Name: Duncan Palmer
Job: Owner and chef
Business: Porter’s Gourmet on the Go
What he said then: In May 2011, The Tribune’s Ticket section reviewed one of San Luis Obispo’s newest “restaurants.”
Porter’s Gourmet on the Go is a food truck owned by chef Duncan Palmer. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, he also worked at Novo for more than four years.
“The goal was to offer a food option for places that were out of the way and for people who didn’t have that much time for lunch,” said Palmer, who started rolling in late 2010. “Serving out of a food truck isn’t that much different than at a restaurant.”
Inspired by a metropolitan trend, Palmer created a diverse menu priced $10 and under.
What he says now: With three full-time employees and a couple of seasonal part-timers, Porter’s Gourmet on the Go is expanding and launching a new website to connect with diners.
Palmer has focused on his lunch routes and weekend events, such as last weekend’s Morro Bay Kite Festival.
“I do lunch Monday through Friday in San Luis Obispo, but I’ll go anywhere in the county on weekends,” he said. “My calendar’s very full. I’m booked up until September.”
Palmer posts a schedule of stops and makes announcements to fans via Facebook and Twitter. But not all locations are listed because about half are quick stops for employees of large concerns, such as Tennis Warehouse.
But within a few weeks, a website created by (iii) Design will let customers track his truck in real time with global positioning system technology.
“You’ll be able to see me on Google Maps driving around,” Palmer said. “It’s amazing. I really hope that it helps.”
The site cost about $5,000 — a “huge” investment given the business’ limited budget.
In addition to the truck, Porter’s shares a commercial kitchen with Two Cooks Catering and several smaller vendors.
The food truck trend is growing, with half a dozen vendors now operating in the county, Palmer said.
“It is a cheaper option” for would-be restaurateurs, he added.
“As I’m finding out, it’s not that much cheaper than having a brick-and-mortar restaurant.”
Back when he was a one-man show, Palmer experimented with serving the late-night bar scene. But he found himself working 23 hours straight certain days, which wasn’t sustainable.
But with a growing staff, he intends to expand to evenings this summer.
“For dinner, people are moving around at their leisure,” he said. “I am going to have a different strategy. I want to develop a different menu for dinner. I really have a lot of sandwiches right now.”
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