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What If They Gave a Lunch and Nobody Came? Tasty Tuesday Falls Short

With two food trucks, no farmers or crafts tables, and about 30 lunches served, the year's first Tasty Tuesday wasn't.

The year's first was held at the community center yesterday, and it was, in the words of one of the food truck operators, "Not what we expected."

"I was under the impression there were going to be farm tents out here," said David Musgrave of Fish On! Chips, one of only two food trucks to show up for the May 1 event.

The other food truck was a new one, The Awful Falafel operated by Gabe Nahas. "It could have been better," he said as he counted his day's receipts. Awful Falafel sold some 25 lunches - far better than the seven served by Fish On!

"The city seemed hesitant to really do the event," said Musgrave. "If you're going to do the event, do the event."

With two food trucks and no farm tents or other presence, to call the turnout "light" would be generous.

"The first couple of weeks last year," Musgrave recalled, "we had five trucks, maybe a half-dozen to a dozen farmers and craft vendors."

Last year's location near the intersection of Expressway and Snyder Lane also probably helped attendance, he added, due to its better visibility. There was not much signage on Snyder for the event pointing to the open space in front of the ticket offices.

Rohnert Park  in February last year, following similar events in Santa Rosa, and , all with many of the same vendors. There are perhaps a dozen food trucks in the Santa Rosa area, and they share social networking and other contacts to generate business for all, Musgrave said.

"What I'd like to see is a mobile app for mobile food trucks," he said, a way to find out where any of the informal group of food vendors is at any given time.

"Last year most of the crowds we had coming out were from social media contacts, and online sources like Patch," he added.

In city market manager Laure Tatman, who spearheaded both Tasty Tuesdays and the Friday Night Farmers Market, said it was a learning experience.

Tatman attributed the decline in business to not enough word of mouth, an area that lacks foot traffic, vendors and producers moving on to other larger markets during summertime and the .

Weather today was in the mid-70s and clear. What was missing was the lunch crowd.

Kimberley Peterson Roberts May 02, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I had no idea it even moved or was happening at all! I saw no advertising what so ever? Where was it if it wasn't at the community center where it was last year? You need some consistency to make something work. I loved it when it was over at the community center. Or let it be held in the parking lot of the old state farm........
Leslie Gibson May 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I wanted to go to this event all day. When I looked it up, it said the first date it was to happen was in June. Then I went to the Facebook page and it said it happened every 3rd Tuesday. I was confused and it was 1:45 do I went home. I was really hoping to buy my produce there... Oh well. Maybe next time.
Michelle Lua May 02, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Tasty Tuesday was great last year. Then, they canceled it, then they moved it, then they reinstated it, but didn't really. Yesterday, I drove by and saw a "Tasty Tuesday". That was the first I'd heard of it and I live across the street. REALLY!! You can't expect people to come unless they know about it. You can't keep changing and canceling and moving. People have to be able to rely on it. Do some advertising; talk to the vendors; if you build it, people will come.
Guy Miller May 03, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Well . . . In defense of the city, it was a lack on communication and committment from the food vendors that caused the first day to fail. We tried for several months to get a comittment from the food trucks for the May 1st opening. Only one returned our e-mails and phone calls. Finally, the Friday before the event, one truck confirmed. We couldn't really promote an event when we didn't know if we were going to have any trucks. We spoke with both trucks who arrived (one which we didn't know about) and explained that we didn't promote the May 1st event because we didn't know who was going to attend. They were understanding and said they would return next week. When we first started last year we didn't have any fresh produce either. That came later in the year when the produce is more plentiful. We would welcome any produce vendors back. We also have not moved the event. It is still at the Community Center in exactly the same place it was all last year. With that said, I encourage everyone to come next Tuesday. The event is live and well. What we really need is hungry participants.
Erin Blair May 03, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I attended this after I saw a notice in the Patch, I was shocked by the lack of participants. They should have been more advertising around the city and in the publications, like the Community Voice, Social Media, and of course, the Patch.

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