Jack in the Box Food Truck DallasDALLAS, TX – Jack in the Box is the latest restaurant chain to launch a food truck, historically the nemesis of restaurateurs with brick-and-mortar operations.

The California-based chain, which counts the Dallas-Fort Worth area as one of its largest markets, will use its “rolling billboard” to give out free burgers in at least six North Texas events in April and May, including the Rangers’ home opener Friday in Arlington.

While some restaurateurs complain bitterly that food trucks are slicing off some of their sales, others have adopted a “if you can’t beat ’em” mindset.

“The ‘Burger Truck’ is … a great way to promote our brand,” said Brian Luscomb, a spokesman for Jack in the Box.

“Although we have nearly 190 locations in the D-FW area, participating in these kinds of events gives us an opportunity to go places where our guests are but our restaurants aren’t.”

There’s no question that food trucks are hot and are showing up at a lot more places than construction sites.

The National Restaurant Association says the “mobile caterers” segment of the industry is projected to post sales of $680 million this year, up from $654 million in 2012. That includes independently owned food trucks with a payroll, along with other mobile vendors.

It does not include sales from food trucks owned by brick-and-mortar restaurants, which are increasingly testing the waters.

Some chains have used food trucks as scouts, to beef up interest in the brand in areas where the chain is looking at potential expansion.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A Inc. uses the Twitter handle @ChickfilaMobile to alert residents in the Washington, D.C., area, a growing market for the chain, about the truck’s latest location and offerings.

Richard Myrick is editor of Mobile-Cuisine.com and author of Running a Food Truck for Dummies.

He said Burger King, which also has a strong presence in North Texas, has used food trucks to “get the public to realize that they had changed their menu for the better.”

“I think it’s a great strategy,” he added. “You’re able to get your food out for taste tests.”

Where to find the truck

Jack in the Box’s North Texas burger truck stops include:

Rangers’ home opener: Friday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Six Flags over Texas parking lot.

Bon Jovi concert: April 11, 9:30 p.m. to midnight, American Airlines Center.

Dallas Stars-Vancouver Canucks: April 18, 9:30 p.m. to midnight, American Airlines Center.

SMU Founders’ Day: April 20, 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m., Southern Methodist University.

Bright Realty Golf Classic: May 6, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Lakes at Castle Hills, Lewisville.

Grand Prairie Airhogs-

Winnipeg Goldeneyes: May 18, 5 to 11 p.m., QuikTrip Park, Grand Prairie.

Crowne Plaza Invitational Youth Golf Clinic: May 20, 5 to 7 p.m., Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth.

Find the entire article by Karen Robinson-Jacobs at The Dallas Morning News <here>