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Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - Healthy usually doesn’t describe food trucks.

Yet the masterminds behind local food trucks Chez Yasmine and Schmear It convened last night to discuss the challenges and rewards of serving healthy fast food.

The Healthy Food Truck Panel was held in Huntsman Hall and drew in nearly 75 students. College and Wharton junior Robert Hsu and Wharton sophomore Jessica Chen organized the panel as part of the Healthy Food Truck Initiative, an organization that they co-founded. The two food trucks, along with Magic Carpet, have been working with Philadelphia Healthy Food Initiative to offer and advertise healthier options since fall.

Over the past year, HFT has fostered relationships with Chez Yasmine’s owner Jihed Chehimi and Schmear It’s owner Dave Fine, a 2011 College graduate. HFT does not have specific criteria for the food trucks that they partner with, but according to Chen, “We do all the reaching out. We have an idea of which food trucks are healthy.”

Before Chehimi opened Chez Yasmine, he worked in a research lab and enjoyed lunch from food trucks for 20 years. His familiarity with food trucks inspired him to take a different approach.

“Healthy, clean and different. I didn’t want to sell hot dogs,” Chehimi said.

Chehimi offers a Swedish Berry Salad, which earns its finishing flair from fresh mint and rose water. He also serves quinoa, a grain that is “the best you  can eat in terms of health.”

When Chipotle and Sweetgreen became successful on Penn’s campus, Schmear It’s Fine noticed that people were willing to pay more for quality food. Fine saw that a niche for Schmear It and envisioned it as part of Penn’s array of food trucks. However, both Chehimi and Fine admit that the biggest challenge is balancing cost with fresh, healthy ingredients.

“I think when you’re trying to offer healthy options, they are more expensive. Sometimes they are reflected in the prices, but [the customers] recognize it as a special offering they can’t get elsewhere,” Fine said.

Find the entire article at thedp.com <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry we have compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Atmore, Rochester, Burlington and Philadelphia.

OTW Logo food truck newsMarch 21

Wind Creek Hospitality Develops a New Recipe for Promoting Alabama Food - ATMORE, AL - On March 21st, Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH) will launch the first of a new wave of initiatives aimed at promoting great food in Alabama as its custom-built food truck leaves the Northeast and begins the trek to its new home in Wetumpka.

Find the entire article <here>

March 22

Food Truck Rule Change – ROCHESTER, NY - Mobile eaters have welcomed the concept of tasty bites served out of trucks, but food truck owners say city regulations in Rochester have made it a bumpy ride. “The market itself is great,” said Arthur Rothfuss, owner of “Hello Arepa,” “working with the city has not always been very easy.”

Find the entire article <here>

March 23

Burlington adopts food truck ordinance – BURLINGTON, NC - Burlington has adopted a food truck ordinance last week, which differs slightly from the proposal the Planning & Economic Development Department presented to the city council last month.

The operation of food trucks will be regulated by a “Food Trucks” section added to the code of ordinances’ chapter 26, “Peddlers.”

Find the entire article <here>

Food Truck Events Help Grow Small Businesses, Support Local Economy – PHILADELPHIA, PA – Following the success of The Food Trust’s Night Market Philly food truck events, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) pushed for a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that will assist in growing these businesses, facilitating job creation, and attracting patronage and tourism to emerging Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Find the entire article <here>

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free-foodPHILADELPHIA, PA - If you’ve ever polished off a successful meal with a hyperbolic “I could eat that every day,” get ready to be called out for your gastrointestinal hubris.

A trio of University City-based mobile operations is offering all comers the opportunity to win an entire calendar year of free food - for not much more than you tend to spend on lunch in the first place.

Spot Burger, Taco Mondo and Mac Mart, all of whom have cultivated nice followings for themselves at the corner of 33rd and Arch, are collaborating with the Drexel student body with the goal of raising a big chunk of cash for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Earlier this month, the trucks began selling $10-a-pop raffle chances for a shot at acquiring a magic ticket that’ll grant its wielder a gratis entree, side and drink from one of the three street-food specialists once a day for one year.

