Trying to open concession food truck

Useful advice on jobs, careers and entrepreneurship in Finland. Find job postings, job information, work permits and more.
User avatar
phuongtranmass
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Espoo
Contact:

Trying to open concession food truck

Post by phuongtranmass » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:44 am

Hello fellow Finland Forum members,

I am an Asian American male from the east coast (Boston, Massachusetts) who has been in Finland since the middle of September. I currently live with my Finnish wife (married in USA Jan of 09) in Espoo, Finland and intend to open a small food-based service business serving affordable Chinese fast food (e.g. pan fried noodles, fried rice, various dumpling dishes, BBQ pork/chicken, beef/chicken teriyaki sticks, egg rolls, spring rolls, and so on).

I have been fruitlessly scouring the net for information on concession food trucks or other mobile food-service vehicles here in Finland. I was hoping someone out there in Fi.Forum universe could perhaps point me in the right direction or shed some light on the concession food truck culture here. Specifically in regards to the difficulty/ease of purchasing such a vehicle here and any permits and/or notification required by Trade Registers and Health Inspectors for such an entrepreneurial endeavor.

With the current economic health situation the way it is in the States, mobile food trucks have become a booming business for industrious and creative entrepreneurs especially in states like CA and NY. I guess what I am getting at is that good artisan creations are coming out of these food trucks at extremely reasonable prices (mexican/korean fusion fast food, indian cuisine, dumpling dishes, and so on). These entrepreneurs have tapped into niche markets in the states and the lines of people eager to purchase their offerings are proof that there is such a market for fast/quality cuisine from mobile food trucks, which were once regarded as members of the lowest tier on the culinary caste system. For all this, I have a feeling that it might work here - in or around the vicinity of Helsinki.

How do you think a mobile food truck selling Chinese fast-food would fare here in Finland? I am aware of the Chinese restaurants that offer the typical over-battered, over-fried, and "we can fool the Finnish palate type of Chinese food" out there. I intend to operate this business for the long-term (if it can ever get rolling) and am passionate about offering good quality Chinese fare at a reasonable price.

Any and all comments/replies/criticisms would be appreciated. I'm trying to get a feel for this business idea and I know members in this forum have a lot of great insight and healthy does of sarcasm to offer.



Trying to open concession food truck

Sponsor:

Finland Forum Ad-O-Matic
 

User avatar
onkko
Posts: 4827
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:24 am
Location: kemijärvi

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by onkko » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:03 am

I do like your idea but you should testfeed your food to dosen finns, we are one eating arent we.
Food in traditional chinese places arent bland for no reason, we like our food bland.
After you have done this we can discuss other aspects of your business.
Caesare weold Graecum, ond Caelic Finnum


User avatar
phuongtranmass
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Espoo
Contact:

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by phuongtranmass » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:29 am

Hello Onkko,

Yes, I agree with you 100% - the ideal thing to do would be to test my product using a pool of people from my intended market population. My wife's cousin owns and operates a bar/restaurant near Helsinki - perhaps this would be an ideal opportunity to test my food products. Thank you Onkko for your wonderful recommendation.

Also, you are right - Finns are accustomed to traditional cuisine with dishes that are noticeably less-spicy and are flavored lightly. I have no problem tweaking ingredients here and there to satisfy local palates. In that regard, food is a form of pleasure for people is it not? I aim to please!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:


User avatar
phuongtranmass
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Espoo
Contact:

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by phuongtranmass » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:37 am

Hello all,

Just in case anyone is interested, here are a couple of links to the food truck industry in America:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+truck ... 0207360822

http://www.inc.com/inctv/2009/10/startu ... rucks.html

:D


User avatar
Pursuivant
Posts: 15094
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:51 am
Location: Bath & Wells

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by Pursuivant » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:57 am

phuongtranmass wrote: who has been in Finland since the middle of September
Ah... *cracking knuckles*... OK... so my experiences in opening a concession food truck were thwarted by a patrol car and I had to get rid of the crowbar so I don't claim to be an expert :lol:
shed some light on the concession food truck culture here.
Well its a simple logical occams razor. How many food concession trucks have you seen around? Go on a walkabout on a weekend - what do the fast food vendors vend out from and where? They ain't stupid, so there must be some reason for how things are done - maybe its just a niche waiting to get filled, maybe the niche is empty for some reason.
Specifically in regards to the difficulty/ease of purchasing such a vehicle here and any permits and/or notification required by Trade Registers and Health Inspectors for such an entrepreneurial endeavor.

Did it occur to you your search might be fruitless if there are no fruit to start with? :wink: Only ones remotely resembling those are some fairground kiosks which travel fairs and events but not seen much if any as weekend things in the city. I've been hogging Vietnamese spring rolls off a guy at the local market fair but he got a cart/stand thingy IIRC. And the rules for any vending basically require you to be top notch with the health inspectors even with one of those mobile hotdog stands. And then of course you need a permit from the city/county on whose land you are...
How do you think a mobile food truck
Where would you think to park it? Remembering that permit from the city/county on whose land you are... that might make Occam slice his wrists...

Also as this is not California and we have maximum 10 minutes of idling in winter so how do you keep yourself in power and warm there in Boston? Propane? What a kiosk needs is to either rent a hookup from the city or then run on natural gas, and anyways have a designated spot and they're sometimes keen to require you use their "design" rather than just any trailer. The vendors here use trailers for a number of reasons. Not only cars are expensive and expensive to convert, but then to be inspected and getting it approved for a kitchen... thats... fun. But you moved to Finland so I know you're a masochist. :ochesey:

Chinese food isn't a bad idea :thumbsup: , and a bit more authentic takeaways do exist, but the best ones are in such obscure locations you don't find them unless you know where they're at.

