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The Food Truck Scholar

Author: Ariel D. Smith

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The Food Truck Scholar Podcast is where food, business, and stories collide. Each episode host and academic scholar Ariel D. Smith peels back the cultural, social, economic, and political layers of the food truck industry. From Food Network contestants and former bank executives to self-trained and formally trained chefs- The Food Truck Scholar Podcast introduces you to entrepreneurs from all walks life that are ready to feed your mind with tips to start your own food truck, stories that fill your heart, and tempting meal options to fill your stomach.
60 Episodes
This is the season 2 finale of the show and I’m so excited to look back on all the great moments we’ve had together and share some achievements you may not know about. I’ll also drop a little bit of the deets for season 3
What’s up, everybody! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from The Food Truck Scholar Podcast!!!This time of year always makes us reflect on the year and push us to really get into the spirit of giving and holiday cheer. And with the year 2020 has been, some of us could use a little cheer and perhaps even a reminder to there is always an opportunity to love our neighbors through giving our time, our talent, and other resources. And I couldn’t think of a better way to end our interviews for 2020 than with Roberto and Shamika Brooks of Hip Hop Smoothies in Charlotte, NCWhen we sat down to talk, we had no idea the pandemic would come and completely alter the lineup and our season trajectory. However, the pandemic hasn’t change Hip Hop Smoothies purpose- serving refreshing smoothies that’ll make you bust a move, spit a few bars, and most importantly contribute to their bottom line of serving the community
Fast Friday Tip! If you haven’t protected your intellectual property, you might want to do it soon. Visit
Well y’all, just one more episode remains before the season finale of the show but don’t worry! Season 3 premieres March 2021 and I’m so excited about all the people you get to meet. If you want to be a guest on the show, stay tuned at the end of this interview for more details.Today’s guest is someone who is solution-oriented and all about advocating on behalf of food trucks. When we sat down to interview in 2019, we had no idea what was around the corner in 2020. The efforts of Lee Lampert and Queen City Food Truck Events are needed now more than ever. Today’s show is all about servant leadership and simple tips to stand out as an emerging food trucker
I get this question a lot: is it better to buy a new or used food truck? Granted, this answer varies on the person and we’ve had several guests who have discussed purchasing used trucks, but we haven’t tackled the pros of buying a new food truck for those who want to weigh their options. Bob Trewyn and Greg Knox with Russell Barnett Ford of Tullahoma stop by to give us insight on the benefits of purchasing a new food truck, and specifically food trucks built with a Morgan Olson Chassis. We also discuss the importance of finding a good food truck builder and our projections of the food truck industry in the wake of Covid 19The Food Truck Scholar is top 3 food truck podcast worldwide!
If you’ve been rocking with me since the first season, you’ve probably heard me reference a mobile food conference called the Columbus Mobile Food Conference and Expo I attended last year and all the information I learned there. When I recorded this interview, I was making plans to hop on the road and go back to that conference to collect more gems, but Covid-19 had different plans. Lucky for me and all of you, the conference (now called Learn Mobile Food) has decided to go virtual and I want to introduce you to one of the founders. Chas Kaplan has decades of experience in the restaurant industry and has demonstrated consistently that he is committed to making sure food trucks have the resources and opportunities to grow and expand. So as soon as this episode is over, I want everyone to visit and sign up so you don’t miss this opportunity to learn from veteran food truck owners as well as marketing strategists, accountants and so many more.But make sure you listen to the end for a special announcement you don't want to miss!
 Today we have a special guest on the show, attorney Eric Guster, founding attorney of the Guster Law Firm in Birmingham, AL. Guster is known in Birmingham for his commitment to educating the masses, and this episode was actually birthed from one of those moments. There’s been some recent tension between food truck owners, brick and mortar restaurants, and lot owners in Birmingham (sounds like many cities we know doesn’t it), and Eric Guster found himself a part of it but is using the moment as an opportunity to educate food truckers on how to be prepared as well as build and maintain healthy relationships with brick and mortar and property owners
For those of you who participated in our Black Food Entrepreneurship webinar series this summer, you are in for a treat! Chelsea Rowel, founder of Culinistics stopped by to share with us branding strategies food entrepreneurs, or as she says foodpreneurs, can utilize to grow and sustain their business in the midst of the pandemic and beyond.With 10+ years of corporate + operational experience, Chelsea has had the opportunity to work with brands that are making waves in the foodservice and grocery retail industriesShe started Culinistics to bring corporate-level services to aspiring foodpreneurs and start-up food businesses that don't have access to the manpower of large consumer brands. Whether through free online resources, aggregated research reports, or 1-on-1 consulting packages 
Today’s guest maybe new to the podcast, but not to the The Food Truck Scholar. For those of you who have been rocking with me since my Instagram live days, you may remember my interview with New Orleans native-turned-Alabama resident Dwayne Thompson, owner of Big Daddy Sauces. When I first talked to Dwayne he had already launched a catering company and had his sauce on shelves at the grocery store but now, he’s back with a food trailer of his own and some more news up his sleeve.Today we take you back to how Dwayne got started with business hustle, from working with Master P, to bottling his own sauce, running a food truck and more as well as Dwayne’s thoughts on keys for success
