It is always interesting trying out new and unique places to eat. Food trucks have always been my favorite as they remind me of the Taquerias I grew up with in Mexico. Recently, Food Trucks have started to come unto their own as unique, often interesting food experiences fit for food connoisseurs everywhere. Today’s experience was good and a lesson in the evolution of business.
Right on the corner of Pine and Orange in downtown Orlando I stumbled upon my latest food adventure, and interestingly it also served as an addition to my best Mexican food in Orlando project, although unintentionally. Kalbi Hau5 is a self-styled Korean/Mexican fusion and as evidenced by my lunch burrito today, very well executed. One of the criteria’s I use before sampling a new food outlet is the smells that emanate from them. Are they appetizing? This movable kitchen beckoned me to try them out.
I tried the spicy pork burrito. For six dollars, it ranks as one of the most filling and good burritos I have had in recent months. The Korean spicy pork with white steamed rice, cilantro and onions wrapped in a flour tortilla was good. I can’t classify it as Mexican, after all it is fusion food so it does not qualify for my best Mexican food in Orlando project but I sure enjoyed it.
As with everything in Orlando, it seems, the definition of spice is “light tangy”. Therefore my spice meter didn’t even pucker up. Nonetheless I enjoyed the burrito and look forward to running into them again in the near future. Unfortunately, that may not be as easy as it may seem.
First, as a movable feast they are constantly relocating around town, positioning themselves to serve new customers as the need arises. This is a good thing as the analog to digital flux we are currently in changes the way we eat and play in our cities. Unfortunately the new versus the establishment is at constant war as the “old” guard; the established restaurants in this case, wage war against the upstarts challenging their status-quos. Change is hard and our world is in constant flux now as technology forces us to change our ways.
As a business owner, I see and understand the needs, pressures and fears of established businesses and as an active participant in the constantly evolving new economy where technology is changing the business landscapes we operate under, I embrace changes in the business environment. Bottom line, we are in state of flux whereby technology is forcing us to reevaluate how we operate our businesses. Part of the change is our workforces who are evolving from fixed workforces concentrated in fixed-location to an ever-moving workforce without geographical limitations working virtually from virtual locations that are constantly changing, thus our companies’ are in constant flux as we look for ways to embrace the new business models while keeping the traditions alive.
Although it is easy to criticize the established businesses as the demagogues holding business evolution back we must remember that, it is they, the restaurants in this case, that spearheaded the safety and security of eating out. The Wall Street Occupiers and ancillary forces will most likely have us believe that the established restaurants are what keep us back. Restaurants pay taxes and fees to keep the public safe. The overhead of taxes, fees, rents and other necessary costs provide us with a place to congregate and eat our meals. These expenses make the price of a meal more expensive than the food trucks.
In the case of Kalbi Hau5, one of the partners of the endeavor was kind enough to share his experience with me. It costs him about $100 a day to park his truck at this location to serve his food, the majority going to the property’s landlord. Included in that is a $35.00 fine (fee) imposed by the city of Orlando for driving his truck on city property.
You see, the property he is parking his truck on is an empty lot, where a building once stood that does not have a drive way for a vehicle to drive up unto the lot. In other words, he must drive his truck over the sidewalk unto the lot that he is renting each day he parks at that location. He confided that the local restaurants are the ones forcing the daily fee upon him.
I understand the pressure the restaurants are feeling as they have to compete against a competitor whose overhead is much less than there’s. The economy is tight and the limited discretionary funds for meals make it even more important to keep prices as low as possible. I also see and embrace that business models need to evolve in order to be relevant in today’s evolving business climate. Without fully understanding the full political dynamics at play, in this instance, as I am very new to Orlando, from the little information that I have, I embrace Orlando’s handling of the situation.
If the restaurants are allowed to force an upstart to move on because of the disparity of overhead costs, we as consumers would be severely short-changed and limited in our ability to try something new. The upstarts, Kalbi Hau5 would probably be hindered in their ability to bring their culinary vision to us if they had to invest the monies necessary to establish themselves in a permanent location. On the other hand, should the upstarts be given carte-blanche to open up and move on, on a whim then the established businesses would eventually abandon their fixed locations and our only choices would be floating restaurants with little or no oversight.
It is not a perfect solution and I’m sure there is more to this then the limited information I have on hand, but the situation seems to serve everyone at the moment. I got to try and I enjoyed a delicious Spicy Pork burrito delivered by a movable kitchen that is giving me a Korean/Mexican fusion I probably would not have had the opportunity to try if not for them. It was wonderful to hear my native tongue, if only for a short moment, as my burrito was delivered to me. It was even more enjoyable to try my first Korean/Mexican fusion lunch and I will be on the hunt for Kalbi Hau5’s next location, hopefully they will be allowed to co-exist in downtown Orlando.