The favorite mobile lunch spot gets an upgrade.
FOOD TRUCKS may be riding the Twitter-crazed foodie wave, but their design hasn’t yet caught up. They plug along in old mail trucks and standard food carts, which are functional but boxy. They’re expensive, too: A new ride from AA Cater Truck, the largest American manufacturer of food trucks, goes for $124,000 and can top $250,000 with modifications. In a quest for a true Transformers-meets-foodie marvel, we tapped owners and designers to rethink the restaurant on wheels. “It means thinking about compact spaciousness,” says architect Jennifer Siegal, who taught a class on food-truck design at the University of Southern California last fall. “Making it more of a place instead of, essentially, a hole in the wall.”
To keep people flocking to trucks in colder months, Thomas DeGeest, founder of New York’s Wafels & Dinges, would install heat lamps
[1]. “In the winter, our business really slows down,” he says.
No more trudging back to the office with lukewarm food thanks to tables and chairs [2], which make the truck what Siegal calls an “expandable space.” One of her students, Vikki Chan, imagined a mozzarella-serving truck with slide-out tables. “The elasticity of the ingredient is reflected through the shell that allows the section to extend,” Chan says.
Display case
With a display case that juts out from the truck [3],customers can check out their options while in line, cutting ordering time. That already works for Beverly Hills-based cupcake-truck Sprinklesmobile, says designer Andrea Lenardin. “It became clear that the display had to position itself right in the customer’s space.”
Solar panels
Lenardin dreams of a truck with photovoltaic cells on its roof [4]. That bonus energy could make it easier to keep many appliances running at once, says Natasha Case, co-owner of ice-cream truck Coolhaus in L.A. For an extra punch of green energy, the truck’s fuel would be replaced by cooking oil after it’s been used to fry crispy treats.
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