The United States Census Bureau defines a food truck as an establishment that prepares and serves meals for immediate consumption from motorized vehicles or non-motorized carts. From coast to coast, these small eateries are a booming business. A surveying of a typical food truck map may reveal anything from authentic taco trucks, to locally sourced gourmet meals cooked in restored Airstream trailers, to artisan-crafted, fair trade sourced chocolates served from carts.
Food trucks appeal to consumers on every level. First of all, the novelty factor is hard to beat. Consumers are increasingly disenchanted with big business and cookie cutter chain restaurants. Not only are the majority of food trucks run by local owners, but the community of Boston food trucks versus San Diego food trucks is guaranteed to be completely different. The uniqueness of each individual establishment gives consumers the feeling of a special, authentic experience.
Additionally, the low overhead cost involved has allowed proprietors the chance to start up a business when they otherwise would never have had a chance. Vendors can spend considerably less on a truck or trailer then if they were to purchase a brick and mortar store. And depending on the scale of the business, some owners can get away with a tiny, inexpensive cart.
The DIY aesthetic and approachability of most food trucks have also fostered a strong sense of foodie community. MSNBC reports that the most successful food trucks are those with a strong social media presence. By smartly utilizing social tools, these savvy businesses are building loyal followings that will follow them around no matter what corner they land on. And gatherings like Austin’s Gypsy Picnic, a community celebration of Austin food trucks that features affordable food samples and great live music, are growing the food truck industry even more.
In our economy, where overhead and space are at a premium and social media is fueling business more and more, the food truck phenomenon is poised to continue growing. And with the gourmet choices and exciting community spirit these businesses are fueling, that growth is a win for everyone.
- “NAICS 722330 Mobile food services”, United States Census Bureau
- “How to open a successful food truck”, MSNBC.com