Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Food Trucks

"Special announcement! Such and such food truck is going to be in a nearby parking lot from 11 to 2 next Tuesday! Take advantage of it while you can!"

It seems like I've been hearing this a lot lately. I don't know if these things have been around for years now and I never noticed, but food trucks seem to be the latest craze. Here's one parked near my work called "Baguettaboutit":

Instead of going to a restaurant, they come to you! (Well, if you're lucky. Usually you still need to come to it.) And it's specialty food - none of this generic American fast food garbage! And being a mobile vehicle, the food truck won't be nearby all the time, so you better act now!

At least, that's been my interpretation of this craze. I've never actually gone to and eaten anything from a food truck, mostly due to my lunch at work policy. Except on rare occasions (e.g. company lunches), I always, always pack a lunch, because going out for lunch is a) unhealthy and b) expensive.

Why are there so many food trucks? Well, starting a food truck business has to be a heck of a lot easier, and cheaper, then starting a restaurant. You can probably get by on two employees. If that! And by driving around everywhere, you help get the word out that you, in fact, exist. For all I know, "Baguettaboutit" could have just started up two weeks ago (their website doesn't say how old they are), and here we are talking about them already.

Why are food trucks have such cult followings? Perhaps it's because they play the same kind of "limited availability" game that McDonald's plays with the McRib.

Also, food trucks often serve specialty food that is hard to find in established restaurants, or at least has some feature (e.g. custom spices) to distinguish them from generic American restaurant fare. That type of product often lends itself to a cult following.

But it's not all specialty food. Perhaps the most well known food truck in the area is OnlyBurger, which sells my kind of grub: burgers and fries. They started out as a food truck business in 2008 - in fact, they seem to credit themselves for starting the food truck craze - but were so successful, they parlayed that success into a permanent restaurant. And hey, the restaurant is even open on weekends! Maybe I should check it out sometime. (Then again, I also still need to go to Five Guys for the first time.)

But as for the other food trucks, which often only appear during working hours...sorry. Gotta stay true to my lunch at work rule.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The dozen (or so) food trucks in Jacksonville collectively call themselves the "Jax Truckies" and are gaining quite the following. It helps that their food is actually good. (Driftwood BBQ is my favorite) From what I hear, the food truck movement started in tightly packed big cities like New York, LA, and San Fran. (Hipsters LOVE independent food trucks) It makes sense there, but in large spread out towns like Jacksonville, it's harder for them to find a profitable concentration of people. We also have some old stringent 'Hot Dog Vendor' laws that actually make them illegal! (currently being fought by the Truckies)