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29 Tuesday 2020 |

Food truck: the best assessment for new employees

“My ultimate setting for a job interview would be a food truck”, says Nele Van Damme to storytelling architect Ianka Fleerackers in the Brave New Human podcast. “I'd give the interviewees all the tools, a team and the necessary ingredients and say: Organise yourself so that we can come here and eat tonight.” 


Nele’s idea didn’t just appear out of thin air. If you've read the funny facts about the CEO couple behind Upgrade Estate you'd know that Nele and Koenraad once had a food truck at the Ghent Festivities. “It’s the classic scenario of a garage start-up, but with a food truck. That's the best assessment for new employees”, reflects Nele. “Because this is where you learn the basic principles of entrepreneurship.” 


1. “In our food truck, we wanted to be the most customer-friendly stand at the Ghent Festivities, even for the drunk ones hanging around at night. In fact, we once received recognition for our customer-friendliness.”


Koenraad & Nele
Nele and Koenraad in their food truck at the Ghent Festivities 


2.    “You learn to work as a team. And not only that, you also learn to manage a team. This is the time to see who has natural leadership skills.”


3.     “In a food truck, you have to organise yourself efficiently and you learn to fine-tune your concept by thinking about what takeaways to use in your future concepts.”


4.     “You have to use a lot of creativity both in terms of ingredients and in your concept. In our stand, we had poems hanging up about our oven, Karel. And our sandwich was called Keizer Karel       (Emperor Charles), as a reference to the history of Ghent.”


5.    “Rules are crucial too, of course. If you have a food safety inspection, employee inspection or fire inspection, you need to have everything in order.”


6.    “There are opportunities everywhere. You just have to be able to see them. On Sundays, the festivities start earlier. So maybe it’s a good idea to open earlier too.”


7.    “Above all, always try to stand out from your competition. For example, we had a vegetarian dish, a term that barely existed twenty years ago”.


Hungry for more business tips? Take a walk with Brave New Human Nele Van Damme from Upgrade Estate and storytelling architect Ianka Fleerackers in the full podcast.