SF Cart Project Publishes a How-To Guide for Food Trucks

Before there was Off the Grid, there was SF Cart Project, the consulting business that Matt Cohen started in 2009 to usher San Francisco food trucks through a permitting process so convoluted it brings out the Tea Party in lifelong Democrats. Andrew Baber, Cohen's second-in-command, estimates that the project has helped 10 to 20 percent of the city's new-generation trucks get on the streets.

The two have found, though, that their initial meetings with clients were simply scribble sessions. “We were having the same meeting over and over with everyone who came to us looking for an introduction to the business,” Baber says. “Where to get the truck. How much it was going to cost. Where you could park. How to structure your menu. People would be writing down pages of notes.”

So SF Cart Project has just published Instrucktional, a how-to guide for prospective truck owners; Baber estimates that it covers 80 to 90 percent of the basic issues he's been fielding, from finding a good electric generator to figuring out just which forms to present to the Department of Environmental Health. It's the food-truck equivalent of “Going Legit,” SFoodie's six-part series on how to start up a small food business in San Francisco, only with specific details.

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