During the research for our list of the Top 20 US Cities to Open a Food Truck we looked at a number of variables that helped define those cities that a new food truck vendor would be able to build their brand with the best chances of success. To follow up that article we thought it would be fun to develop what we call Food Truck Utopia.
We understand that a Food Truck Utopia will probably never exist, but can certainly be looked at as a model for cities to strive for.
Politicians: FTU is governed by a group of individuals that are open and accepting to all small business. They refuse to protect one industry over another, and provide the local population with the ability to make their own choices when it comes to how they spend their money.
They will also have great communication with the food truck vendors at all times, not just when problems arise.
Legislation: The laws and ordinances that are developed to oversee the city’s food truck vendors will only be in place to protect the health and safety of the public. The fees to operate will be fair and consistent with all small businesses.
Also, food trucks will be able to park where there is space as long as they do not cause traffic or public safety problems. There will be no buffer zones, mandatory gps tracking, limited number of permits or time limits for parking.
Business: The business community within our city limits will not look at food trucks as competition and will not petition our politicians with requests to create a “level playing field.” They will understand that food trucks only provide the consumer with multiple dining choices.
The business owners will have the ability and desire to keep regular communication with the food truck organization to resolve problems they may have with it’s members.
Weather: Our city will have moderate temps throughout the year, but at the same time there are seasonal changes that require food trucks to consider menu changes that reflect the change in temperatures. The weather cannot cause the consumer base to want to stay indoors (ie heavy rain, extreme hot or cold temps).
The vast majority of the residents will be foodies or people who appreciate creative culinary techniques. The FTU population will be employed middle to upper-middle class citizens of all ages, gender, creeds and races. They will be tech savvy and highly involved with social media. There will be consistent growth in the population, as well as continual growth in their disposable income.
The general public will spend a lot of their time outside of the home in our downtown areas and public spaces. Our citizens will also do a lot of catering for personal events or for the businesses they work for. As a final point, the people will go out of their way to attend the many food truck events that take place year round.
There will be a strong food truck organization with direct communication to its members, local business leaders and politicians. The organization make sure its members follow the legislation put in place, keep their disagreements in house and provide a single voice to the community. The FTUMVA will make sure trucks do not squat on their favorite parking locations, stay mobile (read change locations daily) and keep them from parking in front of direct competing brick and mortar businesses.
The organization will also work with local businesses and charities to provide the members business and partnership opportunities. The will be educational classes (culinary technique and business management) provided to new and existing vendors and mediation work between members and other businesses that may have issues arise.
- Large number of commissaries or commercial kitchens to select from.
- Public spaces where food truck events can take place.
- An abundance of street parking.
- Pedestrian friendly streets with a high foot traffic count at most times of the day.
- Bars and businesses willing to partner with food truck organization members to fill their needs for catering for their own customers.
- A fully staffed and trained health department to oversea the trucks and the kitchens they work from.
- Surrounding communities that accept our food trucks within their city limits.
- A large population of people within driving distance of our community full of people who want to visit our food trucks.
Please note that the city a food truck operates in is only a small piece of the puzzle of what makes for a successful food truck business. Yes it’s important, but the primary factors that build strong mobile food businesses are:
- Quality of food
- Quality of service
- Ability of staff
- Management of the business side of the operation (keeping food and overhead costs down, managing suppliers, marketing, networking)
Without a firm grasp and execution all of these principles it doesn’t matter where your truck parks or how open your community is to the mobile food industry, success will be nearly impossible to achieve.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what a food truck utopia would look like. Please feel free to add your thoughts or suggestions in the comment section below.