That means your typical eating week could begin with a signature SPOT Burger and fries, continue with chorizo quesadillas and chicken-cheese empanadas and conclude with a “Return of the Mac,” an out-of-control mac ‘n’ cheese grilled cheese.

Find the entire article and instructions how to enter at philly.com <here>

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Coming in at number seventeen in our Top US Cities to Open a Food Truck is Philadelphia, PA.

Philadelphia skyline

Home of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the former US capital is making history again with a food truck culture that has truly taken off in Philadelphia. Food trucks can be found all over over the city, serving cuisines from around the world. The current trucks are swamped by hungry workers, students, and tourists in Love Park and City Hall as well as the Navy Yard. Open air markets have also welcomed mobile vendors giving a new food truck owner plenty of areas to operate from.

Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the second largest city on the East Coast of the United States, and the fifth-most-populous city in the United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 1,526,006, growing to 1,547,607 in 2012 by Census estimates.Philadelphia is the economic and cultural center of the Delaware Valley, home to over 6 million people and the country’s sixth-largest metropolitan area.

Philadelphia is a city as diverse as it is full of opportunity for mobile food vendors in 2014. Its state tax breaks reward start-ups in the city’s under-served areas, while its suburban neighborhoods offer business owners a wealth of affluent clientele right in their backyards, making Philly and its surrounding suburbs a good fit for food trucks targeting any demographic.

Many of the existing food trucks are represented by The Philly Mobile Food Association with over 40 members. This association has been and will continue to be a strong advocate for the growth of the industry in Philadelphia.

Find the city’s documentation for Starting a Food Truck <here>

Find the entire list of Top US cities to Open a Food Truck  <here>

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economist food truckAnother new use for food truck marketing has been found. This time by international news weekly The Economist is known for its thought-provoking campaigns.

According to Adage, the news magazine’s past efforts out of its U.S. agency BBDO New York included pie charts on pizza boxes to get Philadelphia college students interested in the magazine, or fitness machine-themed graphics illustrating the difficulty of hot button news issues. Now, BBDO is pushing out a new campaign with the help of a food truck and piping hot potatoes.

The truck is visiting locations in Boston and Philadelphia to pass out free steaming spuds, a reference to the “hot potato” controversies covered by the magazine. To make sure passers-by get the joke, the baked taters come with labels citing issues like same-sex marriage, gun control or North Korea. Economist reps are on hand at the giveaways to discuss the topics with the food truck patrons.

The campaign also features outdoor posters that turn the pages of the Economist into binoculars, a Rubik’s Cube, a globe and a pinata, while bar coasters that put a twist on familiar drinking slogans offer brain-stimulating suggestions like “Don’t think alone” and “Be the designated thinker.”

Get the whole story at Adage.com <here>

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - A new GhostFood truck traveling the northeast in October will offer you the experience of eating some wonderful, albeit endangered, delicacies. That’s right: the experience. You won’t actually get to eat the food, but if the proprietors’ trickery works, your brain—and your tastebuds—won’t know the difference.

imaginary food art project

To replicate what it’s like to eat a food without actually consuming a particular item, GhostFood will strap a 3D-printed headset to your face, which will feed the correct smell of whatever is it wants you to imagine eating to your nose. As for what you’ll actually put in your mouth, GhostFood will offer you a textural analogue. So rather than eat cod eggs, you’ll get a whiff of cod egg smell and something similarly chewy to munch on.

You can check out the GhostFood truck starting next week at DesignPhiladelphia 2013. The project will also be traveling to Newark and New York later in October.

Find the original article by Mario Aguilar at Gizmodo <here>

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - Last week, I heard that Philadelphia was getting the Philadelphia Public History Truck. I wasn’t sure what a Philadelphia Public History Truck was, or why a Philadelphia Public History Truck was something that Philadelphia needed, so I reached out to its co-founder, 28-year-old South Jersey native and Temple graduate student Erin Bernard, to find out.

