SEATTLE, WA - The rule of thumb has generally been that you start a food truck, then transition to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. But lately a handful of restaurants have defied the food gods by condensing their brick-and-mortar establishments into food-truck form, including Brass Tacks, Ezell’s, Plum Bistro, Barking Frog, and The Walrus and the Carpenter.
It’s a far less natural process. Turning a food truck into a restaurant allows a kitchen to breathe, enabling new options and possibilities. The reverse transition means shedding and sacrifice, like choosing what to take with you during a fire—a really long-drawn-out fire.
But it’s often an effective marketing decision. Taking a restaurant mobile creates a more visible brand and reaches new customers, often funneling them back to the brick-and-mortar, where they can actually grab a seat.
“We’ve been a brick-and-mortar for 13 years,” says Bobby Moore of Barking Frog in Woodinville, who in May launched Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen, nicknamed Road Toad (the license plate reads RDTOAD). “We were bursting at the seams here. You can only generate so much revenue when you’ve been a brick-and-mortar for so long. We wanted to keep ourselves in front of people. I personally wanted to change with the times and not keep doing the same old thing.”
While it would be fun if food trucks simply shot out of their home restaurants like escape pods, the process is much more complicated.
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