Q: Why is a new kitchen trailer needed?
A: There are quite a few reasons, but simply stated, the current trailer's age and configuration are no longer adequate for the rigors of a modern drum corps seasons. When it was built in 1997, the corps had 65 members and the summer output was about 30,000 meals per season. Now, the group is 160 members and 40+ staff and volunteers per meal, equating to 90,000+ meals per season.
The trailer itself was manufactured in 1982, making 2017 its 35th year on the nation's highways. Our maintenance shop has been giving us indications that its usable life is quickly coming to an end. Parts are becoming harder to secure, and the "bones" of the trailer are showing worrisome symptoms of fatigue, such as "rust jacking."
It is a testament to the initial designers and builders of the kitchen trailer in 1997 that we've been able to upgrade and rehabilitate the trailer to keep it in service all these years, but the time has come for a newer, more modern, and larger solution. We estimate a 30-year+ lifespan for the new kitchen trailer.
Q: What are some of the key features of the new kitchen trailer?
A: To start, the new kitchen trailer will be significantly larger than the old. The new trailer will be the largest legally allowed in all dimensions: longest, highest, lowest, and widest. This will give the most space inside to accommodate all the design features the kitchen team has requested.
Our goal from the start of this project is to provide the hard-working food program staff and volunteers with the safest, most comfortable, and most efficient kitchen trailer in the activity. They tirelessly spend each day preparing nutritious meals for our members and staff, and deserve nothing less. Here's a look at some of the key areas the new trailer will address:
The new trailer will be fully air conditioned to make a difficult job more comfortable. If you've ever fired up the ovens in Texas in July, you will recognize the importance of this feature. Additionally, the trailer will be lower to the ground than the current setup, necessitating fewer steps to navigate on a daily basis.
All required safety mechanisms will be in place to provide ease-of-mind for the people working in the trailer, including fire suppression, venting hoods, shut-off valves, multiple exit doors, and various monitoring systems.
Food preparation safety and compliance
All surfaces will be stainless steel or other non-porous materials to make food preparation and clean up as easy and thorough as possible. Our goal is to be code-compliant in all 50 states for food preparation and serving.
The new trailer will move to a walk-in refrigerator/freezer box in the nose of the trailer. This will give us a much larger cold-storage/frozen capacity, and will make it easier for kitchen staff to see inventory levels and monitor expiration dates. Additionally, the refrigerator/freezer will be facilitated by a nose-mounted, external refrigeration unit (i.e., ThermoKing). These units are designed to run longer hours and in the typical climate conditions we experience during the summer months. Finally, by moving to a nose mounted, external refrigeration unit, we can run a smaller generator for kitchen usage and draw less power when plugged into shore power.
Increased storage capacity
The new kitchen trailer will have a greatly increased storage capacity inside and outside of the trailer. This additional space will allow the corps to travel with a greater capacity of dry goods, such as paper products, plastic ware, drink mix, and other canned and dry goods.
Additional features of the trailer:
- Double convection ovens
- Larger dedicated griddle
- 6 burner gas range with water filler
- Tilt skillet
- Hot box storage for holding finished pans at proper temperature before serving
- Coffee station
- Can rack
- Bread rack
- 3-sink dishwashing station
- Dedicated hand washing station
- Stacked washer/dryer combo
- Dedicated drink cooler storage
- Better lighting both inside and outside the trailer
Q: Why buy a new trailer instead of a used?
A: We looked extensively on the used market for a previously owned, late-model, 53-foot, double-drop trailer. They simply are not readily available. Trailers that are close to our desired specification are not significantly cheaper than new. Plus, used trailers also have maintenance concerns, must have work done to reconfigure doors, must be painted to cover existing graphics, etc…
By starting with a new trailer, we are able to get factory installed doors, bracing, and other features to our exact specifications. The trailer comes with a factory warranty and an expected 25-year – or longer – usable life span. We can build-out the trailer in a manner very specific to our needs and be confident of measuring its usable life in decades. We fully expect this new trailer to be in use by the organization through its 80th anniversary in 2044, and probably longer.
Q: What will happen to the old trailer?
A: The outgoing trailer used by the corps beginning in 1997 will be offered for sale. While it no longer meets the Blue Stars' needs, it has been well maintained and may be the right step into a mobile kitchen for another organization. The trailer is a 48-foot, single drop trailer manufactured by Kentucky Trailer in 1982. It was first outfitted as a kitchen trailer for the Blue Stars before the 1997 season, and went through rehab/upgrade cycles in both 2009 and 2015. If you are interested in purchasing the trailer, please contact Brad Furlano.
Q: Who is designing the new trailer?
A: We are working with two nationally known trailer companies on the design and build of the kitchen trailer. Very soon we will choose the winning design/build company.
Q: Who is building the new trailer?
A: The trailer will be built by nationally known company to our specifications. While there have been quite a few organizations that have taken on kitchen trailer builds independently, we have made the decision to let the professionals handle this project, to make certain it is built to the highest standards.
Q: The graphics mock up on the new trailer picture look awesome. Will the new trailer look like the picture?
A: The kitchen trailer will have the same general graphics package as the equipment trailer, only with the colors reversed (the kitchen trailer will be predominantly white). This is to reduce the heat absorption of a dark color on the skin of the trailer to help with cooling the inside of the unit. The pictures we're currently using is an artist's rendering of the Blue Stars' graphics on the existing trailers (one being the Cavaliers' kitchen trailer). The actual door placement, venting, and other trailer features will likely be different on our unit. While the final graphics will be a huge improvement over the current trailer, they may be slightly different than the mock-up shown here.