Philly Public History Truck

Image from phillymag.com | Mark Krendel

So what the heck is the Philadelphia Public History Truck?
It’s a mobile museum going from neighborhood to neighborhood in Philadelphia, and the idea behind it is that instead of having a public history exhibit where academics have constructed it, the exhibit is community curated. So all of the community members are invited to come together and contribute and share their stories and objects to put into an exhibit.

Why haven’t I seen this on the street yet?
Right now, we’re in our first exhibit cycle in East Kensington. I’ve done oral history interviews, and I have objects that community members have given me. We’re doing a storytelling block party and First Friday at the Little Berlin fairgrounds in October, where I’ll be serving apple cider and pie and taking oral histories.

So when you say it’s a history truck, are we talking like a food truck, a semi?
The truck was a post office truck. Then it was a water ice truck. And we acquired it through the East Kensington Neighbors Association. The president of EKNA, Jeff Carpineta, he gave it to us. He’s been incredibly helpful. I love the truck. It says “Touch of Philly” on the front.

Find the entire article by Victor Fiorilla at The Philly Post <here>

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OTW LogoIn our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Shreveport, Buffalo, Boston, Tulsa and Philadelphia.

July 5

Shreveport sees food truck growth – SHREVEPORT, LA - Shreveport, like other areas of the state, is experiencing growth in a new mobile industry.

Food trucks are a cool, entrepreneurial outgrowth of what already has been in place with food vendors, says Shreveport City Councilman Jeff Everson.

Find the entire article <here>

Taco truck owner to address recipe for success – BUFFALO, NY - Peter Cimino, co-owner of the Lloyd Taco Truck company, is well-positioned to address mid-career Western New Yorkers who are looking to make a change.

Cimino was a high school math teacher who quit to work full-time on the venture, which launched in July 2010.

The willingness to try something new, to avoid the fear that makes people averse to risk, to identify an opportunity and buy into it completely — those are some of the lessons Cimino will take to an upcoming presentation from 6 to 7 p.m., Monday, July 15, at Medaille College’s Amherst Campus on 30 Wilson Road.

Find the entire article <here>

July 6

Food trucks: Not just for the city – BOSTON, MA - Local food truck owners don’t need extravagant ingredients or city-like pedestrian traffic to keep them going, and a number have already hit the streets for the summer, bringing a fresh twist to traditional favorites.

“These aren’t your father’s roach coaches or canteen trucks,” said Anne-Marie Aigner, executive producer of Food Truck Festivals of New England.

Since 2011 the organization has grown from eight to 200 trucks around New England, she said.

Find the entire article <here>

Food trucks enjoy booming business, thanks to Tulsa’s new licensing process – TULSA, OK - The city of Tulsa appears to have avoided being run over by the food truck craze.

Two years after some mobile food vendors complained that the city’s registration process had become too complicated and too expensive, a new registration process is in place; business is booming; and the complaints have dwindled.

“It was pretty easy once you figured it out,” Lyndsi Baggett, owner of “The Wurst” brat stand, said of the new registration process. “Especially now with all of the food trucks, I think they made it a lot easier.”

Find the entire article <here>

July 7

Food trucks are cookin’ in suburbs now, too – PHILADELPHIA, PA - People started lining up outside SEI’s sprawling headquarters in Oaks even before Thais Viggue and her sunflower yellow Dia Doce cupcake truck rolled onto the campus.

Dave Bell got there 15 minutes early so he could be first, because, he said, he’d seen the line “go all the way down the road.” He ordered a half-dozen of the $3 treats – three Black Magic, one churro, and two key lime – for himself and some friends.

It was just a couple of years ago that a customer like Bell would have to drive all the way to West Philly’s college campuses or the hipster mecca of Northern Liberties to indulge in the dining craze of the 2010s – gourmet food trucks.

Find the entire article <here>

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Healthy Food Truck InitiativePHILADELPHIA, PA - Healthy is probably not the first word that comes to mind when you mosey up to a food truck for a meal.

But Robert Hsu wants to change that.

“People don’t seem to realize that food trucks do offer healthy food,” he said.

The Penn biology and business student, along with fellow students Mitch Gissinger and Jessica Chen, have launched the Healthy Food Truck Initiative.

