A local of Worcester, Tom Hammond has made the metropolis his outdoor and his canteen truck commercial enterprise, Tom’s Catering. Canteen vehicles are always at the pass and recognition on presenting equipped-to-devour meals at locations of enterprise, tons to the joy of hungry souls on their lunch breaks. He’s traveled from place to region, commercial enterprise to enterprise, “serving bloodless espresso & awful food considering that 1976,” because the sign up his truck said. He was starting at 18 to 19 years antique, operating in a gas station for $1.Seventy-five an hour, Mr. Hammond took over his nearby canteen truck. He launched his own business years later. After 44 years within the enterprise, Mr. Hammond retired on June 28.
What does it imply to run a canteen truck? How does it vary from a food truck?
A canteen truck isn’t always to be harassed with a meals truck, which can be so famous today – those on the aspect of the road that makes gourmand grilled cheese. Mine is a massive difference from that. It’s a pickup truck with a canteen, a large silver container with three doors at the end of it. It’s referred to as Tom’s Catering. Most of these vans are known as Tom’s, Mike’s, Bob’s, Jim’s. Canteen trucks do creation websites, automobile frame shops, automobile dealerships, manufacturing, and stuff like that.
I can feed a hundred human beings in 10 mins, while at a food truck, it takes you 20 mins to get a hamburger. I don’t have contracts with any of my money owed; I display up and ask, “Hey, you need a truck?” and they’d say, “Yeah, we’d love a truck.” Most of my accounts have 10-15 minutes of breaks. I roll in, toot my horn, they come out all in a hurry, they get their food, and that they’re gone in three minutes due to the fact they have seven greater minutes to complete their meals.
How do you experience the enterprise modified for your forty-four years of revel in, particularly in Worcester? Is it a demise enterprise?
Without a doubt. At one time, there have been possibly a dozen trucks within the town of Worcester, and now there are two of them left. Part of the business that has changed appreciably is that manufacturing has disappeared in the town of Worcester in comparison to forty years ago. There were once cord corporations, woodworking agencies, steel stores, and device and die stores, cabinet-making stores – someplace wherein they produced something, and it’s all gone. If you pressure via any commercial park in Worcester, you can see what was once in these homes, and now they’re all warehouses and distribution facilities. The reason I stayed so busy is thru attrition. Whenever a person went out of commercial enterprise, I could choose up their debts until I turned into essentially the last man standing.
Another thing is the explosion of locations like Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and Subway on each corner virtually anywhere. I didn’t even promote espresso anymore when for years, I used to promote 12 gallons of coffee an afternoon, six dozen doughnuts, and dozen bagels before it became the simplest hotdogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. Even with the construction in downtown Worcester nowadays, I don’t see any new canteen trucks stoning. Although the ones which can be left will be busy, I don’t see everybody justifying shopping for a brand new truck, which can be $80,000, and looking to build a commercial enterprise.
What made you persevere a majority of these years, even with the decline?
The one aspect approximately this commercial enterprise is that it’s miles a laugh! It changed into a fun, laugh activity. I didn’t want to visit work. It wasn’t tedious, it wasn’t uninteresting, and I didn’t watch the clock. It is lots of labor. You’re busy all day. From the time you get inside the truck to the time you move domestic, you’re busy. There’s no downtime because it’s installation, so your stops are one after some other. You prevent at eight o’clock; you stop at eight:15, 8:20, eight:30, 8:forty, right till 1 o’clock.
I’ve finished many different things in this commercial enterprise. I’ve had one truck, vehicles, 3 vehicles, and been everywhere from Boston to Springfield, however for the ultimate 25 to 30 years, it’s primarily been the town of Worcester. Most of my accounts have been manufacturing. I by no means genuinely did construction. I always permit the opposite vehicles combat for production. Construction is excellent while they may be there, but then they would finish the process off, and you’d look forward to a yr earlier than any other one came along. I continually had exact bills that kept me busy, whilst different guys had little gas stations with three human beings or muffler shops with four humans. Still, I continually had pretty correct manufacturing places with a hundred humans, and forty might pop out to the truck for lunch.
What were the biggest takeaways from going for walks with Tom’s Catering?
I’ve in no way definitely had a mind, and I’ve usually been my own boss, and I’ve in no way taken an ill day in 43 years. If you don’t visit work, you don’t get paid. I’ve continually worked outdoor, and I don’t assume I’d ever need to work internally. It feels foreign to me. I have met lots, actually lots, of people over the years. All-day long, once I power through the metropolis of Worcester, I’m continuously getting humans tooting and waving at me and saying, “Hey, what’s up? How’ve you been?” that I haven’t seen in years. They’ll consider me from after they used to paintings at “such-and-such.” That part of the job, I will certainly miss. If I became more youthful, I could have stored doing it, but I’m starting to sense sufficient’s sufficient for my age. It becomes a laugh task, and I actually enjoyed it. I didn’t any longer like my task, and I didn’t dread going to paintings in the morning. If someone asked me, “What’s your activity?” I’d say, “My task’s fun.”
Take Some Time to Brain-Storm
Hiring a catering provider to take care of your fish fry can flip your interest to different components of your function. For example, in case you’re maintaining a function with family and buddies, you might want to take more time to plot exceptional video games and activities to preserve your visitors amused. Similarly, if you’re retaining a marriage or a hallmark birthday or anniversary, you can use your greater time to devise the order of activities together with speeches, toasts, and other enjoyment.
Similarly, if you’re protecting a corporate feature, you will need all the time you may get to organize a well-oiled, smoothly-run occasion. Allow your catering provider to take over the business enterprise of meals and beverages: instead, use some time to arrange the order of the audio system, slideshows, presentations, and enjoyment. Once you have arranged all of the enjoyment on your event, you ought to draw up an itinerary and supply a duplicate to your caterer. This way, you may collaborate with your caterer to organize the order of meals service so that your visitors are saved amused and nicely-fed throughout your occasion.
All Types of Service
Just because you’re protecting a fish fry would not imply that you’re confined to one fashion of provider. Talk to your caterer about the sort of character you are keeping to recommend a satisfactory way to serve your meals. If you’re keeping a barely formal occasion, including a company dinner or a marriage reception, you might prefer to set up your food to be plated and served at the table. If your function is a comfortable affair, you might want to function a dinner party or buffet as a substitute. Each fashion has its very own blessings: your caterer may be able to advocate a certain carrier fashion according to the level of the ritual of your event.