Trucking Along in Akron
Its safe to say we've had a pretty stellar anniversary week! From winning Akron's best food truck (for the second year in a row!!) to getting surprised with being featured in the Akron Beacon twice this week, and with an even bigger surprise of landing on the front cover.
While all of this is so incredibly exciting, and we are ever so grateful & humbled by all of the amazing love & support… there is a much bigger story starting to make its public appearance now. The Akron food truck legislation debacle, which is what I’m going to touch on & dive in deeper about in this post (novel) Here’s the link to the Akron Beacon Journal’s write up this week about it all as well: http://www.ohio.com/news/local/akron-food-trucks-may-get-more-freedom-by-next-year-and-restaurant-owners-aren-t-happy-about-it-1.778674#
We've been extremely transparent from the beginning that the legislation regarding the food trucks in Akron is prohibitive, and needs to be readdressed. In fact, even prior to actually hitting wheels to pavement, we knew that this would be one of our primary focuses moving forward as The Square Scullery. We also knew it wouldn't be easy, would be met with great opposition, and understood the sacrifices that we as a business, individuals, and a family would have to make to be an actual "Akron Food Truck." Meaning that we would almost exclusively serve Akron and Akron only, with very few exceptions. Talk about risky business right there. Being a small business owner is a battle all of its own, but not being able to properly operate as one in your own city, in which you live & adore... well... thats a bigger problem. But... here we are, and now this conversation is slowly starting to shine some light on a heavily troubled area within our own city, that we and several others are working ever so diligently to change. I’d also like to add right here that we seriously have the most incredible folks in city office & leadership positions right now, if you’re not excited about Akron’s future yet, you should be. We’re absolutely in good hands.
Changing the legislation & creating new opportunities for food trucks in Akron, is so much more then just the food trucks & their owners. There are many other factors to consider moving forward with this, such as the restaurants. Here is where this conversation starts to get a little more interesting, and truth be told we’d like to put a lot of misunderstandings & misconceptions about food trucks to rest.
There are several ways that we can ALL move forward in a really positive light - not only helping the food trucks make ends meet without being forced into other cities, but also actually helping the restaurants, and Akron as a whole continue to grow and thrive.
We are NOT here to hurt the local restaurants, as some common misconceptions may have implyed... in fact its quite the opposite of this. Our goal in truth is to band together in true Akroncentric fashion with the restaurants to help one another grow, create more opportunities, all the while continuing to also enhance Akron moving forward together as a whole.
Food Truck Wednesday's Cascade Cucina- a first of its kind in the Downtown limits was created not only as a trial for the Akron food truck legislation, but also because Cascade Plaza is notoriously known & surveyed from the city as a “dead zone”. This means that out of the 3,000 + workers just within the direct Cascade Plaza buildings, the heavy majority do not leave their offices for lunch… until now. This is the primary reason that food trucks were actually placed in Cascade Plaza - to pull the people out to enjoy what downtown has to offer!
Food trucks are present at “Cascade Cucina” every Wednesday June - September from 11am-1:30pm. Again, a first of its kind for Akron, and naturally a very big step moving forward. The trucks are being able otherwise reach the people who were once unreachable and cross promote the local restaurants downtown. Pulling the working folks out of the buildings is only with time going to spike business of the local restaurants & businesses within a walking distance to Cascade Plaza, as people begin to get into a routine of exploring out of their work places for lunch.
Fun fact: did you know that a few weeks ago, an estimated 800 people came out for Wednesday’s lunch, and because of this, a local restaurant across the street from Cascade Plaza actually had a line of people out of their door during lunch hours!? A complete first!! Talk about some awesome sauce right there.
Akron is currently mimicking downtown Cleveland’s main weekly lunch “Walnut Wednesday”, but on a much smaller scale. Since Walnut Wednesday has started a few years back, local restaurants & businesses have reported major revenue spikes now that people are now accustomed to coming out of their offices for lunch at a much higher frequency regularly through the week, not just on Wednesdays. With time, we hope to only achieve the same kind of response. Of course that also requires a working goal alongside of the local restaurants together to help us make this happen. We feel that if more people knew this, and would allow us the chance to continue moving forward with a bit of patience, we absolutely have full faith that food trucks could become an amazing asset to Akron in building bridges instead of walls.
I will add before wrapping up this novel, that it is also a common misunderstanding that food trucks have a much lower overhead then the brick & mortars do. This is just simply untrue, in fact our overhead is far more comparable than most might realize. The only main difference aside from being far more seasonal, is that we are currently unable to operate in full as a small business in our own city, unlike a restaurant is able to do. We of course are mobile, but that also means that there are just that many more expensive moving parts and pieces that can break. And believe me… they absolutely do. Those expensive parts & repairs can take a truck off the road for days, if not weeks. Talk about an even bigger damper on trying to provide for your family.
At the end of the day there is no reason for the great Akron food truck vs. restaurant debate, or the opposition at hand. This is not just about the trucks, or the restaurants - its about everyone being able to come together to create a bigger and better tomorrow in Akron. We're all in this together...rain or shine.
ALSO - a super special thank you to Juan, owner of Wholly Frijoles who let us use his spare truck last week while Betty was in the shop for a few days. You're the best Juan, and we're so happy to call you family.
Don’t feel like scrolling all the way back up? Here’s the ABJ article link again. http://www.ohio.com/news/local/akron-food-trucks-may-get-more-freedom-by-next-year-and-restaurant-owners-aren-t-happy-about-it-1.778674#