For Teddy and Holly Allred, a food truck was the perfect solution for their family financial plan.
Thus, This or That Food Truck and Catering was born.
For this relatively young family, the food truck business provides the flexibility they need in order to spend important time with their three children.
“We have teenagers, so we were like, we need something we know how to do and we can control our hours so we can still support kids at school functions and take time off for family,” said Holly Allred.
Aside from the benefits to the family, Teddy Allred is a fan of the interactions they are able to have with people as they conduct business.
“The people and travel is the best part,” he said. “We get to meet and know a lot of great people, both customers and other vendors.”
Starting the journey
The Allreds’ journey to This or That started in 2017 and came about rather naturally.
“I am disabled from the military and getting a ‘traditional’ 9-to-5 job is very hard,” said Teddy Allred.
“And Holly has been so high up working (in) the restaurant and food industry, she had a hard time finding a job.”
He decided owning their own business would be a good route to take.
“(It) is something everyone — in the back of their mind, at least — dreamed about at least once,” Teddy said. “(Holly) knew the food industry and I wanted to own a business. We didn’t go (with a traditional) restaurant, as the overhead to maintain (one) is very high.”
This or That is born
So the This or That food truck is where the Allreds landed.
“Once we found a truck, we went restaurant equipment shopping, mapping and drawing out on paper, and measuring everything,” said Teddy Allred. “Once we knew it would all fit, it was a matter of building it all out.”
The hardest part was making sure everything met code and state regulations, for more than one state.
“There are a lot of things the State of Kansas requires that Oklahoma does not,” Teddy said.
Food truck and catering
Operating the This or That food truck at events is not all the Allreds do. They also cater for events.
“We have catered weddings and business functions and employee appreciation (meals),” said Holly Allred.
“We can cater any menu someone comes up with.”
The one caviat is seafood — due to shellfish allergies and the limited shelf life of seafood, the Allreds don’t use it on their menus.
The menu for the This or That food truck operations is fairly diverse.
“The menu was actually the hardest and was slightly tweaked even after we got up and going,” said Teddy Allred.
“We build our menu off of what we personally liked and what we knew others liked.”
“We are foodies,” added Holly Allred.
“We also didn’t want to go full fair food for (our) main menu. As to us, most fair food is typically corn dogs, lemonades, kettle corn, funnel cakes and (barbecue),” Teddy said.
That isn’t to say This or That doesn’t have some of those items available.
“What is something people will know instantly what it is?” Teddy said. “We have been to fairs and events (where) it’s confusing what they really are selling. While seaweed wrap with tartar might be good, most people have no clue what that is and thus won’t even try it.
“With our wings, we actually went to the Cowley College café and ordered a lot of wings, and had every teacher that came by try several different sauces we were given from our food distributor. We did this three or four times. And that’s how we actually narrowed down our sauces.”
Always on the move
While many area food trucks set up for smaller events or once a week at a local site, This or That Food Truck isn’t seen in Ark City quite as much.
“We travel all over Kansas and Oklahoma to different carnivals, fairs and festivals,” said Holly Allred.
“However, we do still do a lot in and around Ark City and Winfield. We have done events at Camp Horizon, a few churches, a car show in Winfield, (the) Cowley County Fair, and coming up we will be in Arkalalah in Ark City,” said Teddy Allred.
“We will be in Geuda Fest doing our normal menu and funnel cakes. We did build our truck to do anything.”