Long before Road Stoves conceived of making a Kogi, Nom Nom or Grilled Cheese truck, Wyss Catering Trucks, based in Santa Fe Springs, California, began building trucks two decades ago. President Mike Wyss took a slightly different tack, and rather than responding to each of my questions individually, responded all at once. I’ll list my questions below, and then his email, unedited, after that.
1) So are you guys the grand-daddy of LA taco truck manufacturers? Tell me how you got started.
2) How does one go about ordering a truck from you? What do they cost? What are the options on the low and high end? Can one buy a used truck? What should a prospective truck owner look for in a truck? How much can they be customized?
3) How has the manufacture of taco trucks changed since you’ve been in business?
4) What do you make of the recent uptick in these gourmet twittering food trucks? Are there options that are popular with them that aren’t as popular with more traditional food trucks?
5) What’s the coolest or most unique truck you’ve ever made? What’s in the future for your business?
We have been in the catering truck making business for 20 years here in our present location and the owners father and uncle started back in 1953. We worked at the other place until breaking away in 1990.
Most people visit our web site and request information, which we then send. A standard kitchen can range from $85,000.00 up to $115,000.00 depending on regulations in the customers area. We also customize trucks to fit what the customer wants to serve. As far as used trucks, most were built under old laws and in California for instance, they would not be approved unless they are brought up to code.
Two years ago this July, California changed its laws regarding MFPU (mobile food processing unit). They now require all equipment be NSF approved. We are finding more areas of the US are going in this direction also. This is why we have all customers contact their local health department for their particular regulations.
As far as the gourmet trucks, they are all different except for people just starting out. They usually lease an existing truck from a catering house. They cannot buy them as they would then have to bring it up to present codes. The standard cost on that would be around $40,000.00 and that is to much to put into an older truck.
In the past most of the trucks me made were route trucks or movie studio trucks. In 1994 we made the first IN-N-OUT truck. Since then we have made trucks for Carls Jr., Hot Dog on a Stick, Ben and Jerry’s, Tommy’s Hamburgers and more. We recently made a truck called The Sweets Truck and Border Grill. We have made Pizza trucks and all manner of different trucks. We have built search and rescue trucks for San Bernardino Sheriff and Long Beach Police to name a few.
Our business is really tied to construction and related businesses. At the present time, it is really slow and the gourmet catering trucks keep the doors open.