Loving the Food Truck Trend Research Paper

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During my spring break, I had the chance to visit New York City and explore the busy streets of SoHo. The abundance of food trucks lining Prince Street caught my attention. It seemed like there was a truck for every culinary craving imaginable.

As I walked down the street, I noticed long lines of eager customers patiently waiting their turn to order from these mobile kitchens. Despite the wait, everyone seemed happy, knowing they were about to indulge in something truly delicious.

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The food itself was served on small paper plates, presenting a simple yet well-prepared display. These trucks offered a diverse range of options including tacos, sandwiches, and Greek gyros to satisfy any palate.

However, these food trucks provided more than just tasty treats. They created a lively social atmosphere where people gathered not only to eat but also engage in lively conversations with each other. It was fascinating to see strangers come together over a shared love for good food and great company.

In Tampa, where I live, I have observed this trend multiple times. Initially, I assumed these trucks were only used for special occasions based on my past experiences. However, after returning from New York City, I eagerly searched for more of these trucks and realized they were not limited to events as I initially thought. They could also be found parked on Franklin St, the street where I live, and at the farmer’s market in downtown Tampa every weekend. Essentially, it was the trucks themselves that created these events.

The surge in popularity of food trucks prompts the inquiry into the reasons behind their immense following. The sight of a food truck in Tampa brought to mind The Great Food Truck Race, an aired reality show on the Food Network in 2010. This series showcased various specialty food trucks engaging in a six-week competition across different cities. It is plausible that this phenomenon of food trucks was influenced by the show, or it may have been my initial introduction to the concept of a “Food Truck”.

A food truck is a mobile venue on wheels that specializes in selling various types of food. These food services have unique names like Killer Samich, Taco Bus, Burger Culture, Fat Tortillas, Jerk Hut, Coconut Bo’s, Nelly Nel’s, Fire Monkey, Gone Bananas and Wicked ‘Wiches. They are equipped with a mobile kitchen and are popular during lunch and dinner hours. The trucks make quick stops at each location before moving on to the next one.

Food trucks have become a popular trend in the restaurant industry today, according to a release. The convenience factor is driving the growth of the industry, and food trucks offer a convenient option by bringing the restaurant experience directly to consumers, as stated by Hudson Riehle, senior VP of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. Riehle also noted that research shows a significant increase in the number of consumers expressing their likelihood to visit a food truck within one year. Essentially, food trucks provide customers with a more informal and convenient means of accessing restaurants.

According to recent research conducted by the National Restaurant Association, there has been a rise in people’s inclination towards visiting food trucks. At present, 59 percent of individuals would be open to visiting a food truck if it was offered by their favorite restaurant, which is an increase from 47 percent just one year ago. In the summer season, 18 percent of people reported encountering a food truck in their community and out of those, 28 percent made a purchase from this mobile foodservice provider. Last summer, I belonged to the group of individuals who spotted a food truck in my community but had not yet given it a try.

Despite the passage of almost a year, I have managed to dine at approximately ten different food trucks by visiting each truck 1-2 times (Anonymous). It may be surprising how I have been able to locate the same food trucks again. Some of them remain in consistent locations, while others I have discovered through various forms of media. The media has played a significant role in assisting me in keeping track of these trucks by informing me about their current whereabouts and future plans. Moreover, the media has also been crucial in spreading awareness about this trend to individuals like myself. Food trucks have fully embraced social media platforms and utilized concise messages with limited characters to directly engage with customers and cultivate a loyal following through grassroots marketing efforts. Social media marketing is employed to inform potential patrons about the mobile restaurants’ schedules and locations (Olivieri).

According to an article on the New York Times, trucks typically have two to three workers, with their interactions carefully coordinated. However, some trucks, such as those serving soft ice cream, only have one employee (Collins). I was astonished by this revelation. Compared to a typical medium-sized restaurant, which typically has around six servers, a cashier, and four chefs or assistants in the kitchen (at least that’s my estimation as an outsider), having only two to three workers per food truck seems minimal. This made me realize that food trucks must offer their food at much lower prices. With fewer employees to pay, the cost of production is reduced. Food trucks operate differently from traditional restaurants and should market themselves accordingly.

The Tampa Bay Times reported on the first food truck rally in Tampa, emphasizing that most of the dishes offered at the event were priced below $10. Some options were even available for as low as $1 or $2. The article highlights the convenience and affordability of these food trucks, making them a popular choice for consumers seeking affordable dining experiences (Jodie). In contrast, traditional restaurants usually have higher prices for their dishes. Thus, the food truck rally offers consumers a cost-effective chance to enjoy a wide range of culinary delights.