The program is designed to promote good-for-you eats at the sidewalk lunch spots and help reverse the obesity epidemic in the city. Currently, about 900,000 of Philadelphia’s 1.5 million residents are either overweight or obese, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Hsu came up with the idea after conducting a survey about food truck eating habits at the University of Pennsylvania. He says a number of people responded, saying that they avoided eating from food trucks because they perceived them as “unhealthy.”

“I thought that was so interesting because there are food trucks out there that do, sort of, healthy food and people just don’t know about them,” Hsu said.

Working with vendors in University City, Hsu says the initiative will help food trucks purchase healthier drinks like water and juice. They’ll also advertise healthy menu items at the participating trucks and push for the posting of nutritional information on menus.

“A lot of people have said to make food trucks healthier, they want calorie counts or ingredient lists and stuff like that,” he said.

Three trucks have already expressed interest in partnering with Hsu and are eager to alter any negative notions about their street-side fare.

Find the entire article by Vince Lattanzio at nbcphiladelphia.com <here>

What is their plan with the initiative? 

Our goals and ideas can be broken down into two categories: promotion and product.

  • Promotion:
    • Helping make nutritional information available at the point-of-purchase
    • Identifying healthier meals that can be promoted to the public through signs, banners, posters, flyers, etc.
    • Creating a pamphlet compiling healthier food truck options that can be distributed
    • Organizing an event on campus where food trucks showcase healthy options
  • Product:
    • Modifying meals, beverages, and snacks to be healthier without sacrificing taste or increasing cost

Through these initiatives, we hope to create a healthier food truck environment for customers by achieving the following goals:

  • Enable customers to make healthier decisions with nutritional information
  • Encourage customers to buy healthier meals offered by food trucks
  • Improve the perception of food trucks’ healthfulness
  • Improve the awareness of healthier options at food trucks to existing and potential customers

How will the money be spent?

Food trucks typically do not have a marketing budget, and with funds, we will be able to work with food trucks to create a healthier food environment for consumers.  With our first phase of crowdfunding, we will aim to start work with three to four food trucks.  A list of potential expenditures is listed as follows:

  • New menus with nutritional information (such as calories, calories from fat, grams of fat, milligrams of sodium, grams of carbohydrates, and grams of protein)
  • Banners, posters, and signs to advertise healthier meals at food trucks
  • Printing pamphlets with healthier meals from various food trucks for distribution on college campuses
  • Supplies for an event to showcase healthy food from food trucks
  • Consulting dietitians to provide advice on altering recipes
  • Merchandise for the initiative, such as t-shirts, stickers, pens, etc.

If you would like to get all of the information on the initiative and/or donate, you can find it on Indiegogo <here>

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2013 Vendy AwardsPHILADELPHIA, PA - The awards for Philadelphia’s food trucks will make a return this summer.

The Third Annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards will take place June 8 at Penn Treaty Park on North Delaware Avenue in Fishtown.

There are a few celebrity judges — in the past, Mayor Michael Nutter, cheesesteak king Tony Luke and Barbuzzo Chef Marcie Turney. But ordinary ticket buyers are also judges —plus, judges get all-you-can-eat privileges at the trucks. Early-bird tickets are $45.

“Philadelphia continues to be one of our stronger, competitive cities,” said Helena Tubis, managing director of the event. “From the faithful, daily food truck advocates to the growing pool of culinary talent, we’re excited to see who makes the nominations and to sample the tasty, creative items served up by the City of Brotherly Love.”

Philadelphia’s Vendy Awards event is organized by the Street Vendor Project, a 1,300-member organization affiliated with the Urban Justice Center in New York.

The Vendy Awards have an eight-year history in New York City, and the Street Vendor Project has similar events in Los Angeles and New Orleans as well.

In Philadelphia, the Vendys are a fundraiser for the Food Trust, a local nonprofit.

Last year’s Vendy winner was Mark Coates and his Smoke Truck.

FInd the original article by Peter Van Allen at bizjournals.com <here>

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