How Businesses are Tapping into the Food Truck Industry

How Businesses are Tapping into the Food Truck Industry

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Kwasi Boyd has wrapped vehicles with printed vinyl for more than a decade. Lately, his business has gotten a big lift.

Custome Vehicle WrapsBehind the boom is the rising number of food trucks in the Bay Area. Mr. Boyd’s Emeryville-based business, Custom Vehicle Wraps Inc., covers vehicles with wallpaper-like material, which is an alternative to paint jobs, charging around $6,000 to wrap a 30-foot truck. In the past three years, food trucks have become more than 40% of his business, and their numbers are growing much faster than the tour buses and sports cars he otherwise works on, he says.

“It’s pretty crazy,” says Mr. Boyd, 41 years old, who says he wrapped six food trucks through the first seven days of 2013 and has brought on five people to help him. “There are times where I had to do 10 trucks at once.”

Mr. Boyd is one of many small-business owners in the Bay Area who are benefiting from the proliferation of these trucks, which cook and serve an assortment of gourmet street foods, such as Korean tacos, oven-blistered pizzas and Indian sandwiches. Parking-lot operators, hardware stores, graphic designers and mobile-kitchen makers are also getting new business.

There are no official statistics on the number of food trucks in the Bay Area, but the landscape shows evidence of rapid growth.

Matt Cohen, who runs the popular “Off the Grid” food-truck gatherings and a consulting business for food trucks, says there were five gourmet food trucks in San Francisco when he started his company in June 2010. “We work with 100 trucks a week now,” he says. “We expect that to grow to 200 by the end of the year.”

Others in the industry have placed the number of food trucks in the Bay Area at more than 250.

As a result, Mr. Cohen hired five full-time employees to help him organize and run food-truck events in 2011 and added 13 more last year, including a demographer who figures out where the best places are to hold new events. (The answer: areas with lots of 25- to 45-year-old professionals that are accessible via public transportation and have other businesses nearby.) He plans to double his staff again this year.

Meanwhile, El Monte Catering Trucks, which puts kitchens in used delivery trucks, moved from Los Angeles to San Jose four years ago because it sensed that there was a growing market for food trucks in the Bay Area, says Yari Garcia Lyndsey, its manager.

Find the entire article by Ben Worthen at The Wall Street Journal <here>

 

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