Gourmet Food Trucks are no Fad

Gourmet Food Trucks are no Fad

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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.

RankCityStatePopulation
(2010)
Food Trucks Allowed
1New YorkNew York8,175,133Yes
2Los AngelesCalifornia3,792,621Yes
3ChicagoIllinois2,695,598Yes, but no cooking on truck
4HoustonTexas2,099,451Yes
5PhiladelphiaPennsylvania1,526,006Yes
6PhoenixArizona1,445,632Yes
7San AntonioTexas1,327,407Yes
8San DiegoCalifornia1,307,402Yes
9DallasTexas1,197,816Yes
10San JoseCalifornia945,942Yes
11JacksonvilleFlorida821,784Yes
12IndianapolisIndiana820,445Yes
13San FranciscoCalifornia805,235Yes
14AustinTexas790,390Yes
15ColumbusOhio787,033Yes
16Fort WorthTexas741,206Yes
17CharlotteN. Carolina731,424Yes
18DetroitMichigan713,777Yes, but very limited locations
19El PasoTexas649,121Yes
20MemphisTennessee646,889No,  law to allow them is pending
21BaltimoreMaryland620,961Yes
22BostonMassachusetts617,594Yes
23SeattleWashington608,660Yes
24WashingtonD of C601,723Yes
25NashvilleTennessee601,222Yes
26DenverColorado600,158Yes
27Louisville Kentucky597,337Yes
28MilwaukeeWisconsin594,833Yes
29PortlandOregon583,776Yes
30Las VegasNevada583,756Yes
31Oklahoma CityOklahoma579,999Yes
32AlbuquerqueNew Mexico545,852Yes
33TucsonArizona520,116Yes
34FresnoCalifornia494,665Yes
35SacramentoCalifornia466,488Yes
36Long BeachCalifornia462,257Yes
37Kansas CityMissouri459,787Yes
38MesaArizona439,041Yes
39Virginia Beach Virginia437,994Yes
40AtlantaGeorgia420,003Yes, but only in limited areas
41Colorado SpringsColorado416,427Yes
42OmahaNebraska408,958Yes, but only a dozen permit issued
43RaleighNorth Carolina403,892Yes, but can only operate on commercially zoned land
44MiamiFlorida399,457Yes
45ClevelandOhio396,815Yes
46TulsaOklahoma391,906Yes
47OaklandCalifornia390,724Yes
48MinneapolisMinnesota382,578Yes
49WichitaKansas382,368No
50ArlingtonTexas365,438Yes

 

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.

10 COMMENTS

    • Joaquin, these figures are taken from the 2010 census, and we all know how efficient the government can be :). I believe Miami-Dade county has a population of 2.5 million. Thanks for the heads up though.

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