Utah couple says surge in competition driving them out of the food truck business

Posted at 9:25 PM, Nov 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 09:34:12-05

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A couple who started a food truck two years ago are shutting down, saying business is dwindling due to the large number of trucks entering the mobile food scene.

Magna residents Kym and Troy, owners of “A Guy and His Wife Grilled Cheese Truck,” were optimistic when they started their food truck two years ago.

“There was no grilled cheese trucks in Salt Lake, we were the original,” Kym said.

Back then, their trade was a novelty, and it was proving to be a promising business venture.

“I’m thinking we were probably close to being one of the top three in Salt Lake, I’m guessing, you know, because it’s a very popular truck,” Troy said.

But, once people caught wind of the lucrative world of food trucks, more people started their own businesses. And, pretty soon, Kym and Troy say the food truck scene exploded and has become crowded and competitive.

“Right now, I think there’s about 110 in Salt Lake,” Troy said. “And, at Salt Lake County Health Department, there’s about 160 of them in line, so by next summer you’re probably figuring about 300 of them, right around 300 trucks, right here in Salt Lake.”

The couple was using the truck as their sole source of income, but now they can barely keep the truck operating month-to-month. Kym spoke about their monthly expenditures just to keep the truck running.

“$1,500 lease, $400 commissary, I have gas, I have propane, I have food overhead, and it’s about $3,000 for me to just walk into it, every month, before I start any jobs."

They also say companies who hire the trucks are asking for too high of a percentage on sales, and they’re required to get a business license in every city.

“But we have to pay almost everywhere we go, you know, and I think that’s the opposite,” Troy said. “We’re providing a service, you know? And a great service. It should be the opposite way around to me.”

Kym and Troy say they wish they could keep their business going, but they fear the food truck industry doesn’t have the teeth to keep them afloat.

“It’s sad, it’s really sad,” Kym said. “It’s not something I wanted to do, but I felt logically, to get out now would be good. And let everybody else be out there struggling and competing.”