Guest post by Matt Sinclair
I've worked in hospitality for 15 years, and I'm lucky enough that MasterChef gave me a platform to pursue food as a career, but by no means did it give me all the skills I needed to run a business. Learning on the fly and making mistakes comes with the territory. This is what I learned from running the 10 Piece Cutlery food van at EatStreet markets:
- Don't look at a food truck as 'easy' – it's true there's more freedom and lower set-up costs but you still need to follow food safety regulations and think carefully about your menu to suit your equipment and limited space. Plus you need to have a solid work ethic to be able to meet high demand.
- Authenticity is key – When you have a vision, it comes through in everything you do. You can't fake it.
- You can't compromise on quality – Delivering food of the highest standard is your bread and butter. If you compromise on that, you won't get far.
- Good staff are worth their weight in gold – If I didn't have my guys to rely on, we wouldn't have kicked as many goals as we did. Create a positive environment and they'll do the right thing by you.
- Remember why you started – there are going to be days when things do not go to plan, just trust your passion and the plan you have put in place.
- Cooking commercially is nothing like cooking for love – its high intensity, hard work and repetitive. You can still enjoy it just be prepared to scale up!!
- You need to have the right equipment – trying to do bulk veg prep without a commercial food processor just does not work, trust me!! Get the right stuff from the get go and your life will be a million times easier.
- Cash is king – Don't forget you're going to need money for produce, beverages, small wares and incidentals, so don't spend every cent you have upfront.
Matt Sinclair has worked in front-of-house hospitality for almost 15 years. He was runner up on Season 8 of MasterChef, inspiring him to start up the hugely successful 10 Piece Cutlery Food Van at the Brisbane EatStreet Markets. Now, Matt is taking the plunge into opening a restaurant and will be ready to open by mid 2017. Follow his journey from food lover, to food van owner to fully-fledged restaurateur.