From left to right in the photo, we have Assemblymember Ting with Matt Cohen (owner and founder) and Alex Welch (market director) at Off the Grid
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Off the Grid was honored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) as Small Business of the Year during a gathering of entrepreneurs and elected state leaders observing California Small Business Day.
“San Franciscans changed how the nation eats but Off the Grid has revolutionized how the City eats,” said Ting. “Food trucks brought food to locations where options were limited. By bringing food trucks together, Off the Grid has brought people together and created hot spots in our community. The company’s growth has helped launch a new generation of talented chefs and fueled even more food diversity in our state’s culinary capitol.”
“This is a huge honor for us, in large part because so much of Off the Grid’s ethos is based on helping to support minority and female business owners via their mobile food companies,” said Matt Cohen, Owner and Founder of Off the Grid. “We’re first and foremost a platform for street food vendors that help us create community gatherings and shared experiences. To that end, we’re grateful for this recognition from Assemblymember Phil Ting and how it will bring even more attention to all the great small businesses that make Off the Grid possible.”
Off the Grid began in June of 2010 with the simple idea that grouping street food vendors together would bring communities together through a shared mobile food experience. Cohen drew inspiration from his experiences attending Asian night markets while living in Japan, wanting to create a similar experience in the United States. The first gathering happened in the parking lot at Fort Mason with 10 vendors because the location on federal land was free from the City’s street food vendor rules. It was literally “off the grid.”
The company has grown rapidly. In 2010, the company opened 3 markets. In 2011, it opened 9 more. Off the Grid now operates 29 weekly markets in the greater Bay Area, and works with over 200 vendors weekly. It assists vendors in business planning, permitting, catering opportunities, marketing, and promotion. The company works with food trucks to bring quality food to over 35,000 people every week. In exchange for being brought into Off the Grid, the company gets a percentage of each truck’s profits at its markets.
Off the Grid participants have received respectability from food critics. Bay Area Zagat food guide reviews now rate food trucks. When they first appeared in 2011 all 8 of the trucks were Off the Grid participants.
California Small Business Day was launched in 2000 to honor the contributions of small businesses to our state. Dozens of lawmakers honored small businesses from their communities during today’s award ceremony, featuring speeches by legislative leaders and Governor Jerry Brown, coordinated by the California Small Business Association.