The mobile food industry has been in a constant state of flux over the last couple of years. Ever since the Kogi BBQ food truck hit the national news in 2008, the industry has exploded with new trucks springing up around the country. We are constantly questioned by our readers and others that we speak with, about the national expansion of the mobile food industry, but up until now, we truly have not had the research to back up our belief that the majority of the country was open to mobile vendors.
Gourmet food trucks and carts have been labeled as a “fad” ( an intense but short-lived fashion; craze) by many in the restaurant industry, we had to look at the data and determine for ourselves if this rapidly growing culinary trend was just that…a fad.
If you do as we did and looked at the top 50 most populous cities in the United States, and look at the far right hand side of the chart below, you will see that the mobile food industry, has a firm hold within the culture of most of these cities.
|Food Trucks Allowed|
|1||New York||New York||8,175,133||Yes|
|3||Chicago||Illinois||2,695,598||Yes, but no cooking on truck|
|18||Detroit||Michigan||713,777||Yes, but very limited locations|
|20||Memphis||Tennessee||646,889||No, law to allow them is pending|
|24||Washington||D of C||601,723||Yes|
|40||Atlanta||Georgia||420,003||Yes, but only in limited areas|
|42||Omaha||Nebraska||408,958||Yes, but only a dozen permit issued|
|43||Raleigh||North Carolina||403,892||Yes, but can only operate on commercially zoned land|
Of the top 50 most populous cities in our country, only two, (Memphis, TN and Wichita, KS) do not currently allow mobile food vendors within their borders. Yes there are some municipalities that have limited the scopes of work, and small areas within their cities that these mobile bistros can operate, but for the most part, the mobile food vendor has been welcomed with open arms by almost all of these communities.
Unless, there is a rash of food truck banishments throughout the country due to unforeseen causes we cannot see how mobile food trucks can be called a “fad” anymore.