Monday, May 5, 2014

Popular Perogy Princess has Potential

Perogy Princess
The Perogy Princess, the first perogy food truck to hit the roads of Edmonton started service on April 29th. Parked downtown on Jasper Avenue, just in front of Scotia Place, they have become popular very quickly as they’ve sold out every service their first week! I’ve already tried them twice, and although they have some service hiccups to work out, they have potential to remain popular if they can work through their service issues and can consistently maintain the quality of their food.
Perogy Princess Truck

Their menu is small and concise, offering only three entrĂ©e options including: Prairie Poutineperogies smothered in cheese curds and gravy; The Farmer – perogies with sweet fried onions, bacon bits and Ukrainian garlic sausage; Classic – perogies with fried onions, bacon bits, cabbage rolls and Ukrainian garlic sausage. For dessert they offer fruit filled perogies topped with whip cream and sprinkles. Although they advertise borscht soup on their website, on their truck they note that it’s a seasonal item, not available until the fall.
The Farmer
The first day that I tried The Farmer, it was their second day of service and there were some major service kinks to work out. That particular day, they were only taking one order at a time but still getting themselves confused. They would take the order, take the money, give the person their cutlery, then close the window. There are only two people working on the truck and they worked together to put together every single order. Once completed, they opened the window, handing the order and yet another set of cutlery to the customer. Being only third in line, you can imagine that this process took a while, and it was almost 15 minutes before I had my order taken. Thankfully, the perogies were worth the wait that day. They were plump and flavourful, cheesy tasting, well-seasoned, and lightly fried to finish. The dough was perfect, not too thick – which often overwhelms the amount of filling inside, neither was it too thin – which often means the inside tastes watery as the dough was not thick enough to hold the water back when boiling. The onions atop were nicely caramelized and sweet, and I only wished there were more onions! The garlic sausage was thick and juicy, with a definitive garlic taste to it.
Given that the food was as good as it was, I wanted to try their other offerings and went back two days later to try the Classic so I could see what their cabbage rolls were like. That day, they had changed the way they took orders, and were taking three orders at a time. I hoped this meant that the wait in line would be reduced, allowing the other person to start putting together orders while the person at the window took them. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, as the three orders were simply taken at once, the window closed, and then they turned around to help put together the three orders. This meant instead of a steady line of orders being taken and fulfilled, all three orders came out at once. This also resulted in a bit of confusion as none of the orders or customers’ names were written down. Instead of getting the Classic like I ordered, I wound up with The Farmer with sour cream, which belonged to the person behind me. They simply hand the orders out the window to customers in the order they were ordered, so I assumed it was what I had ordered, and since it was super windy that day, I didn’t bother sticking around to check the order before I left to find a safe place to eat. It also seemed that the perogies were not as flavourful or well-seasoned that day, the filling was slightly drier, nor were the onions as well caramelized or sweet.
If I could offer some suggestions, simply from observing other food trucks start from their somewhat uncertain few days to becoming the seasoned professionals they are now, it would be this:
  • When taking orders, write the name of the customer and their order on something (probably the container in this case as there are only two people on this truck and a ticket system isn’t necessary).
    • This allows for accuracy – the right person gets the right food. 
    • It also allows for speed of service. The person taking the order can pass this container to the person putting the food together. This means they can begin putting together orders instead of waiting for several orders to be taken and waiting for the other person before beginning. Given the simplicity of the food and the small number of variations, one person should be able to put each order together themselves and hand it back to the person at the window. 
    • It also allows the people running the food truck to get to know their customers. I guarantee this truck will have regulars and in all types of food industry, getting to know your customers name can only help make the experience better for the customer.
  • I can only assume that all of the perogies have been boiled in advance, and the onions and sausage are pre-fried. What I’m not sure about is whether or not the perogies have been pre-fried as I would assume that service would have been faster if they were. Given the sheer volume they seem to be doing, it stands to reason that if they are not pre-frying their perogies, they probably could. They always seem to have quite the long line up at their truck, perogies would probably fly out of there faster, and I doubt they’d be sitting long enough to get soggy.
Overall, I’m not sure what to think of Perogy Princess yet. The first experience was fantastic and the second was ok. Being that I really love Ukrainian food, I of course want to see them succeed, but they definitely have to work on ensuring consistently quality food, and figure out how best service should work so that food is being served in a smooth and timely manner. I will definitely be back to try those cabbage rolls and hope that everything runs smoother and hope that the quality of the food returns to the level of my first visit.
Jasper Avenue and 100 Street (in front of Scotia Place)
Edmonton, AB
Monday to Fridays – 11:00am – 2:00pm (While supplies last)
Twitter: @Perogytruck
Perogy Princess on Urbanspoon

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