As Eater recently reported, Jonathan Moy is looking to start a new food truck called Moyzilla. We spoke with Moy about his plans, the leg up he hopes to have by using his parents' restaurant (Maui in Brockton, part of the Kowloon family) as a commissary, and his feelings about his impending exit from the finance industry.
Tell us about your truck and when you plan to be on the road.
We're taking a trip to Rochester in mid-September. We're working with a company up there called M Design that's going to help us put together our truck. I was working with Travis Talbot's team at Red Door for a bit, but I don't think they're quite ready to roll out their food truck fabrication services just yet. During the time I was working with his team, Travis served as a great mentor. If all goes as planned and we can't get some sort of spots, which are limited in mid-season, we're going to try to do SoWa. If not, we're definitely shooting for the beginning of the 2014 season.
Do you have any background in industry?
I've always loved eating and going out to eat. But my family has restaurants. My parents own Maui in Brockton, which is part of Kowloon. I grew up in the industry, I knew the hours and hard work that were associated with it. That's initially why I didn't go into the business. But I guess I couldn't stay away. We've been doing the prep work at Maui. We'll be using it as our commissary. Some of the headaches that most operators have aren't there as a result.
I'm sure people have told you how lucky that makes you.
I've heard that it's kind of crazy. It seems like there's a huge demand for commissary space. Brockton is kind of a hike to get into Boston, but it's definitely worth it while starting out on my own. It will give me a huge upper hand.
Is there a potential to turn this into a brick and mortar?
That's my eventual goal. I've looked into different entrepreneurial restaurant businesses. After doing a couple business models, I realized there's no way I'd have that kind of money. A food truck is such a great way to get my feet wet and gain some experience without all the financial risk. The food truck industry is awesome. I love everything about it as a creative outlet, and the way social media is involved to interact with the customer base. Of course there are a lot of drawbacks, too, like generators or engines breaking down, so that is why we'll eventually be a brick and mortar.
Have you started the licensing process yet?
I've been to some of the city hall meetings for new vendors and have a pretty grasp of what I need to do. I'll need the actual truck designed and nearly ready to go before I can start with the licensing. Without a blueprint, they can't approve my truck. Once I have that in hand, which should be in mid-September, we'll start the licensing process. It's a little daunting, but I think we should be okay.
I've seen some of your menus so far, featuring yakitori and gyoza. Is that your plan for the truck itself?
I talked to the guys from Seoul Sausage from the Great Food Truck Race. Before they got their truck, they did festivals around the Bay Area to get people's opinion of their product. I thought that was a great idea. My vision for the truck is to do different kinds of dumplings. Today I'm working on a Peking duck dumpling with my Dad. He's a traditional Chinese cook and has been chef at the restaurant for as long as I can remember. The other one I want to do is an In-N-Out "Animal Style" dumpling. I just came back from the West Coast, and it's amazing. I'm going to try to put that into dumpling form, with hamburger, caramelized onions, and our own version of the animal sauce.
You were working in finance until recently, right?
I'm still in the finance world; I'm actually calling from my office this morning. Everyone here already knows. I've sat down with my boss and told him this is what I'm going to be pursuing and he's prepared for me to give my two weeks at any point. I figure a paycheck wouldn't hurt until I'm actually on the road. I got a taste of my future going to festivals with my concept and I wished I had thought of it a few years ago. It's so much more rewarding to be out there talking to people than to be stuck in a cube.
· All Coverage of Moyzilla on Eater [~EBOS~]
· All Coverage of Food Trucks on Eater [~EBOS~]