Super Q Food Truck is a venture by the Kaminski family, well known for their brick & mortar establishment Kaminski’s BBQ & Sports Lounge in Poway. This San Diego food truck serves up tasty pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket, chicken salad, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, potato salad and more. J.R. Kaminski was kind enough to answer some interview questions in this exclusive for SDFT!
Our first event was at 57 Degrees on Friday, Feb 18, 2011. On Thursday, Feb 17, I drove to LA to pick up the truck from the factory and got back to Poway (where we commissary at Kaminski’s BBQ and Sports Lounge…and where all of the product comes from….the meats that are Hickory smoked for up to 15 hours in the huge smoker onsite. Also where all of the homemade items are prepared such as the delicious Kaminski’s BBQ Sauce, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Macaroni and Cheese, etc.) at about 7pm. The next morning (Friday!) we fired up the equipment for the first time and took it to the SD County Health Dept to get our final physical inspection so that we could get our permit (we got it). Then we rushed back to Poway, loaded up the truck and headed out to 57 Degrees in the driving rain for our first event. We arrived just in time to get set up before the people started pouring (floating) in. So that event was the first time we had EVER USED THE EQUIPMENT! Due to the rain and water coming into the truck (since fixed today) our brand new POS System was disabled! So we wrote hand tickets and had a great night.
Since we were not really ready to operate we spent the next few days dark so we could prepare and started for real on Monday, Feb. 28 with our first lunch stop at SAIC on Campus Point Ct.!
2. What did you do before you had the food truck? Why did you start a food truck?
Our family is third generation restaurant business. We have been and still are in the bricks and mortar part of the business with a permanent location. My sister Marsha who is the manager of Kaminski’s BBQ and Sports Lounge used to drive an old fashioned catering truck 20 years ago for about a year. She made good money but got tired of getting up at 3am every morning to get ready. So that experience has been in the back of the family’s mind ever since. Recently, we became aware of the Gourmet Food Truck craze and we decided that we needed to be a part of it! Since a very large smoker that can smoke up to 900 lbs of meat at one time was purchased for Kaminski’s BBQ and Sports Lounge we had extra capacity so we decided to make it a BBQ food truck.
When all of the family got wind of Kaminski’s wanting to do a food truck everyone wanted to participate because we all thought that it was a great idea. So everyone in the family invested in the new venture which is a separate business from the restaurant even though we use the products of the restaurant.
3. What’s your favorite thing about running the business and what is your biggest challenge?
The most fun thing is getting the great reactions that we are getting from the public. We feel that we have great food and it seems that the public agrees! Biggest challenge is time. Time to get everything done and most importantly the research about WHERE to send the truck.
4. What are some things that are different than you expected about running a food truck?
I was surprised how much time it takes to set up the truck and do the preparation as well as how long it takes to clean up after each day. Many more hours are spent before and after than actually operating!
5. What is your most popular item?
Our most popular item is the Mac ‘N Cheese Sandwich. First we grill 2 slices of sourdough bread and melt cheddar cheese on it. Then we layer it with the meat that the guest has chosen from our signature meats: the Pulled Pork, the Texas Beef Brisket, or the Pulled BBQ Chicken and next add the most unusual ingredient our Mac ‘N Cheese which we make at Kaminski’s with 3 kinds of cheese and macaroni. We top all of this with sauteed onions! This makes for a delicious and unusual sandwich that always gets great comments!
6. What is something “off the wall” that you would love to put on your menu but aren’t sure people would go for?
Succotash, possibly as a vegan dish.
7. We get a lot of people on SD Food Trucks Facebook page asking for advice on starting a truck. What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of starting their own food truck business?
Be prepared for the longest work hours of their life. I usually work 15 hours a day 6 days a week except on some days more like Mardi Gras when I worked 21 hours. I also work about 4 or 5 hours a day on my “day off”! But I hope that will calm down once we have all of the systems in place and we have more of a calendar for special (usually weekend) events in place for the year.
8. Some people get excited about finding a truck and trying something new. Why do you think food trucks really capture peoples’ imaginations?
I don’t really know why they do but I think that some people have adopted food trucks as their hobby. They are very excited to try new things. It is our hope that we have been able to satisfy these people and get them to want to come back for more with great food and with great staff and a fun truck design.
9. What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten from a food truck? Which truck was it and where?
Oh wow what a question! I will leave the “best thing ever” question in the same category of not discussing politics and religion. Too hot a subject! That is because I want to maintain good relations with ALL of the other trucks! I have had some amazing food from many trucks so it would be hard to choose anyway!
10. What are your plans for the future?
Well, we need to make Super Q profitable. Currently we are in the early stages of growth and so costs are higher than normal. Once we get a handle on that we hope to make a profit. Afterall, we love doing it but we still have to pay the rent at home!
You can find Super Q Food truck at http://www.superqfoodtruck.com and Twitter as @superqfoodtruck. They are available for catering special events.