Food truck league
Five years after its founding, the Food Truck League is working double time to organize events that bring local food vendors and Utah County residents together.
In 2015, Taylor Harris was working as an investment research analyst by day and attending classes to earn his masters of Business Administration at night. Despite his hectic schedule, when his friend and business partner asked him about a possible venture, Harris was immediately intrigued.
His friend had been developing the concept of a food truck events and marketing organization for some time, and he was looking for someone who could offer a business perspective to help get the idea off the ground.
Harris had heard of the concept before in larger markets but was unsure of how it would look in a more rural state. He knew, however, that Utah was growing exponentially and food truck restaurateurs were facing bigger and bigger hurdles, so he signed on.
“We didn’t know what it would turn into but the idea was to provide services to help trucks have more opportunities,” he said. “There was less than 10 trucks that could stay in business for over a year. Trucks would start up, but they would often go out of business quickly.”
When Harris agreed to help Christensen, he was excited for a part-time commitment that would give back to local communities and support entrepreneurship. He was happy where he was in his professional and academic careers and was keen to remain in the investment industry.
His plans quickly changed.
In a matter of weeks, The Food Truck League had flourished, and Harris’ obligations to the entity he had helped found were becoming greater. He was reaching a breaking point where he would soon have to decide between the career that provided security and the job with which he was falling in love.
In the midst of the decision-making process, Harris discovered his wife was pregnant.
“I had to choose to either quit my job and lose my insurance and the stable income, or let this thing die because I wouldn’t really have time for it,” Harris said. “So I quit my job.”
Harris, his wife and their first child lived off their savings accounts with little-to-no income coming in from The Food Truck League. The following months were incredibly hard for Harris and his family.
All of that came to a boil just before midnight in a deserted parking lot.
“I remember I was in a parking lot one night carrying a truck’s garbage bag after an event,” Harris recounted. “The garbage bag had a hole, and it began to leak on my leg. I thought, ‘I have an MBA, I quit my job and I’m carrying trash at midnight in a parking lot. What did I do? That was an awful decision.’”
Despite the overwhelming anxiety Harris was experiencing, he pressed on, continuing to grow The Food Truck League with his team members. As the organization grew, so did the support for food trucks in Salt Lake and Utah counties.
From only 10 trucks that were able to stay open for more than a year, there are now over 100 trucks that have been able to keep afloat well beyond their first anniversary, he said.
Food trucks, Harris said, bring an incredible amount of diversity and talent to the local food industry. Additionally, food trucks get people out of their homes in a safe way that also encourages them to spend at other local businesses.