The rise of the snack food industry across the globe has proven that people want flexibility to go with their food. The element of choice and the convenience of snacks have made them a staple in many households. For similar reasons, another method of easy food conveyance has now become a common sight in many cities—the food truck.
While it seems like a modern convenience, food trucks have been around for much longer. The origins of food trucks are hazy, but back as far as the 19th century, mobile wagons selling food have been in existence. Whatever their origin, the spirit of the concept has largely stayed the same. Food trucks are convenient for both their operators and patrons, giving the former flexibility about where to peddle their food and the latter an easy meal over lunch breaks and the like.
The popularity of food trucks, at least for vendors, represents a change in the traditional approach to dining. The overhead costs associated with running a restaurant can make it difficult to break into the business, especially as a niche restaurant. Still, there is a market for authentic cultural foods, especially among younger individuals. While fast food will likely always be an American staple, there are many who are averse to the often unhealthy options available at these restaurants. As a result, being able to make these unique foods easily available is a less-risky way to gain recognition and customers. In fact, many restaurants are born out of popular food trucks.
On the consumer side, it’s hard to beat the notion of quick, inexpensive, and specialized food. Cities with a thriving food truck population can provide just about anything to their patrons, making selection far easier than debating over which restaurant to eat at for lunch. This also helps cater to specific dietary restrictions, with many trucks specializing in offerings that are vegetarian or gluten-free.
Social media has also contributed to the popularity of these food trucks—interested foodies can get live updates about where trucks will be. Marketing, like everything else associated with this style of dining, is low cost and high impact. Indeed, these mobile venues can often become community pillars, making appearances at various events in a town or city. They’ve also become a common option for catering, with companies, weddings, birthday parties, and more renting trucks for the duration. This practice can save on the costly preparations and accommodations inherent in traditional catering options.
The fact is, the business model for these trucks is ideal for entrepreneurs—between low setup costs, low personnel requirements, and flexibility in where to sell, it’s easy to get into the food business in this manner. Even removed from the recession a decade ago, the appeal remains. Look to see more aspiring restaurateurs revving up their engines and hitting the streets to sell their food in the future!