The chart below shows the stunning growth in the number of Google hits for the search term "food trucks" over the last 4 years.
I even had to cheat a bit on the chart to get the 83,000 hits in 2008-2009 to show up.
The rise of food trucks is being driven by a variety of trends, many of which we're seeing across the small business space. These include:
- New Localism, which the trend Americans relearning the value of community and reestablishing stronger ties with family, friends and their communities. Part of the new localism trend is a growing interest in local and unique products, which includes meals from gourmet food trucks.
- Local food, which is part of the new localism movement. Consumers are increasingly focused on what they eat and where it comes from, with a focus on quality, freshness and organic. Many of the new gourmet food trucks offer high quality food sourced from local producers.
- The New Artisans, which are people starting artisan businesses and focused on exploring new ideas and approaches and creating high-quality, authentic products. Earlier this week we posted on another example of this trend, Artisan Distillers. Many of the gourmet food truck owners are artisan chefs looking to explore and develop new recipes and menu items.
- Social Media, which allows food trucks to create an audience and keep them up to date on their location, new menu items, etc.
- The Great Recession, which has made it much harder to finance and start a traditional restaurant. This has led many budding restauranteers to start food truck operations instead. The costs and the financial risks are much lower - and food trucks can be used to test out menu items and concepts that, if successful, can become brick and mortar restaurants.
While we've only recently started our deep dive research into the food truck trend, we're confident it's a long lasting trend and not a short term fad.
So if you haven't had a chance to try out a food truck, we strongly recommend you do. As part of our project we've recently eaten at dozens of food trucks (it's a tough job, but someone has to do it) and the food is, on average, excellent.
We'll have more on food trucks as our project progresses.