Kyong Lucas enjoys bringing a taste of her home country to Hampton Roads through her food truck business, Seoul 757.
“A lot of people have been to Korea and they can connect back through my food,” she said.
Lucas is one of the newest vendors to join Norfolk’s growing food truck program. The city began to allow food trucks on public property in 2013, when it created six areas in downtown for vendors to park and serve meals, mainly during lunch hours. The number of food trucks has increased since then, and they haven’t all survived.
“Many food trucks have not been successful,” said Deputy City Manager Ron Williams, “It is a very challenging business.”
Lucas has been around food since she was a little girl, but it wasn’t until recently that she opened up Seoul 757, which serves Korean/Asian cuisine. She once owned a restaurant but said it struggled because of its location. So she took a leap of faith and tried a food truck.
Lucas also works as a yoga instructor and as a substitute teacher, so the freedom and flexibility of a mobile food business was attractive to her, she said. She said she also loves interacting with her customers and bringing her culture to them.
All the competition requires food trucks to stand out above the rest to succeed. While serving food, Lucas takes the time to describe her ingredients if a customer is curious.
“I am very personal with each person,” she said.
The extra time she takes with customers has added to her success. She said she believes almost 98 percent of her customers return because of the service and cuisine.
It doesn’t just take customer satisfaction to run a food truck. To open one, the vendor has to acquire several permits and licenses and meet code requirements that are enforced by the police and fire departments.