“On our first venture out our engine blew,” said Gilmore, a Roswell resident. “While this was very frustrating and disheartening it is something that we no longer have to worry about. Wilma, as we affectionately call our truck, has never run stronger and when speaking to our colleagues, it does sound like this is something that all food truck owners experience.”
Though he has extensive background in finance and management, Gilmore had never been involved with food trucks before he and his friend Clements, a Dunwoody chef, started their own Roswell-based venture, On Tapa the World, this summer.
The venture has turned out to be different from what they were expecting.
“Matt and I would focus on some areas of the business and would think that these decisions would be very important in the success of the business,” Gilmore said.
“As time wore on we realized that these decisions in fact were moot compared to more pressing business decisions that lay ahead. We have accepted the fact that every single day we need to consider it a learning experience.”
After they determined that the Spanish tapas concept of small plates and snacks would be best suited for their truck, the pair set about making the kitchen prep in their Norcross commercial kitchen as streamlined as possible.
“We also wanted to ensure that the taste of the menu item and our sauces were one of a kind,” Gilmore said.
Wilma’s maiden voyage was July 13 of this year at The Atlanta Street Food Festival at Piedmont Park.
“That first day was an adventure to say the least,” Gilmore said.
“Our crew which consisted of Brant, Matt, my wife Hanny and Matt’s wife Tatiana did a tremendous job for an event that we may have been caught off guard for. This event is Atlanta’s premier event for food trucks and the turnout was simply awesome.”
Since then, On Tapa the World has been making stops throughout the Atlanta area and traveling a few hours away for special events, such as Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega and the hot air balloon festival in Callaway Gardens.
In addition to appearances at food truck weekends in Roswell’s Don White Park, Wilma can also be found at other local food truck events such as Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Suwanee and in Roswell at Alive After 5.
The truck’s best sellers as of now are empanadas, which come in three flavors: shredded chicken breast, seasoned and sautéed with onions and bell peppers, with a hint of lime; marinated and seasoned shredded beef sautéed with roasted red peppers, onions and fresh cilantro; and fresh spinach, mushrooms and artichokes sautéed with garlic and white wine topped with mozzarella cheese.
There is a daily menu and an extended menu for catering.
“We did reduce the number of items that we offer on our truck at any given time,” Clements said.
“When we first rolled out we tried to offer the entire menu on the truck. We quickly learned that this was not a sustainable business practice. The amount of prep as well as the limited space one has on a truck made it impossible to be able to offer every item for every event.”
In the near future, On Tapa the World will be rotating items in and out of the menu from the catering menu and any new creations Clements may come up with.
Gilmore said it had always been his dream to start a business from the ground up and turn it into a strong, well positioned company with strong family roots and a commitment to the community.
So what does it take to get a food truck established?
“Patience, strength, patience, perseverance and patience,” Gilmore said.
“Like any small business there are sacrifices that have to be made. There can be strains put on finances and relationships, but with the vision and the ability to stay the course, you are able to appreciate the success that everyone has earned by making these sacrifices.”
For more information, including a location schedule and menu, go to www.ontapatheworld.com.