Food Trucks: A Sustainable & Viable Business Strategy?

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Following Shannon Suetos’s post on green restaurants, is another possibility for sustainable food business: food trucks? The concept of food trucks has been around since the 50’s but the gourmet food truck has gained in popularity only recently with the social media boom and extensive coverage through reality shows like The Great Food Truck Race.

Image Credit: Find LA Food Trucks Blog

Food trucks could become the next big thing in sustainable restaurants and food delivery with an effective economic model to boot.

  • Food trucks can go where restaurants cannot and become a community hub.
  • If using local and fresh ingredients, they can boost farmers markets and local growers.  Menus can be changed seasonally even daily to take advantage of in-season produce.
  • Since food trucks typically offer concise menus, there is room for innovation and ethnic food options.
  • A well planned food truck business would generate low waste.
  • Also, the trucks could take any food waste to local composting facilities or collaborate with a local soup kitchen to donate any leftovers.
  • Other sustainable options such as eco-friendly utensils and cutlery could be incorporated.

Even though the food truck business may offer lower returns than a restaurant, it can be economically profitable and viable.

  • It captures a huge market- the mobile food business can capitalize on demands in different areas within a city on the same day.
  • Food Trucks can provide varied options for customers in highly commercial areas where other food choices or restaurants are limited.
  • Effective and cheap marketing options are available through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, where the business can announce their future plans, specials or even their next stop!
  • Food trucks typically have low startup, maintenance and operating costs that can jump start a business.
  • There could be tremendous savings on downtime and maintenance during off-peak hours.
  • Provide a low cost delicious food option, attractive to consumers.
  • Some food trucks even provide catering and bulk orders.

Even though the food trucks travel and burn fossil fuel, their eco-footprint is much smaller than a typical restaurant that is much more energy intensive. The food truck culture is very prevalent in cities like LA, New York City and DC. Almost everyone in LA has a favorite Food Truck with a multitude of food blogs covering the newest trucks, their menus and locations.

In other cities, its not so easy on a food truck business with regulations torn between the rent-paying eating establishments and free-to go anywhere truckers. But Food Trucks have a cult following and the revolution is slowly sweeping the country. One thing is certain: Food trucks add vibrancy to a city’s gourmet food scene and vindicate an eco-city status.