Archive for September, 2010

In recent years the mobile food industry has been gaining momentum, especially in larger metro areas. New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. have seen the influx of food trucks expand exponentially. Besides their numbers, this new generation of vendors is giving the industry a new look. These entrepreneurs have left your father’s roach coach behind for 7 ton trucks with 16 foot, fully operational kitchens. Along with a new mindset in which they deliver their cuisine, they have also started using social media to market themselves and inform the public about their location and daily specials.

DANNY MOLOSHOK / Reuters

Twitter is by far the number one media tool today’s food trucks are using to market themselves. In Los Angeles alone there are over 100 trucks using Twitter’s service. Most of these vendors have between 500 and 5,000 individuals following them and with the use of simple math; you can see how follower’s tweets and retweets can spread like wild fire along this platform. This technology is getting each of the truck’s whereabouts known within minutes. Outside of just tweeting their locations, some of the truck operators are also spending time thanking their followers by offering discounts and giveaways. One vendor in Washington D.C selects five of its followers weekly and awards them each with a free milkshake.

Facebook is being used as well, but instead of the primary tool, it is being used to supplement the use of Twitter. As the trucks post their locations, their Twitter accounts automatically update their Facebook wall. By doing this, Facebook allows friends to post commentary, share pictures and even add links to stories or reviews about the vendors. Other social media platforms are being used but not nearly as much as Twitter and Facebook. Foursquare and Google Maps are used by some, but due to random locations based on parking availability and agreements made with local brick and mortar restaurants, it is difficult to keep customers updated.

Within the mobile food industry, the ultimate goal is to get the product to their customers. Being mobile and almost never in the same place from one day to another has always been an issue. This new wave of operators has found that by using social media, they are able to keep their adoring fans coming back for more, no matter what parking meter they are set up at.

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Food Trucks in Chicago?

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Chicago, Food Trucks, Politics

The first season of The Great Food Truck Race is over and the people of Chicago have had their opportunity to learn what numerous cities across the country have known for years; Food trucks and street food can provide a community another avenue to find great tasting, convenient and safe sources for cuisine. For years entrepreneurs have tried and failed to get the city leaders to listen to their requests to ease the stringent city zoning and health department regulations that only allow pre-prepared, pre-packaged foods to be distributed to those of us who frequent the city on a daily basis.

Around the country many mobile food trucks are owned and operated by top chefs, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs from their area. Imagine, spending a Saturday at the lakefront enjoying a savory Rick Bayless dish. Steak, tacos, crawfish, ribs, pulled pork, waffles, sausage, ice cream, kabobs, sushi, egg rolls, or hummus are just a few of the possibilities.

Today we feature a group of Chicago food service professionals who have started a movement online at ChicagoFoodTrucks.com to garner support for an ordinance that will allow mobile food vendors to operate within the city limits of Chicago. Started in May of this year, founders Matt Maroni and Phillip Foss are leading the way to persuade hold out aldermen to allow mobile food vendors to start serving in-truck prepared meals. An ordinance was proposed by Alderman Scott Waguespack -32nd, and Alderman Vi Daley- 43rd, in July, but it’s now September and nothing has been passed. Even if passed today, it could still take upwards of 120 days before you might see any of the proposed trucks parked along the city streets.

Please visit the site and show your support. We’ll keep you up to date as things change.

Disclaimer:

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Disclaimer, Uncategorized

This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. My thoughts and opinions change from time to time…I consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind. This weblog is intended to provide a semi-permanent point in time snapshot and manifestation of the various memes running around my brain, and as such any thoughts and opinions expressed within out-of-date posts may not the same, nor even similar, to those I may hold today.