The Rise of Food Trucks

For the last several years, we’ve watched the rise of the food truck industry from sidewalk hot dog carts and street taco vendors build and expand into gourmet cuisine with a variety of ethnic food, comfort food, exotic food, and creative fusion food that we can choose from today.

According to Zagat there are an estimated 2.5 billion people who eat street food from food trucks every day. The origin of food from trucks started with us kids following ice cream trucks around the neighborhood.

Later it became the fairly mundane food wagons that were affectionately referred to as “Roach Coaches” which offered chips, soda, coffee and a few choices of humdrum sandwiches. Then at fairs and carnivals there were the corn dog and funnel cake vendors often operating from either a truck or trailer.

While the food truck was once mainly found at fairs, carnivals and around downtown offices, they can now be found outside parks, grocery store parking lots, airports, schools, farmer’s markets, bars, company parking lots, commercial property and much more. The rise of the food truck has seen them working at special events such as weddings, school dances, birthday parties, company parties, and public gatherings.

Now gatherings like concerts, festivals, and other entertainment events can just bring in food trucks instead of catering. It provides a win-win scenario. The Covid pandemic did strike a huge blow to the restaurant industry.

According to Fortune Magazine 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed in 2020 and the National Restaurant Association reports that last year nearly 2.5 million jobs were erased from pre- pandemic levels.

Then when things did again open up, there were capacity and dine in restrictions from many local authorities that the restaurant operators needed to comply with.

This helped fuel the current rise we are seeing in the food truck industry. One segment was from a group of people that knew their passion was preparing food for customers, but wanted more freedom, flexibility along with lower costs than what running a commercial space brick and mortar restaurant requires.

Another group is from people that may have lost their traditional employment during the pandemic and wanted an opportunity where they could run their own business. In both of these cases, owning and operating a food truck was the perfect answer.

With the freedom and flexibility of food trucks, there are some utility infrastructure challenges versus a permanent placement restaurant. One is power where you can no longer tap into the local power utility grid. Most food trucks utilize generators to provide power for their refrigeration and other power needs.

One of the other issues for food trucks cooking with gas appliances, is where to source that. Most are using propane which can be stored in tanks versus natural gas that is normally accessed through underground pipes.

Another piece of the utility infrastructure that permanent restaurant locations enjoy is internet for payment processing. Food trucks do not have the luxury of plugging their point of sale system into the wall jack or cable modem. Some food truck operators have turned their phone into something that can take credit card payments. You may run into problems if someone tries to call or text your phone while you are running a credit card payment.

While this may be OK for someone selling crafts occasionally on weekends at local fairs, this may not display confidence to customers that your food truck is a real professional business. There are also alternatives like hotspots or jetpacks, however their design is more for personal and they are not intended for commercial use.

OptConnect has become a favorite among food truck operators to connect their point of sale systems. This is because OptConnect provides cellular connected industrial grade routers that include an award winning 24x7 live support as well as maintaining the carrier relationships.

This enables food truck operators to let OptConnect handle what they do best, so they can focus on their specialty of fixing all that amazing food and cuisine for their customers.

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