Perth Food Truck Grilled To The Mac serves up the tastiest toasted sandwiches and macaroni and cheese in town. It’s official.
If you are lucky enough to see them parked up at an event in the City then get on over there and give them a try.
With flavour explosions such as the Reuben and, of course, Grilled Mac n Cheese, you are surely in for a treat.
The owner of Grilled To The Mac is the wonderful and highly motivated Jason Gelineau.
Originally from Canada, Jason grew up eating from food trucks and dreamed of eventually owning one himself.
Then one day, having moved to Perth, he decided to take the plunge.
We asked Jason to tell us more about his entrepreneurial journey and how it became a success. Here is what he had to say.
How did the idea for Grilled To The Mac come about?
I had grown up eating from food trucks in my native Canada and as a young hospitality worker I always dreamed of operating a food truck. Many years later while watching the movie Chef here in Perth and feeling a bit disgruntled with my corporate role, it came to me that this is what I wanted to do and the present was the perfect time to do it. Food vans were really taking off and no one was doing simple North American food, food that I was very familiar with and represented my background.
How did you turn your Perth food truck idea into a reality?
With lots of research and a bit of a “wing and a prayer attitude”. I immediately signed up for small business courses, registered my name and created a Facebook page and website, then I found a trailer and got to work in transforming it into Grilled to the Mac. Before I had my first event in October 2014 I already had over 200 followers on Facebook and had created a buzz about our brand which helped as we commenced trading.
What hurdles did you face setting up Grilled To The Mac and how did you overcome them?
Local government regulation in registering as a food business. As it was – and still is – a new industry it confused many Environmental Officers who do not fully understand the nature and objectives of mobile food vendors, it was stressful, frustrating and I lost a lot of sleep waiting.
What is your direct involvement in Grilled To The Mac?
As well as being the owner and operator, I do all the shopping, preparation, setting up, social media, marketing, admin and then have casual staff show up at the events to assist our service.
Describe the growth of Grilled To The Mac since it first opened. How successful has it been?
As we had a great business name and brand, it was quick to catch on with the general public and event organisers. We could handle high volume events, we were fun, professional and offered a consistent product. Customers they kept coming back to us, to the point we rarely had to apply for events or bookings, they came to us. We are fielding up to ten enquiries a week. The brand has grown to over 2,300 Facebook friends and 1,100 Instagram fans.
What are your plans for the future of Grilled To The Mac?
I have recently sold the business and continue as a consultant to potential Perth food truck operators, offering seminars and one on one consultations which have proved very successful with our clients.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about setting up their own Perth food truck business?
Do your homework! Many come from backgrounds other than hospitality or culinary and are not fully prepared on the reality of running a food business. It is a lot of hard work behind the scenes, you must understand systems and logistics and most importantly food safety! Also, many do not embrace social media which is the main form of marketing your business. Last but not least remember the customer experience, engage with your customers and ask yourself if the experience you are offering them is what you would be prepared to pay money for – particularly wait times for food.
If you could give some words of support to a fellow business owner who is struggling with motivation, or self-confidence, what would that be?
Surround yourself with positive and experienced people. Get yourself a mentor, either someone who has a lot of hospitality or culinary experience, or a successful food vendor. Through outlets like the WA Mobile Food Vendors Association (WAMFVA) we support our fellow members. I always followed the motto “I know what I know and I know what I do not know, for that I pay someone who knows”. You also have to be honest with yourself, is this a dream and is the dream realistic, it is not for everyone.
Who or what inspires you?
My daughter, she is such a talented and focused young lady whose work ethic astounds me. What she has achieved with her hard work and dedication drives me to keep going even when things do not go right.
Tell us about your biggest success or proudest moment.
There have been many. Every positive response we receive from a customer, particularly those who come back again and again (no matter where we are located) is heart-warming. Speaking with someone who finds out what you do and not only knows your business but has eaten at it. Service wide, Food Truck Rumble 2016 was a great day that saw us hugely improve on our experience the previous year and offer a much improved product and service to our customers.
Jason Gelineau is the Director of JAG Hospitality in located in Perth. For more information visit www.jaghospitality.com.au