I’m a big fan of food trucks but I also know how difficult it is to make them work.
I’ve kept my eye on their comings and goings over the past few years and one finally caught my attention that seems to have it figured out.
The Mastiff Sausage Company has a lean staff, simple menu, and keeps a full schedule. All essential ingredients for success with a food truck. I caught up with co-owner Jacob Bartlett recently to learn more.
Congratulations on your upcoming two-year anniversary. I’ve seen people get into food trucks with really no idea how to make them work and they flame out quickly. What would you consider some of the keys to success?
Hard work. The restaurant industry requires long hours with early mornings and late nights and running our food truck is no different. From the onset one of our mottos has been “from the ground up.”
And we’ve embodied this approach from designing and building our own truck to making our food all from scratch. We’ve really focused on developing a quality product. We feel making food from scratch is a lost art with cooking in general, restaurants and at home. We’ve separated ourselves from the competition with doing just that, cooking from scratch.
Being a marketing guy by day, I know that plays a huge role in keeping your calendar full. I’m assuming technology plays a key role in that, what mediums have you utilized most to spread the Mastiff word?
The obvious social media platforms of the day, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram primarily.
What we really have found is that there is no substitution for the word of mouth. We think that this really has been the catalyst for people to learn about us. Then once they have discovered us, social media is the best platform for them to keep up with our schedule and whereabouts.
There is some friendly competition going on right now among sausage makers in San Diego. Talk to me about your process and what sets Mastiff apart.
Sausages and charcuterie in general are getting popular. We think that this is a great thing as it brings more attention to a style of cuisine that we love. More competition in this field makes for a better product and in turn, better food, which we are all about. What separates us is our approach to keep things simple and execute them well.
Our menu is small which allows us to stay in control and make a great product consistently. First and foremost, with all good cooking, we start with the highest quality ingredients we can find. We keep things fresh by making sausages multiple times a week. We make our food in small batches and we have a small crew.
The purple slaw we had for lunch was in the top five slaws I’ve ever had. What goes into that?
Top Five huh? Not to give all of our secrets away…but in short…. Red Cabbage + Carrots + Red Onions + Black Sesame + Fresh Parsley + Golden Raisins.
The vinaigrette is comprised of red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and fresh squeezed lemon w/ dehydrated ginger, fresh grated nutmeg, salt, pepper, roasted garlic, whole grain mustard, honey, brown sugar, and blended oil.
The amounts are where the true magic is… chef’s discretion is to make sure to have enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cabbage.
You swing through North County on occasion, what are some of your regular stops up here?
Our only scheduled stop in North County is behind Legend 3D at 2200 Faraday in Carlsbad every other Wednesday. We’re constantly exploring new spots and do get up to North County for special events. If anyone has any interested in having us come up north, be sure to reach out.
I always thought one of the great uses of food trucks is for private parties, weddings and the like. Can you work with the event planner to customize the menu?
Yes, catering is a big part of our business. We love highlighting parties with delicious food and awesome presentation. And it’s about both, combining great food with great service. We have custom catering displays, which we use for weddings and private parties. All of our menus are customized to fit the tastes and preferences of the guests.
Where did your name come from?
The named Mastiff came from a tugboat that Eric saw while cooking in Italy. It was a burly boat that was converted to a yacht. When we converted an old Mac Tool truck to a kitchen on wheels, the name and theme of our project just seemed to work.
And finally, the obvious question. Did you see the movie Chef and what did you think about the portrayal of food truck ownership? I thought the movie was so-so but loved the food scenes and the fact that their primary dish was Cuban sandwiches.
Lets say this…its Hollywood. But, I think that movie did capture some of the entrepreneurial spirit that the food truck can symbolize. It also does show how fun street food can be. Meeting people and talking to people is one of the great things about operating a truck. We watch people take the food from our hands and enjoy it 12 feet away. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.
Contact Jacob Bartlett at Mastiff Sausage Company for your next event at (760) 504-3834 or MastiffSausageCompany.com
Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday – Friday during at 4:10 and 7:10 p.m. David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or ( 858) 395-6905.