The Death Of Food Trucks

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Food Truck
Food Truck

The food truck was always a staple of the modern American landscape. It served as a gathering place for friends and coworkers during lunchtime, served as a late night home for hungry patrons around the corner from their favorite bar, and fulfilled a need for delicious food in neighborhoods too small to support more than one sit-down restaurant. The proliferation of mobile devices has changed all that, though. Nowadays, virtually anything can be delivered to your doorstep — meaning the age old question “Where’s the closest food truck?” has been rendered largely obsolete.

There are many reasons why people still find value in street vendors or trucks: namely, convenience and flavor (though let’s face it: sometimes you just want burgers). Food and drink 2 words are always better rated when consumed off a paper plate on the street and with a side of charm. Take for example, the Pimp Cup. A staple fare of the food truck scene, this creation is a simple cup of iced tea transformed into an experience. 

The seller hands over your drink with an exaggerated flourish, “pimping” your drink out with a miniature handkerchief and “bowing” at the end. It was a business model that proved successful and only got more popular as the years went on; dozens of imitators popped up in every city across America.

The Death Of Food Trucks :

1. Yelp Needs Food Trucks

The company claims it has over 2 million reviews as of this writing, which is an insanely high number. At any given moment there are hundreds if not thousands of trucks on the road. This number is only going to continue to grow as more people become involved in the food truck community thanks to Yelp’s popularity and access. 

The site contains a wide variety of information about trucks, from their locations, capacity, flavors and ratings (ranging from 1-5 stars). With such a large pool to choose from it almost feels criminal to order a burger right off the street when you can get a cheaper and better version right at home.

2. Seamless is the New Food Truck

At first glance it seems like a lot of people are going to the trucks: if you search Yelp for “food truck” and look at the number of reviews in each category, you’ll see that there are more food truck reviews than any other type of restaurant. However, many of these reviews are from people who have just tried the truck once or twice. The vast majority of people who go to food trucks use them as delivery services so they can sit on their couch and drink their beer through a straw. It’s an easy and efficient way to spend time. As for the review scores, only about 30% of customers actually use Yelp to pick up their food and drink.

3. Cheaper Than Eating In

You can get some pretty incredible food at food trucks, but they do tend to cost more than a sit-down establishment. Most restaurants charge a flat rate (usually around $7-$10) and then add on everything else you want: bacon, maple syrup or macaroni salad. The food trucks charge by the item, which can make for a very expensive meal. In contrast, if you order a burger and fries from Panera Bread you’ll pay about $6 and change. A food truck burger and fries costs $12-15, not including beer or tip (which can bring it up to $18).

4. The Business Is Tough

A lot of people set up their food truck because they have a passion for cooking and they want to make some extra money while they figure out their next career move. But it’s not always as simple as that. Even if you have a great product that gets rave reviews from patrons, you might not make enough money to pay the bills. 

If you invest in the truck itself and the equipment and staff to keep it clean, there’s not much left over to cover paying rent or creating your own advertising budget. It should be noted that these problems are also prevalent in the sit down restaurant world, but food trucks have one more thing working against them: they don’t have enclosed seating!

5. The Endangered Species

If there’s one thing that never goes out of style in Los Angeles it’s palm trees. So it stands to reason that palm trees would be one of the first things people think of when they think of a food truck. The city is home to over 3,000 food trucks; however, many are struggling to keep their heads above water. There are far more trucks than there are regular customers and many people would prefer to eat at one of these trucks rather than a restaurant.

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