ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) There has been an increase in the number of mobile food trucks applications filed in Midland and Odessa, according officials with both cities.
According to the city of Odessa, entrepreneurs filed 36 permit applications in 2019, with more applications expected to be filed before the end of the year.
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
In Midland, 123 permit applications have been filed so far this year. The number marks a big increase, since there have only been 350 filed total since May of 2014.
Cliff Dearmond owns and operates Cliff’s Food Wagon. The food truck travels around the Odessa-Midland area and another food truck operates in Lubbock.
“I fell into the food truck by accident. I was a youth pastor and I was helping five of my students go to Bible school,” he said.
That event was at least six years ago. Dearmond said the fundraising did help those students travel to Bible school. And what started as a way to help raise money for Bible school, eventually turned into a full-time business.
Dearmond said his food truck caters two to three events a day and is usually parked somewhere around town most days every week. Owning and operating a food truck wasn’t his original career goal, but he was one of the first mobile food truck operators in the area.
“Back in that time, six years ago, you could count the food trucks between Midland-Odessa, you could count them on one hand,” he said.
Dearmond said the idea to start a food truck came to him at the Permian Basin Fair. His family noticed a long line for a turkey leg.
“Well few weeks later, we had the opportunity to help those students go to Bible school. And we took a chance on the idea and we set up in west Odessa and it was exactly that. People came out and saw what we were selling and little by little it kept growing,” he said.
Cliff said his family took a step of faith, because food trucks didn’t have a comparative business model in the area.
“Making that initial jump into the industry is scary. You’re making that investment in your idea, you’re really investing into your dream. And seeing the results of that is all kinds of rewarding, it really is. Because you get to see your idea work. Not only does it benefit you but your employees and community as well,” he said.
Joseph Heredia left an oil and gas company sales job to open his food truck in early October. Tall City Barbecue was created after he catered a concert and community members wanted more of his food.
“It’s kind of in our DNA, my grandfather was a chef at a ranch when we were growing up,” he said.
The business owners said food truck operators have to build brand recognition and leverage social media to inform and serve their customers.
“When we set up we don’t know what to expect. Some days we set up and sell out in less than two hours. Sometimes we’re out there for a full day and we may not see as many customers,” Heredia said.
Heredia said it’s encouraging to see his company’s social media posts’ reach at the end of the week, which usually measures into the thousands.
“For all of us, it’s a risk, you know? And so for me, I admire anyone who’s willing to take a chance to express their creative side. That’s really where Tall City Barbecue got established, was out of my desire to be creative and to express my food to people, as far as give them something that they’re going to enjoy,” he said.
The business owners encourage community members to follow food truck businesses social media pages to stay informed on the businesses’ locations.