Come to the pub quiz on the 4.11 (molly malones at 7pm) and I can give you a tour of junk food establishments in the centre. Sobriety test is if we see a mobile vending truck we must be high ;)
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


User avatar
rinso
Posts: 3730
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:22 pm

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by rinso » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:00 am

Look at the market place.
I think you should develop your idea based on those market stands selling food. And yes, I've seen many selling out of a van.


inkku
Posts: 627
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by inkku » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:27 am

not compatible with your idea of a food truck, but how about a proper dim sum place?


User avatar
Pursuivant
Posts: 15094
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:51 am
Location: Bath & Wells

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by Pursuivant » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:32 am

rinso wrote:Look at the market place.
I think you should develop your idea based on those market stands selling food. And yes, I've seen many selling out of a van.
Kauppatori could do with a clam chowder van... or... do dim sums repel seagulls?

I had an idea of having a toilet-trailer back in the day... damn recession and lack of capital I could've been the port-a-potty king :lol:
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


THAILAND
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 12:29 am

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by THAILAND » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:18 pm

CULTURE here is very DIFFERENT. Take your time maybe you will find another ideas.


User avatar
Pursuivant
Posts: 15094
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:51 am
Location: Bath & Wells

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by Pursuivant » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:43 pm

Ah yes. We don't have as much hawkers and people eat lunch "in", but a "lunch van" touring either markets or events *could* be the thing - late night = fast food in Finland and thats what I was thinking of. I mean the only thing closest to a concessionary van even Onkko is familiar to is this kind:
Image
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


Rosamunda
Posts: 10649
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by Rosamunda » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:36 pm

The rules and regulations are almost exactly the same as for any restaurant (I have an ice cream kiosk).

You need to take the Food Hygiene Pass. It is possible to take this in English, for example in Espoo on Sat 28 November in Tapiola Työväenopisto from 10-16:45 (a tutorial followed by the test) for 50€. There is also a booklet you can buy http://www.kolumbus.fi/sefo-konsultoint ... ateriaalit On-line enrolments at http://www.espoo.fi/tyovaenopisto or call 8165-4455
Lots of info on http://www.evira.fi/portal/en/food/hygiene_proficiency

Then you need a permit from the municipality. I'm not sure how this goes in Espoo (mine was from Raasepori) but basically you need to fill in a bunch of forms and present a Food Hygiene Protocol which is a detailed presentation of all your hygiene arrangements (logistics, ordering and storing food, preparation, cleaning and waste disposal, staff facilities etc etc). The application will be reviewed by the municipal health and hygiene experts and you will be visited and inspected before you can begin trading. Ours was quite simple because we are basically serving ice cream and tea/coffee. But preparing food is more complicated as the kitchen and equipment has to meet certain specifications (you can't prepare food in a domestic kitchen for example). I think there are special arrangements for mobile kitchens (eg grillimakkara stands at a sports stadium) because they are not permanent but I don't have all the details. Try searching on the Evira pages.

As for trading permits, I GUESS that is an arrangement that you make with the owner of the land from which you which to trade. We signed a contract with Fiskars and agreed rent and utlities (electricity supply).


(BTW, if bureaucracy is not enough, you will probably have problems with owners of other Chinese restaurants who will not welcome you on their turf. It's a small country....)


Upphew
Posts: 10176
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by Upphew » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:43 pm

penelope wrote:Try searching on the Evira pages.
I would suppose that this is quite good read: http://www.evira.fi/attachments/elintar ... tiohje.pdf
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


User avatar
phuongtranmass
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Espoo
Contact:

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by phuongtranmass » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:23 pm

[/b][/i]The rules and regulations are almost exactly the same as for any restaurant (I have an ice cream kiosk).

You need to take the Food Hygiene Pass. It is possible to take this in English, for example in Espoo on Sat 28 November in Tapiola Työväenopisto from 10-16:45 (a tutorial followed by the test) for 50€. There is also a booklet you can buy http://www.kolumbus.fi/sefo-konsultoint ... ateriaalit On-line enrolments at http://www.espoo.fi/tyovaenopisto or call 8165-4455
Lots of info on http://www.evira.fi/portal/en/food/hygiene_proficiency

Thanks so much Penelope for the information above. I will definitely look into hygiene tests, etc. You are all phenomenally helpful.


User avatar
phuongtranmass
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Espoo
Contact:

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by phuongtranmass » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:32 pm

inkku wrote:not compatible with your idea of a food truck, but how about a proper dim sum place?
Dim sum would be a good idea but I don't have adequate finances or connections to open a dim sum restaurant. When you say "proper", I can only assume you mean an establishment with adequate seating and other requisite equipment. I would rather take small baby steps than dive into something like a full-scale restaurant considering I am new to FInland.


User avatar
Pursuivant
Posts: 15094
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:51 am
Location: Bath & Wells

Re: Trying to open concession food truck

Post by Pursuivant » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:39 pm

Ummm... I hate to piss on your parade and ruin your cheerios, but a mobile food truck like your idea is will cost *more* than a dim sum place... and I think for starters you've seen all those pizzakebab and curry kiosks... I'd go to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese for a change if it was decent food.


Image
Last edited by Pursuivant on Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


Post Reply