Drawing crowds to food trucks all starts with good truck design

When the ice cream truck drives down the street, everyone hears it. But when the Caliente Mexican Craving Food Truck rolls through town, everyone sees it.

After 10 years of envisioning a food truck to pair with her restaurant brand, owner Jessica Barraza finally bought one about three years ago.

To personalize the design, the team decided on a loud, colorful wrap to match the vibrant interior of the restaurant.

“We wanted it to be as bright and crazy and to stand out as much as possible,” Catering Director and General Manager Madeline Gagneaux says.


Now, the Caliente food truck meets the crowds where they are, serving its bold flavors across Baton Rouge, parking downtown, at community events, weddings, parties and more. Gagneaux thinks the key to the truck’s popularity lies in its small but customizable menu. It focuses on the quick convenience expected from a food truck by giving customers three options: tacos, nachos and quesadillas filled with their choice of protein.

With at least three events scheduled each week, the team puts many hours into the truck’s upkeep. Between outings, the truck is parked at Caliente’s catering and prep kitchen off of Airline Highway, where maintenance like charging batteries, filling gas and cleaning the kitchen is performed.

“Running a food truck is a lot,” Gagneaux says. “There’s a lot more labor put into it than people would guess.”

Now on the heels of last year’s closure of its Lee Drive location, Caliente is putting all its focus on its food truck, catering business and its Central location. The truck has changed the brand’s whole strategy.

“We had to be more active with looking for business instead of the business coming to us,” Gagneaux says.

That hard work is all worth it for the noble cause of keeping Baton Rouge’s taco cravings satisfied. Find it on Instagram at @calientemexicancraving

Anatomy of a food truck

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This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of 225 magazine.