• Fri, Jun 8 2012

Is Starting A Food Truck The Cure For Corporate Life Blues?

If you are a working person, especially in a city, than the odds are high that you have eaten at a food truck in the last few months. Who knew eating food out of a truck would ever be so popular? The last time people out food out of trucks was when they were stealing stuff during the Great Depression. Can you imagine if they knew this was now a cuisine trend? Food trucks blend people’s favorite things: delicious and unique food, social media and feeling like you are in on something new. Plus, they are during breaks from work so what is not to like. As the LA Times said:

“The truck and its staff of merry makers have become a sort of roving party, bringing people to neighborhoods they might not normally go to, and allowing for interactions with strangers they might not otherwise talk to.”

But who are these people that are operating these restaurants on wheels? It seems like lately the new thing to do is quit your boring desk job and get out on the road in a truck and sell food. This is definitely being reflected in pop culture. On the show Happy Endings, the character of Dave leaves his zombie sales job to start the truck Steak Me Home Tonight and in  Think Like a Man, Michael Eely’s Dominic saves himself from a crushing breakup and wins back the girl of his dreams by starting his own food truck. In The Five-Year Engagement Jason Segel’s Tom Solomon buys an ambulance and turns it into a paramedic-themed taco truck. We haven’t seen too many ladies do this on television but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing it in real life. We talked to some people who quit their jobs to start a food truck business.

There are 3 million food trucks and 5 million food carts in the U.S., according to this report. Demand for food trucks and vendors has soared in the last years and revenue (around $1 billion now) will continue to grow steadily for the next five years.

Erin Crist, owner and operator of Deano’s Deli Food Truck told The Grindstone:

 

“Prior to launching Deano’s in August 2011, I held a Marketing Director position at a food package design firm based in Los Angeles. My clients consisted of entrepreneurs launching retail food products into the world. Each day I thought, ”Hey, I can do that…”, and then one day I did.

A little bit about Deano’s Deli – an east coast style deli sandwich truck serving made to order hoagies, fresh cut potato chips, gourmet salads and vintage soda pop. The concept was born after I suffered a family tragedy and realized that life is too short to be working towards someone else’s dream. Deano’s has been roaming the streets of Los Angeles for 10 months, and the business is thriving! It’s a very exciting time for me, as a 28 year old whose life was thrown into a blender and created an amazing story.”

Aviva Shen of Salon wrote:

“Culinary credentials, or even experience, are no longer a prerequisite for success in the culinary world. More and more of these dissatisfied professionals are skipping the usual steps and reaping quick rewards. In just a couple of years since he quit his job in financial services, Luke Holden has opened three branches of his popular lobster roll shack, Luke’s Lobster. Ex-lawyers driving cupcake trucks have popped up in New York,Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. (There’s also a Butch Bakery owned by a proudly self-identified “former asset backed securities attorney for a major Wall Street law firm,” that specializes in “bringing a totally unprecedented culinary product to market” — the “manly” cupcake.) The Peached Tortilla in Austin, Texas, is run by yet another disillusioned lawyer. The list goes on and on.

You don’t need culinary credentials to start a cupcake truck, and a cupcake truck, with the right paint scheme and Twittercisms, can now be enormously, quickly profitable — much more so than starting as a line cook fresh out of culinary school.”

 

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