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Northeastern Technical College’s food truck is a "food lab” for culinary program

The idea behind food trucks is simple: take the food to people.

The business behind them is not as simple.

Northeastern Technical College's Culinary Program beings in the spring semester and brings its food truck as a teaching tool for the program.

From shaved ice to classic barbecue, the portable kitchens served a variety of treats parked at festivals or any given day in a popular parking lot; mobile food vendors have grown quickly becoming a billion-dollar industry nationwide making them a profitable business.

With Sha'Kira Gattison at the helm, NETC offers culinary classes that pertain to the business side of food services utilizing the college's official food truck.

NETC's food truck will be utilized as a mobile lab, a food lab, to assist students in prep work utilizing its oven and steamer.

"Food trucks can be more convenient than brick and mortar restaurants," Gattison said.

Studies show the number of food trucks in the United States is more than 36,000 in 2023 up 10 percent from the previous year – more than tripling within a decade.

To sustain a business, restauranters and mobile food vendors must learn to manage food production costs and shelf life, Gattison said. This applies to brick and motor restaurants just as much as food trucks, she said.

Focusing on a tighter menu can help make a restaurant profitable sooner – offering too much too soon and can drown the business in waste, Gattison said.

"Sometimes businesses fail because they cannot keep their costs down," Gattison said. "Learning the life of food can help maintain a budget. "For example, if a restaurant manager buys ten bags of chicken but only use five during the life of the chicken, they have lost money."

If the habit continues the business will suffer, she said.

NETC's Culinary Program aims to prepare its students to budget, prepare a menu, and adhere to government sanitary regulations.

For more information, call Northeastern Technical College at 800.921.7399 or visit online at

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