Angela Petro knows how to keep busy. As the owner of Two Caterers, she has been steadily growing her business in 2012, first through a collaborative relaunch of the Oakhurst Country Club in Grove City in February and now with the launch of Sweet Carrot, the company’s new food truck.
We recently spoke with Petro to ask why a food truck makes sense for a catering business and how each branch of her company can be leveraged to increase sales across both channels.
Q: Can you tell us what got you interested in wanting to launch a food truck business?
A: I thought that having a food truck would be a great complement to catering simply for the convenience of being able to cook onsite when we needed the mobile kitchen space. I had my eyes open for a good deal. With the food truck industry really catching on in Columbus, the ability to book it for weddings and parties made it even more attractive. So when I found the truck for sale, it was an easy decision.
Q: So how does Sweet Carrot relate to Two Caterers?
A: We consider Sweet Carrot our sister company. The name is actually an anagram of Two Caterers. A friend of mine emailed me that Two Caterers was an exact anagram the day I bought the food truck, so I felt like it was fated to be.
Q: Are you operating Sweet Carrot as a separate business, or an extension of Two Caterers?
A: It’s really an extension of Two Caterers, although we are working on hiring a full-time team that will only be Carrot Crew. We are taking applications through our website. If anyone is interested, go to the “Help Wanted” tab and apply online. Job comes with a really cool T-shirt and great food!
Q: Do you see Sweet Carrot serving as a marketing tool for Two Caterers? Or vice versa?
A: It’s a little bit of both, but the Sweet Carrot food truck is always going to be an amazing marketing tool for the catering division. For example, we are selling Sweet Carrot like wildfire right now for wedding receptions. Brides are adding it on as a late night reception snack. So in that respect, the catering division is making it very easy to sell the truck.
But every time it pulls out of the parking lot, it’s selling for the company as a whole. It creates such a buzz when it’s on the road or parked for an event that people are just immediately attracted. We have actually had people walk over to our parking lot at Two Caterers and ask to buy food while it’s parked in our own lot!
Q: Have there been any challenges from a business perspective that you didn’t anticipate with launching a food truck? Or do you think running a catering business prepared you for the experience?
A: Owning a catering business has definitely helped us with the food truck. We understand crisis management and that when you leave your prep kitchen, you need to be prepared. So many things can go wrong— from running out of food to running out of gas. Which I’m embarrassed to admit I did early on with sweet Carrot. I was so excited to drive it that I totally forgot to pay attention to the gas gauge and ran out of fuel five minutes after we picked it up from getting the vinyl skin applied.
Once you are set for a festival, though, you can’t really leave so you have to think through everything that you need, everything that can go wrong and you have to be ready. But it also doesn’t hurt that we have a full service kitchen that can come to the rescue anywhere anytime.
To learn more about Sweet Carrot, visit SweetCarrotColumbus.com.
Sweet Carrot food truck photo by Karen Evans Pictures.