12 Most Compelling Reasons to Love Food Trucks
Food trucks. They’re everywhere. Some people scratch their heads a bit and wonder why these restaurants-on-wheels are such a huge craze. These trucks may be more than just a fleeting trend; they could be the new fixture in the modern culinary world because there are a ton of reasons (12, to be precise) that people flock to them.
1. Salvation from food deserts
Many people live or work in an area where there are few (if any) options for quick, yummy food. When food trucks roll in the area, they fill this need.
2. Change from chains
On the other hand, some people live or work in an area where there are tons of options to grab a quick bite to eat. However, in areas like this, many of the options tend to be chain restaurants. Getting food from a food truck can be a step above chains, especially in terms of freshness. Food trucks offer a change in pace from the same restaurants people usually have to choose from.
Latino Burgers offers fresh take on burgers, infusing local culture into an American staple all over the streets of Miami.
3. Face-to-face contact with chefs
Many food trucks are driven by the chefs who make the food, especially in cities where legislation permits cooking on board (read: all major cities except for Chicago). People appreciate being handed their meal by the chef themselves.
4. Introduction to new cuisines
Food trucks can often provide people with a way to venture away from foods they know and be introduced to new ingredients and dishes. Relatively low prices and “commitment” make food trucks a great place to be adventurous. Often times people don’t want to go to an exotic restaurant when they go out to eat because of the “commitment;” if they choose to be adventurous at a bricks-and-mortar restaurant and end up not liking the food, their fun night out becomes a little less fun and can be an expensive risk. With many people on tight budgets these days, the few opportunities they get to eat at restaurants are not the times they want to take culinary risks.
Chicago's Homage Street Food ticks many of these boxes: their menu changes daily, it's served off the truck from the chefs and it offers dishes from around the world.
5. New spin on old favorites
In some towns, there are several trucks serving the same dish. However, each truck likely puts their own spin on the dish. Whether you’re looking for a burger, tacos, or macaroni and cheese, you can tour food trucks to try variations on your long-time favorite dishes.
6. Food courts on wheels
Have you ever wanted to go out to lunch with some coworkers and everyone wants to go somewhere different? Instead of taking turns on who gets to choose the restaurant, you can go to a corner where food trucks flock so each person can get something they’re in the mood for without having to settle for someone else’s taste.
The Grilled Cheese Truck, serving Los Angeles, offers a heap of variations on an old American favorite dish.
7. Meet new people
Often times there’s a queue in front of the ordering window at a food truck. While you wait, you have a fantastic opportunity to meet new people whether you’re looking for a foodie friend, networking, or just some small talk to pass the time. I have met a ton of interesting people while waiting in food truck lines, a couple of whom I count as good friends.
8. More convenient
When you’ve got only a short break between meetings or evening plans, grabbing food from a food truck can be quicker than doing McDonalds’ drive-through. For those who live or work in food deserts, stopping by a nearby food truck might be a much shorter walk than the next nearest food vendor (and a lot cheaper and quicker than ordering delivery).
9. Our day’s ma-and-pa establishments
Culturally we seem to be doing a 180 and appreciating ma-and-pa merchants as opposed to national chains. The majority of food trucks are run by local entrepreneurs, so supporting them is preferable to some people (as opposed to spending their dollars at a chain). Not only does it make people feel good, but it is also a small investment in the local economy.
10. Be part of a community
The food truck community is a strong one. Between the food truck owners and those who frequent them, there’s a really cool community that exists and it is easy to become a part of.
11. Fresh menu items and ingredients
Food trucks have the luxury of being able to change their menus up whenever inspiration hits, so new menu items pop up all the time (for some trucks, there are new menu items every day). On top of that, ingredients tend to be very fresh and you can’t get much fresher preparation than a chef preparing your meal to order and handing it to you within seconds of plating it.
12. It’s cool.
Let’s be honest, food trucks are still a novelty in most markets so people who go to them feel like they’re ahead of the curve and super on-trend with their dining choices.