Over the last few years food trucks have exploded onto the scene in cities all throughout the country, offering more variety than the traditional taco trucks that first made an entrance on the west coast. Today’s food trucks offer food from all over the world, and have gotten pricier as well with gourmet options and former restaurant chefs leaving their kitchens behind for the open road. However like any market, the mobile food market has considerably grown, and food truck entrepreneurs have found a number of ways to stay competitive and distinguish their businesses from the rest.
Some of the greatest limitations food trucks face are local and citywide ordinances that restrict their hours of operation and the space in which they can sell food. Because of these rules, many trucks take advantage of a huge rush in business during peak hours but are forced off the road shortly afterwards. Finding innovative ways to fill their schedules helps these trucks stay profitable even during off-peak hours.
More food trucks are directly interacting with their customers by having their chefs come to parties and events and personally cook for all the guests. Personalized catering options give customers an opportunity to become more acquainted with food trucks and change up their normal routines. Other trucks special events every weekend, including parties, lunches and weddings. In New York City the trend “Food Truck Fridays” has caught on with many companies that spice up their weekly catering with lunch from a popular food truck.
Some trucks are focusing on what they do best, and leaving everything else out of the equation. East Coast restaurant and food truck chain Luke’s Lobster has limited its offerings to put a focus on the lobster, shrimp and crab rolls that is does best. Vice president Ben Conniff says “We know we can do three things better than anyone else. Some ingredients are so good the best thing you can do is keep them simple.”
Industry experts also suggest that new food truck operators invest in high quality equipment to make sure they stay competitive with other trucks. Losing time replacing broken equipment or adding new fixtures can be very costly for new trucks. Conflicting rules in different cities and municipalities can also hinder new trucks. In cities like Chicago and New York City law enforcement is particularly stringent on food trucks, and having insight into how trucks interact with city government can save thousands of dollars in fines.
Despite how popular food trucks have become, the market continues to grow and failed ventures only make up a small percentage of the mobile food industry. As the trend gains more traction, more cities finding ways to incorporate the trucks, and even restaurant brands are building their own food trucks to build up buzz.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com