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Tasty Trucks - When's lunchtime?

When the rubber hits the road

You’ve probably seen them on the road even if you have not taken advantage of their services. Tasty Trucks provides daily, "made-today" meals including fresh sandwiches, salads, cakes and hot pastries to more than 25,000 workers across metropolitan Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Newcastle.

With humble beginnings in 1979 the company started out as the quintessential Australian cottage family business. Colin Lear, CEO of Tasty Fresh Food Co., started the business as a one-man-band, delivering sandwiches from his corner shop kitchen with the original Foodmobile to workers in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Tasty Fresh Food, now with a fleet of around 130 trucks on the road, still produces "with love and by hand" in their own kitchens to provide the freshest and best quality food.

An ethical dilemma

Colin says, "We have always held a long-standing belief in (and commitment to) the fact that all customers, especially those at the last lunch van stop, receive the same variety and quality of food as customers at the first stop. It is how we started and how we are today."

This commitment though, requires a higher level of food to be prepared than is expected to be sold. Therefore, a significant amount of left-over fresh food remains unsold as no day-old food is re-offered the following day. This equates to around 16% of freshly prepared food leftover at the end of each day. The company has always been very conscious of the environmental and ethical implications of throwing out surplus food. "Initially with just one van on the road, this represented about $5000 of food waste being produced each year. Whilst many larger corporations would not think twice about discarding these amounts, we could not condone it going to landfill. So we formed a partnership with the St Vincent de Paul Society to distribute the left over food to the homeless and marginalised across Melbourne in the Vinnies Soup Van program." Over the years of the association, Tasty Fresh Food has donated around five million meals to this excellent program.

Tasty has also donated several fully furbished food transport vehicles to Vinnies to assist with the distribution program and also maintains Vinnies Soup Vans to keep them in running order.

Mutually beneficial

Tasty has also seen the benefits to their business from this charitable partnership. They encourage employees to participate in the Vinnies Soup Van program, implementing a roster for staff to be able to donate their time. Feedback from employees and a very low staff turnover indicates that the team are proud of what they do. Customers also love knowing that the surplus food isn’t simply being thrown in the bin at the end of the day. Drivers report that this plays a significant role in repeat custom.

Saward Dawson and Tasty

In additional to the annual statutory audit, Saward Dawson assists Tasty in the provision of specialist company secretarial services, fringe benefits tax services and income tax services. More recently, we have provided short term specialist services into monthly financial reporting and general accounting functions. As part of this process, together we are reviewing the accounting and operation systems reporting and processing functions in order to drive improved reporting and process efficiency.

Tasty Trucks is an excellent example of a successful business working cooperatively with a leading charity, primarily for philanthropic motivations but seeing clear business benefits as a result. The partnership is mutually beneficial. Colin says, "We look forward to being a key supporter of Vinnies for the long term and anticipate extending the relationship as we develop new market opportunities."

Keep an eye out for the distinctive Tasty Trucks around town and visit their website www.tastytrucks.com.au to learn more.

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