The food is often creative, relatively cheap, and convenient. If you’re willing to wait in line and eat from a disposable plate, there is typically an intimate exchange when the chef hands the meal to the customer. Moreover, because it is affordable, this new trend has allowed many people to dine outside of their homes, benefiting the city’s economy as more individuals take advantage of community services. This creates a cycle. “It gained popularity because of the recession, as it offers the opportunity to enjoy high-quality food at street-food prices.” “The food trucks provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a way to enter the restaurant industry. They also contribute to job creation and financial growth in the city” (Severson).

An article in the New York Times highlights the cycle of food trucks and their impact on the economy. Food trucks create jobs for the city, resulting in increased incomes for individuals who can now afford to dine out more frequently. Despite having only two to three workers per truck, and sometimes even just one, food trucks lower production costs but are often assumed to have minimal expenses, leading to misconceptions about their profitability. However, this assumption is false, as demonstrated by Missy Carr, co-owner of the Go Fish! food truck.

Truck states that there are numerous expenses involved, such as licenses, taxes, vehicle and liability insurance, the truck’s cost itself, as well as maintenance and gas. Additionally, they must rent space in a licensed food service facility and have staff and food costs. Moreover, due to their size, food trucks can only sell limited quantities of food per time and per day, significantly less than a restaurant. As a result, our earning potential is lower compared to restaurants, states Carr. However, this hasn’t prevented restaurant owners from complaining, particularly when a food truck stops to sell right next to their establishment.

The article titled “Food trucks roll more variety into downtown Tampa lunch scene” in the Tampa Bay Times discusses the concerns of restaurant neighbors regarding the food truck lunch scene in the area. Bill Nelligar, from the Metro restaurant, expressed his disappointment at experiencing a decrease in customers, speculating that many of his regulars were drawn to the food truck rally. Nelligar and other restaurant owners were already facing a loss in business due to the Friday downtown food market (Tillman).

According to a New York Times article, the food truck rally is seen as another blow that many restaurant owners are tired of. Having competition literally parking outside their windows frustrates these business owners. Although I won’t discuss the negative impact this trend may have on others, my main focus is on the food truck phenomenon. It goes beyond convenience and affordability; it also promotes a sense of community in a city where people often isolate themselves in cars. These trucks bring people together, whether they are family, friends, or participating in a larger social gathering.

Both consumers and the relationship between workers and consumers feel a sense of social gathering when a paper plate filled with food is handed out. I have personally experienced this feeling while eating at some food trucks. However, I have only had a few experiences because food trucks are often used as a quick dining option. Even if there is a line of people waiting, it is still much faster to eat at a food truck than a traditional restaurant due to the efficient, coordinated work of the food truck staff.

Similar to Classical Organizational Theory, which involves dividing work into specialized tasks and standardizing them to focus on efficiency and production, the food truck trend appears to be increasingly popular throughout the United States. Whether due to convenience, affordability, socialization, or quick production, people are highly attracted to this trend. It is even sparking new ideas, such as a FoodBeast article that discusses the concept of food truck delivery on freeways.

The technology and intuition already exist for the innovative idea of conducting payment transactions online before hand on a smart phone, pulling up to the closest food truck, and getting food hurled into your window. It may sound crazy, but this could be more convenient than the regular food truck trend. Entrepreneurs are also suggesting that trucks should be larger to provide more refrigeration storage. By having a larger truck, suppliers can avoid running out of supplies during the dinner shift and increase revenues by spending more time selling.

Implementing the arrangement of food trucks as a food court setup, like in NYC, is an innovative idea that has the potential to revolutionize how food trucks operate and contribute significantly to their growth. However, some truck owners see this trend as a stepping stone towards establishing their own restaurant rather than a long-term occupation.

An article titled “Food Trucks: A Day in the Life” from Sacramento press discusses how food trucks serve as an excellent incubator for small businesses. Nonetheless, many entrepreneurs aspire to expand and open a restaurant as their ultimate goal.

According to Kim Severson, a writer for the New York Times who specializes in food and cultural trends, the food truck industry offers entrepreneurs a more affordable way to enter the restaurant market. This has led to a revolution in the American dining experience.

The popularity of trucks is increasing in many cities, similar to the rise of fast food drive-throughs in the 1970s. However, it is important to recognize that there is a high demand for meals on wheels currently and their popularity keeps growing.

As a supporter, I wholeheartedly support and promote the growth of food trucks, despite facing opposition from restaurant owners. These mobile eateries have made significant positive impacts on American society due to their innovative approach, easy accessibility, and convenience. Food trucks offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy delicious meals at affordable prices in convenient locations and times. Moreover, they serve as an economical entry point for individuals aspiring to enter the vast food industry.

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Loving the Food Truck Trend Research Paper. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from


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