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Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick are joined by a new guest on the Around Atlanta segment today. Tony Harrison, President, and Curt Czajkoski, finance chair of the Food Truck Association of Georgia (FTAG), discuss the Atlanta food truck industry, its challenges and how Atlantans can support area food truck owners.

As the food truck industry is a relatively new phenomenon, FTAG as an organization is only about a year old. The purpose and mission of the FTAG is to support Georgia food truck owners through four key methods: Lobbying state and local legislators to make Atlanta more food truck-friendly, to increase the number of vending opportunities and locations for the FTAG’s members, to partner with existing event organizers to develop a mutually beneficial relationship and to leverage the FTAG’s collective buying power to identify and build better relationships with food truck vendors and suppliers. Vendors and suppliers of the food truck industry include mechanics, truck builders, insurance professionals and food suppliers, among others.

Since the food truck industry is so new, the food truck owners who bring vibrancy to Atlanta’s communities face unique challenges. Rules vary from county to county, so every time a food truck needs to be able to operate in a new county, they face a mountain of rules and regulations from cities, counties, the state, the fire department, the health department and more because of the mobile component of their businesses. Each new location requires a new permit, new health inspection, new fire inspection and more.

The FTAG is also affiliated with the National Food Truck Association, which lets members and advocates compare the food truck owning experience in Atlanta to other geographies, whose experiences may be easier or whose food truck industry is older. Additionally, members from multiple geographies may consult with one another and allow them the reach and resources to make Atlanta more food truck-friendly.

Harrison owns Cousins Maine Lobster, which opened in 2015 and currently has two trucks operating in Metro Atlanta. Harrison will also be opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Lenox Mall this year. Cousins Maine Lobster’s menu is all lobster and its specialty is its decadent lobster rolls. Czajkoski and his son own Big C’s Chicago Kitchen, which serves delectable Chicagoan and Italian cuisine, including Italian beef, sausage, bratwurst, Chicago dogs, pizza and more. The FTAG’s members include food truck owners serving all kinds of tastes, including barbecue, Mexican, Asian, vegetarian, dessert trucks with homemade cookies and Italian ice and many more.

Food truck season in Atlanta is generally from early April to the end of October, when the weather is nice out. Some food trucks will still operate in the winter, but operations tend to slow down considerably.

Event organizers who need food trucks serving at their events can visit www.FoodTruckAssociationOfGeorgia.com. The FTAG’s administrator personally works with event planners to cater to their preferred cuisines and locations.

To learn more about the FTAG, how to book food trucks for an event, members of the FTAG and more resources, tune in to today’s podcast or visit their website or the FTAG’s Facebook page. Learn more about Harrison’s food truck at www.CousinsMaineLobster.com or Cousins Maine Lobster’s Facebook page and Czajkoski’s food truck at www.BigCsChicagoFood.com or Big C’s Chicago’s Facebook page.

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