of the event and we didn't have any other customers we had time to peek out the side door to see just where the old woman was going. I gasped, when I saw just who she was, she was the wife of the gripy old man in the booth next to us.

As we wrapped up that night, my husband said jokingly, "I hope she didn't come to steal our idea", I told him, "noooo, she cant do that, that's not professional and its against the event rules."  At this event, like many of the other events we have catered, that is a standing rule, NO RECIPE stealing and NO DUPLICATE items are to be sold. The first vendor to apply with that menu item has all rights to sell it, and no one else will be allowed to sell the same product. Plain and simple right?

Well, it seems that last weekend, the vendors next to us decided that they had enough of our fierce competition and that they were going to break a few rules. They posted a big sign right on the front of their booth with big bright words that said "CORN IN A CUP."  What my husband joked about that night last Spring ended up being coming true.

My heart sank when I saw the sign as I strolled through the event with my baby boy. He had been asking for a "bayooon" or balloon from the booth a few yards away.

No way, I thought, and NO WAY was I going to stand for this. We try our hardest to follow every rule and regulation and never complain, its part of the job, we just do it. So, I gathered up my courage and looked for the event coordinator. I thought of all the words I was going to say and how I was going to really let her have it for allowing such a thing. Then I realized maybe she doesn't know, maybe she didn't allow this, and the elderly couple and their crew are simply just chronic meanies.

I finally located her and quickly told her what was going on. Like me, she was furious. She told me she would take care of it and asked me to be patient since she didn't know how long it would take to remedy the situation. She also told me that those vendors were up to their eyeballs with infractions, and she and the organization were seriously considering not allowing them to ever vend at that event again.

So I smiled and thanked the coordinator lady and went on my way. I grabbed a balloon for my baby and went back to my food truck eager to share the news with my hubby.  Shortly after we had a long line once again and I had to get back to work, after all there was food to be made.  Soon after I began cooking, I heard a faint voice at the window, and over the sizzling of the fajitas I could just make out the words, "the sign is down and they wont do it again."

A feeling of joy came over me! YAY! Victory!
I stood up for my business and I won! Seriously, that was so good to hear and it was just another proud moment to add to our list. 

And to top off this feel good story, last night the event coordinator called to thank us for being patient through what she called a "fiasco" and for being gracious and professional at her event. She said she would recommend us to anyone, and best of all she said she LOVES our food!

It was pretty clear that she is rather proud of her event, as she should be. The proceeds of that event (the fee we vendors pay to get in) goes to help local students with scholarships for college.
As for us, we are just honored to be thought so highly of, and, to actually hear it from her was the icing on the cake cheese on our nachos!

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