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Exploring Life & Business with Duncan Trout of Captain Muchacho’s Food Truck

Today we’d like to introduce you to Duncan Trout.

Hi Duncan, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I am a lifetime Tennessee resident but have only been in Knoxville since 2009. After finishing up an undergraduate degree at UTK, I was faced with a tough job market for my field. I decided to pursue an opportunity to start a food truck in 2016, in what was still a very under-saturated scene.

I believe we had the 6th permit issued to the city. I have always been infatuated with traveling and Mexican culture in particular and decided that our concept would be based on bringing unique globally-inspired tacos to the people of Knoxville.

We have sold thousands of tacos since, and haven’t looked back! We are now looking to expand into a brick and mortar location, with a lease signed at what will be the Kern’s Bakery Food Hall, opening *hopefully,* in late 2022.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As I mentioned, in 2016 the food truck scene was still very much so under development, with new trucks constantly coming and going. There weren’t any of the food truck parks that you see today, such as the Central Filling Station on Central Street.

We did lots of late-night services in the old city and worked in partnership with lots of breweries and taprooms. There definitely weren’t as many places to access food trucks as there are today. The increased exposure to the food truck scene, with new business popping up left and right centered around food truck services, has definitely helped expand our business and leads to new clients and customers.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
One of the coolest things about owning a food truck is the almost unlimited range of creativity we have to work with. Food trucks across the country are known for unique dishes that push the boundaries of culinary inspiration.

We are no exception! It’s so cool to be able to provide a gourmet food experience with such a compact menu. We use tons of fresh produce and unique ingredients from cultures across the world. Our current menu has items inspired from Korea, Mexico, Japan, and a few USA staples frequently find themselves in the mix.

When you order food from us, you can expect a friendly conversation, fresh ingredients, big portions, fast service, and lots of color and flavor!

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
You can always evolve your business! We are lucky to have been a self-contained mobile food unit, and that really helped us explore some of the opportunities out there when all of the shutdowns happened.

As for where most brick and mortar restaurants had to transition to mostly takeout food for a while, we were already set up for that and didn’t have to change our principal model too much. Local Knoxville neighborhoods really stepped up, offering us locations to set up across the city when our other locations were not as active.

Having good relationships with other local businesses also really paid off during Covid-19 times; during the beginning and even now. Food trucks giving each other leads, helping each other out with inventory and staffing problems, even other brick and mortar restaurants reaching out to help in any way they could.

The City of Knoxville was also really great, allowing us to push the boundaries of where we could legally serve food. We couldn’t have made it through unless we were all in it together.

Pricing:

  • Our menu ranges from $8-$16 for entrees, and we offer a variety of lower-priced side items as well.

Contact Info:

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