The Australian public has well and truly embraced the food truck movement in major cities around the country over the last few years. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are all on the menu and consumers are spending significant amounts of money each year on the convenience and the experience.
In fact, there are now an estimated 150 food trucks operating Australia-wide. IBIS World surveys estimate that the industry is worth over $1.5 billion globally, and is currently growing at a rate of more than 6 percent year on year.
Melbourne-based food truck company Iv’s Burritos is a gourmet food truck specialising in the beloved Mexican cuisine of burritos. The company has three main business channels: catering, street trading, and events. The entire business is built around the concept of bringing the kitchen to the customer, making fresh and delicious burritos ‘wherever the party is.’
The company was founded by entrepreneur Ivan Zarezkij, who currently heads up all aspects of the business, including operations and management.
“There are very few high quality Mexican and burrito shops in Melbourne’s food-scape,” says Zarezkij. “With a food truck, we’re able to bring the burritos to you. They’re made to order, hand held, customisable and dietary requirement friendly too.”
Zarezkij decided to launch the venture after a visit to California, where he experienced the state’s vast food truck culture.
“I realised that this would work so well in food-obsessed Melbourne,” he says. “I chose burritos because they’re full of fresh ingredients, they have a sense of performance in their assembly, and the multitude of textures make it a fantastic lunch or dinner food.”
To date, Iv’s Burritos has been completely bootstrapped, with Zarezkij following lean startup methodologies and gradually expanding the business using sales to fuel growth. There is a possibility of raising funds in the near future as he investigates the viability of a bricks and mortar operation, but nothing is confirmed right now. If that is the path that Zarezkij plans to go down, the money will be used to fund this expansion of the brand.
The company uses MYOB Essentials as its cloud-based accounting software, which plugs directly into the PayDirect service it uses as its EFTPOS solution.
“EFTPOS systems in food trucks can be especially expensive and difficult to install,” says Zarezkij. “PayDirect allows me to take payments very easily and it’s compact, which works well in the small confines of a food truck.”
When it comes to business challenges, red tape is a big part of running a food truck. Once you have your truck accredited as a mobile food premise, you can’t just trade anywhere. Each council has separate and varied policies, however the majority do not permit food trucks to park on public land or roads at all. Therefore, food trucks often have to be on private land, which also can have its hurdles.
Having said that, consumers are voting with their wallets and the popularity and demand for food trucks is growing. This will surely begin to have an impact on policy before too long, just like any emerging industry.
For Iv’s Burritos though, the immediate future is focused on selling “many more burritos.”