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Frankentrailer 1.8; A Societal Upgrade & Refurb

Wacky. What can I say?

We all live in a box. This box has walls that are subconsciously put into place from a very young age. The size of our box is based on our experiences as we age and/or evolve to the world around us. Pretty simple.

When Emma was born Hilary and I had a parent/parent conference to discuss parenting strategy (after your second child this all seems so silly!). One thing we resolved was to never say, “NO” to Emma. “Stop”, “Back Away from the Cookie Jar”, “I DON’T THINK SO” are all viable alternatives to the dreaded and machine gun like knee jerk response we heard so often from parents/grandparents/people without children etc. We wanted Emma to grow up without the walls of denial but the spark of possibility.

Of course, by the time, Charley Bella, our second child came along that all went out the window and her first and now favorite words are, “NO!”

I firmly believe that given an unlimited amount of time, money, and effort anything can be accomplished. Pyramids were built this way. Rockets sent to the moon in this fashion. The key is to believe YOU CAN.

This of course has led to my many unorthodox developments not withstanding our Mini Donut Food Concession trailer that I built (with help) we like to call, FRANKENTRAILER!

I came back from Jackson, Wy to Tucson in the heat of August to prepare the Donut Trailer for the Utah State Fair. While it’s works just fine and could simply use a good cleaning and touchup. There are ways to make her faster, stronger, we can rebuild her!

Franktrailer's Humble Origins

Franktrailer's Humble Origins

(echo the six million dollar man soundtrack…)

In this grand experiment called life, I believe I can improve process speed within the booth, change traffic flow to accommodate higher volumes of customers, and automate more processes to reduce the number of steps and therefore speed up delivery of the product!

In the end, it really means MAKE MORE MONEY! But setting my capitalistic pig mentality aside, it means stepping once more off the cliff and redeveloping systems not intended or designed (at an affordable cost) for my lowly little Frankentrailer.

Frankentrailer ver 1.2

Frankentrailer ver 1.2

Fancy words aside, I have to figure out how to use common objects with the help of Craigslist to build a better system.

What I am I trying to do?

Well, surprise! Last year at the Utah State Fair we sold more frozen lemonades than we did Donuts. Why? It was HOT! Who wants a hot, fresh, delicious, donut when it’s steaming outside. Now a frosty cold frozen strawberry lemonade sounds really tasty.

Instead of spending (literally) tens of thousands of dollars for slush equipment that can handle the volume we see at the Utah State Fair, we went el-cheapo and we hand blend EVERY drink (because we don’t have tens of thousands of dollars- and if I did I can think of other ways I would like to spend that money; say on a boat!)

Frankentrailer ver 1.5 at 2011 Utah State Fair

Frankentrailer ver 1.5 at 2011 Utah State Fair

We don’t even use fancy commercial grade blenders. I just find some plastic blenders and buy about 4 so when I burn through one I chuck it and pull out a new one.

The problem, a good problem, I can’t keep up with peak demand.

So this year we are working on cutting out as many side tasks as we can to be able to focus on our delivery system.

We are adding Iced Tea and regular un frozen lemonade to our menu this year and we are adding a new bigger size- 16oz, 20oz, and now 24oz drinks. How are we going to handle more products?

We made the flavored drinks in 2 gal batches and we used about 2 ounces per drink to flavor the lemonade before it was blended last year. In peak rushes we would run through a 2 gal container every 30 minutes!

This year we are using the flavors in a concentrate and we pump the flavor straight into the drink from the original container with no mixing necessary. Because we don’t have to mix the sugar, water, and concentrate together it will speed up the process.

We are also working on a way to make MUCH bigger batches of the lemonade and iced tea mix so it lasts the whole day without running out. I did some ass backwards math from last year and estimate we sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 gallons of lemonade mix and we went through more than a thousand pounds of ice in 11 days! As a result, I just bought a bunch of 15 gallon plastic food safe containers off Craigslist for the mix.

I’m planning on plumbing them to 12v water pumps like the kind you find in RV’s and boats (where, Oh where, would I ever see such a thing?), which are on demand pumps, and plumbing a line just over the mixing station. The idea is that we can fill the cup with ice, a flavor pump, add the lemonade mix, and blend all within the same 2 feet. From start to finish, deliver a drink in less than 20 seconds.

I’m going to add a separate cashier station on the left side of the trailer to break up the lines from ORDERING to PICK UP. That means I can add a 4th person behind the counter (It’s tight back there- only 32″ between trailer and counter) to help serve drinks and donuts.

I CANNOT DESCRIBE how much fun it is to design and build (Jerry-Rig?) a system that does the same thing as a very expensive piece of equipment I could never afford or one that would not fit into our trailer. It’s not rocket science. Believe me, I know some rocket scientists! Wacky, yes!

What about the box? The good news, everyone’s box can stretch- infinitely!

From my observations, the biggest mental limitations people create stems from a rigid self image.

“I am an Engineer.”
“I am a Doctor.”
“I am a Artist.”
“I am a Loan Officer.”, etc…

YOU ARE NOT those things, YOU DO those things. Big Difference!

There’s no reason you can’t be a sailor, fireman, astronaut, cowboy, carpenter, business person, inventor, seamstress, etc. etc as well. You can even be all those things AT THE SAME TIME.

It’s OK, I’ll let you. If you want, I won’t tell anyone either.

You have my permission to not be perfect at everything. You have my permission to try new things without penalty, fear of failure, or strong commitment to continue for any reason.

At least that’s what I want my children to grow up understanding. Maybe, now as adults, that’s all we really need anyways? Some kind of subconscious approval/ permission to explore?

You get my vote of approval. GO for it.

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