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Matolo:

Who determines turf for industrial catering trucks companies? You never see two trucks there from different caterers. How do these folks decide who gets what company to sell to? I envision midnight turf wars�sabotage�caterlords�cement overshoes�.

-- Rocket J. Squirrel, the net

Sidearms under the bagels. Grenades behind the chocolate milk�. Uh, no. Sorry. It's a business pretty much like any other according to them what works in it. Checked with Moody's, San Diego's oldest still-standing lunch truck businesses, and they make it sound like the world of meals on wheels is as civil as Miss Manners' parlor. The Moodys have been slinging subs and dishing danish since 1926, when Grandma Moody first peddled 25-cent box lunches to construction workers.

Here's how it's supposed to work. The caterers' sales forces keep on top of construction projects and other potential sales ops. They approach contractors and make a bid to feed the troops. Sometimes there is a formal contract signed; sometimes it's just a handshake agreement. At any rate, by the time construction begins, a caterer has been selected, and that's the only caterer with permission to be on the property and sell food. The contract ends when construction is complete. If the construction project is an office building, say, the battle of the sales forces begins again with the building manager. Access to the property is the key issue, and the caterers need permission to be there.

I wish there was more Wild West to it, Rocket. High-speed catering truck chases through downtown streets. Industrial hit squads. Guacamole in the gas tank. Yogurt in the coffee urn. Yawn. Just another business that runs on salesmen and lawyers.

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