Today is a rewind episode where I talk with Phillip Gardner, Director of Child Nutrition Services for Danville Public Schools.The pandemic has changed a lot about school, including the guarantee of a meal for many students across the country during the school year. According to the USDA at the time of the original release last year 22 million children in the US receive free or reduced lunch. This number is possibly higher given our current circumstances. More schools have decided to use their buses as a way to deliver lunches to students while schools are virtually or remote learning. This episode is dedicated to a school system with a food truck at their disposal to serve not only students but the community as well.
This week’s episode is on and popping because Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co is the house representing the 205. That’s Birmingham is representing today so you already know how we do when Bham folks get together. Today, we sit down with the Chief Executive POPhead herself, Tanesha Sims-Summers to learn how she started her popcorn journey, her signature flavors, and lessons she’s learned along the way
Today’s guest knows how to serve up mouthwatering burgers in 1950s diner-style food truck that are probably way more decadent than the average diner burger. Take one look at those 6oz patties and no matter what diet you’re on, you’ll be tempted to indulge. Today’s guest is Drew Ballard, owner of Rolling Indulgence and the top 3 contestants of season 10 of The Great Food Truck Race on Food network. Today, I sit down with Drew to talk about not just life on and after the show but to also discuss the sacrifices made prior to being on the show. Was it all worth it?
I scream you scream, we all scream-oops??? No, I didn’t make a mistake there. Today’s guest is someone known for taking unexpected mishaps and turning them into delicious ice cream. Adam Vaught is the proud owner of Oops Creamery in Detroit Michigan and the mastermind behind a few ice cream flavors I can wait to get my hands on in this summer sun. Today, we discuss some of our favorite memories with cake and ice cream, a 90s slow jam, and his plan to enter into the food truck industry 
This episode of The Food Truck Scholar Podcast is brought you by Bitten Magazine --a collection of lessons and light from experiences in shared community. Digital and print copies are available at chanelbeebe.comToday’s guest is someone I met when I first launch the brand and I’m so excited to have her on the show! Today I’m taking you to Austin, TX to meet Hope Green, founder and CEO of Emoji Grilled Cheese Bar. And though it probably sounds cheesy and cliche, it’s certainly true: Hope is serving hope, inspiration, and good memories with each meal that comes out her window. From a long time entrepreneur to becoming homeless during the Great Recession to bouncing back into social entrepreneurship, Hope knows quite a bit about tenacity and motivation and is just the story we could all use at this moment.
Today I’m taking you to Cleveland, OH introduce you to a food truck owner who says his chicken so good it’ll make you feel like you’ve hit the lottery! Rick Coleman, owner of @jackpotchickenfoodtruck , knows a thing a two about entrepreneurship. From starting a sports bar, to successfully running a food truck to publishing his first book in the middle of quarantine, Rick has a few pointers about hustling for your business while keeping your personal life afloat. And he wants to share some of them with you.S/O to @dlpowercouple for sponsoring this episode! #TFTSPodcast #TheFoodTruckScholar
This week in the midst of everything that reminds the Black community of the freedoms and rights that have not been recognized, as we celebrate Juneteenth this week, we at The Food Truck Scholar will celebrate the freedoms that Black people have fought for and created in spite of the obstacles in front of us. When I think about the guests I’ve had on the show, Patrick Lanier is easily a person who comes to mind who has fought hard to forge a new path for not only himself and his family, but for future generations. Co-owner of Lip-Smackin Creations Food Medic, Patrick went from spending about 14 years in federal prison to becoming an entrepreneur an role model in Nashville, TN. A few months ago, Patrick had media attention for taking his ambulance turned food truck into the streets to feed those impacted by the tornado. But serving others has always been as his core. This is his story
Black lives matter. Period. And the state of the Black food and beverage industry matters as we watch the current pandemic change business models practically overnight. Today’s guest has 20 years of experience leveraging consumer insights, analytics, and technology to drive incremental revenue using menu and product strategy coupled with innovative customer engagement. He is none other than Derek Kirk, the founder of Soulphoodie. Soulphoodie highlights the stories and showcases the talent of individuals innovating and creating in the world of food and beverage. Today, Derek shares how the platform was conceptualized and his suggestions on strategies both Black-owned brick and mortar restaurants and food trucks can utilize during and post COVID 19
Happy Memorial Day to everyone and especially to the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. This is a holiday celebrated with BBQ and while some of you are stuffed from your to-go plate, others are probably looking to catch a plate this weekend too. If you’re in the Greater Lafayette, Indiana area, I got a truck for you. The pandemic may have delayed the start of the food truck season for Ben Hewitt, but the pitmaster of smolder BBQ returned to the scene to provide some savory sensations this weekend for Memorial Day. Today, we talk about how regional BBQ, life as a part-time food trucker, and seeing turkey beyond thanksgiving meat.
P. Gabrielle Foreman is the founding director of the award-winning Colored Conventions Project and co-directs the Center for Black Digital Research (#DigBlk). She is a Professor of English, African American Studies, and History at Penn State where she also holds an endowed chair. Buuttttt, before all of that, she was a teenager working on a food truck at the very beginning of the food truck industry we know today. Today, we talk all about how that experience on a food truck and subsequent experiences as a huckster has influenced the way she engages in her work today.
Many of you have asked what trends am I noticing across the country with food trucks after my interview with Deundre Zachery and if I thought food trucks would survive the pandemic. This episode, I address your questions! If you have other questions or comments, call 765-205-1905 to leave a message on my voicemail and I'll play it either on the next show or during an Instagram livestream.
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I Love It .. Thank You So Much And Keep Going From Drop it like its Hot Wings & The Edgehill Bike Club

Jan 5th
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